family

How to get your kids to stop whining.

My boys don’t whine. They don’t. It’s the one damn thing I think I might have gotten right in this whole parenting world*. They fight. They punch each other (in fact, last night Carter started WAILING on Casey in the car. Brother punches, not angry punches. As he was doing it, Casey was laughing to the point where his voice was cracking and he could barely breathe. In between giggles and gasps he said, “I…deserve…this!”) they complain, but they don’t EVER do it in the whiny voice that makes me stabby.

I’ll tell you why I think they don’t: We have a zero tolerance policy to whining. It started out with my complete abhorrence to whining. I can’t stand the sound of it. It’s like mouth sounds- there’s nothing I can do. I hear it –  I get angry.  Kids use whining as leverage. Parents HATE it and will do anything to get them to stop. It’s human nature to employ methods that generally work. So if whining EVER works, your kids are going to keep using it.  Here’s what to do to shut down whining in your life in two simple steps:

1. Say to the whiner, “I’m sorry. I don’t understand ‘Whine.’ Please talk to me in your regular voice.”

This takes the leverage away from the bag-of-violent-cats sound that is a child’s whine. It lets your child know that you are still interested in what they are wanting, still open to conversation, but it gives clear terms as to how that conversation will be had. If the child continues to whine, move on to number 2.

2. Shut it down.

If they continue to whine for whatever reason, shut. it. down. My kids know that if they whine because they aren’t getting what they want they will IMMEDIATELY have that thing taken away. Whining because you can’t get on the computer? No computer then. Whining because I won’t make you Mac N’ Cheese again? You’ll be making yourself a sandwich for lunch today.  You might have to go to some crazy lengths at first to prove the point: Whining does not win with you. Not just this once. Not ever.

Kids are smart. They get what works with you at an early age and employ that as necessary. If the sound of their whine makes you give in, they’ll do it. If you don’t give in for a half an hour, they’ll learn to just whine longer. You can’t give in.

If this doesn’t work, don’t come whining to me. I don’t speak Whine.

b23c9212b00f11e291e622000a1f9d57_7*Abby will be the girl to make me eat my words. She’s cute. She’s cuddly. She’s spoiled rotten. Stay tuned for a redaction of this message.

9 thoughts on “How to get your kids to stop whining.

  1. I abhor whining, too. Nails on a chalkboard!! I have a similar no-tolerance policy…. until my middle child does it. He’s got me there….

  2. You are SO right, she IS cute! SUPER CUTE! And whining, well, I don’t like it either. However, it’s like a musical toy that I can easily just tune out. After reading your post and reflecting on my personal complaints of these last couple of weeks (my Vada has been throwing big fits)I realize that I may need to put a little effort into showing and teaching her exactly what it is that I want and do not want from her because clearly, what I am doing now, what has worked with my older two girls, is not working now! Good luck with Your cutie!

    1. And I will READILY admit (and should have pointed this out in the post) that whining is a different game for girls than boys. There’s a good chance that my boys grew out of whining- and I’m taking the credit.

      But I will because there is very little else that they do that isn’t just because they are great kids all on their own.

  3. LOL! Yes! I have used the phrase, “I’m sorry I do not speak whine!” I have also on days when whining was the main mode of communication joined in and showed them how awful it is to be whined at… Everything I said to them was in an awful, anger inducing whine. Turns out, that makes them laugh and when they’re laughing, they can’t be whining. But my younger daughter (5)still does employ the whine and I think it is because she KNOWS it makes me all kinds of crazy. She knows she isn’t getting whatever she asked for, so she is DETERMINED to make me suffer with her.

  4. I love this and I’m so glad it wasn’t a joke (I was worried you’d be like “haha, they’ll never stop whining! You lose!”). My little one is only 14 months an he already has a whine that could stop traffic. I. Hate. It. I’m keeping these ideas in mind!

  5. When I used to take care of my friends’ kids fulltime, I used to just send them out of the room when they started whining… just pick them up, deposit them in their room, and shut the door! Definitely irritating! But I agree, if I was taking care of your little Abby, I doubt I’d be able to put my foot down!

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