Hi Annie, My child whines. In fact both my kids have a real problem with whining. When my daughter went through it, I thought it was a stage and it would stop by itself, but it hasn’t. She’s now five, and my son is copying the habit, and he’s only two. I’m a single mom, and because I don’t get much of a break, I admit that sometimes I just give in. I’ve tried changing things around, and right now, I’m ignoring the whining, but it’s getting worse. Do you know anything else I could do? Thanks, CindyHi Cindy,
It’s great that you are tackling this problem now, and you’ll be pleased to know you’re on the right track, so take heart! Whenever you try to change any behaviour that has become entrenched, it nearly always gets worse before it gets better. That means that the escalation in their behaviour is entirely normal, as trying as it is. That’s what I always tell people when they go through my behaviour intervention service—a few days of the behaviour getting worse is normal before it drops off completely.
My child whines: The key is to stay consistent.
However, consistency is vital, so keep trying to ignore your children’s whiny behaviour and don’t give in. This difficult period is simply your children’s effort to give it one last try because it worked so well for them in the past. It’ll stop as soon as your children figure out that it’s not getting them anywhere, so hang in there because it is working!
My child whines: Notice when they don’t whine.
It’s also good if you can try to identify the cause of the whining and act on the underlying need if it’s reasonable, but only when they ask politely. Accentuate the positive at the same time. Try to catch them behaving nicely. Whenever they ask for something without whining, give lots of praise. Tell them how much you like it when they talk to you nicely.
My child whines: Give yourself a break.
You mentioned, too, that you don’t get much of a break. I’m going to go out on a limb here, but when you’re dealing with small children, it’s very important that you get the rest and breaks that you need. I don’t know if you have any extended family that can help you, but if you don’t, you might want to check out the following options: Look into a co-op babysitting group. That way, you get time to yourself, and when you have to babysit in exchange, it can be another fun play date for your children. If you’d rather pay for a break and like the idea of the older generation, check out your local swimming pool. Often, active seniors participate in exercise programs and quite often welcome the opportunity to spend some time with children and earn some pocket money as well. A lot of seniors also enjoy curling, so you could check out the curling club. Failing that, try the student population, as it’s so important for you to have a breather. I hope this gives you some added fuel to keep going.
For more help with your parenting, please visit my parenting services page.
Best of luck.
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