Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thou Shall Not Whine

Thanks for your comments yesterday. They were written with passion and great understanding. Take the time to read them. This is an issue near and dear to most of us. It’s where we live! (FYI: Erin and Ali are two of my daughters—I love hearing their perspective on parenting! It makes me smile!)

Today, we’ll take up the issue of whining.

I remember whining well….too well. It’s something that we, as moms, can become immune to hearing. It may happen so often that we don’t even notice it anymore! But, it’s an annoying tone of voice in our children (and hopefully not in ourselves!) that if left unchecked will become a habit that we’ve allowed.

When our children (around the ages of 3-9) would whine, we would remove them from the rest of the family (by sending them to sit on a sofa in our bedroom).We explained to them that whining is complaining and not acceptable behavior, and they were to stay in the bedroom until they were ready to come speak in a normal tone of voice, with instructions to return with an apology. It usually worked without having to take further steps. (Though, sometimes, they were sent back to the bedroom a second time to try again for a better tone.) Soon, they learned that using a whiny tone of voice was not acceptable without consequences.

So, what are your suggestions for ending the whineys? What has worked for you?

Tell us your children’s ages, the method(s) you’ve tried and found to work. (and if you already told us yesterday, tell us again about how you handle whining.) Like some of you said, what works for one of your children may not work for another personality or situation. Maybe we’ll all get some good suggestions. This will be fun and enlightening!

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about tattling! But, don’t go tellin’ anyone ; ).


Ali Ruhman said...

I try to explain to Lily to talk like a big girl. If she continues to whine then I will tell her to not say anything until she can say it without whining. It's usually just because she wants something and I'm not paying attention to her so she tries to get my attention by whining. The best way to get her to stop whining is just stop what I'm doing and talk with her about why she is whining. And sometimes I just want to whine right along with her!!

Now Sadie on the other hand hasn't figure out the art of whining yet, she will probally be a whole different story!!

Robin Meadows said...

Since I know...Lily is 3-1/2, and Sadie is 21 months.


Ali - sometimes we DO get on our kids' level and whine right along with them. Then we wonder why they keep whining! haha

Kim Heinecke said...

My boys are now nearly 9 and 11. When they were half that age whining was a big problem. I generally would tell them "I can't understand you when you whine. Try it again and this time use words." I tried to be "removed" from my emotions when the whining started breaking down my nervous system. Ha! It took a LONG time before they got the message but it did stop when they didn't get their way or even a real response. Now that they are older, the whining is just a little more suave but I'm still convinced they do it a little.

Christi said...

I have learned I am still a whiner! :0...guess I never corrected that behavior. My boys have picked it up but we are working on it. We are trying to respond like Kim mentioned and tell them we can't understand them or that we might give them what they want when they ask correctly. They are 5 (almost 6) and 8. Thanks for the posts this week,Robin!

erin said...

I've often said that those moms that go psycho & throw their kids off a bridge is probably because they've gone crazy with the whining! It makes me crazy! But, I often just ignore it. Again, like many have said STOP what you are doing & address the situation. I mean really is what I am doing more important than taking a teaching moment with my kids??? As I said yesterday with Kaden (almost 5) we had to have a seperate "whining" chair from the "naughty" chair. I wanted him to understand that he didn't disobey, but did not make a good choice in his tone of voice. Will is my super laid back 2 year old. He has started the fussing, but not quite a whine. He knows he has to go to his room, so right when we tell him to go to his room he says, "i no cry anymore" & he immediately stops. Although I don't want to teach my boys to not show emotions, whining & fussing for no reason or because they don't get their way are just not acceptable in this house. Kaden is allowed to express that he doesn't like a decision we have made, but he must do so without whining & drop it after he has told me. We use the phrase, "that's too bad" when he's not happy with something. Ha ha, after reading back over this it sounds like it's all perfect. Believe me we do it wrong every day & these are only the things that I've found "work" when we actually take the time.

Roger Garrett said...

Boys 9 and 4 and I cut them off every time they start to talk in a whiny voice. I don;t even allow them to speak until it comes out like a normal person

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your message this week - I have a 5 year old and a 2 year old. We have a direct "no whining" rule in our house and have been pretty lucky with enforcement. With whining, the kids both get one chance to ask or speak in a better voice. This generally helps the immediate situation. If they can not make a change to stop whining, they need to take a 15 minute "body break" in their bed. I have found that whining is generally directly proportionate to level of tiredness.

Robin Meadows said...

Oooo...these are good. Keep 'em coming!

Cindy Beall said...

We also call whining "fussin'" at our house. Seth is the main culprit. So, I will send him to his room if he starts and he AUTOMATICALLY says, "I not fussin'."

Hilarious. Sending kids to the room seems to work for us.

Dusty said...

I think there is a difference between whining and crying because they didn't get something that they want. We usually treat both the same; however, if they are crying, we say, "You may cry, but go to your room and cry." This way they know they are allowed to express their emotions, but in private. And taking away their audience usually stops them right up!

Jessica said...

My 21 month old needs me to get down at her level and say quite loudly--"Stop that whining!" She heaves big sighs, and takes big dramatic breaths, but gets her self control back, and her sweet voice reveals itself.

I don't even think she realizes she's doing it, but if I just talk to her in a normal voice, it does nothing to curtail the behavior.