By Renee Martinez, founder of Raising Boys World
Nothing is worse than the whining phase. The sound of a child communicating in a high-pitched screechy voice makes me lose my patience. Just reading the word whining makes me cringe. I don’t think a child intentionally whines at first. The whiny voice comes in to convey the child’s desire for something. Their begging and pleading gives them this special voice, which they soon learn has powerful effects if they know how to use it. Few parents can withstand the whining (unless you’re a sergeant like me) and so they give in and before you know it, a habit is developed that can be difficult to fix.
I found this question on the Parents Connect website: My three boys are constantly whining, even when I give them what they want. What should I do? You have constantly bought into the whining so they constantly do it as they know it gets to you. You have to explain to your boys that your ears hurt when they constantly whine and that the only way you are able to understand them and help them is if they use their big-boy voices. Then you can try to help them with whatever it is that is causing them so much duress. You have to be tough here and not give in to the whining. As you said, even when you give them what they “want,” they still whine. It is also about changing the wants to needs. “I want doesn’t get” as you have probably heard us say before.
Want to know what I do? I remind my sons that whining is not tolerated in my house. Should they wish to continue to whine, they can either go in their room or in the basement and whine until their heart’s content…as long as I cannot hear them. When they are whine free and somewhat composed, I will be happy to discuss matters with them. I may even give them what they want if they speak like a human and not at the high pitch of an insect or an animal. I speak very matter-of-factly and you know what, it seems to work.
Son #3 finally understood how annoying whining is when he had a friend over to play. His friend whined, a lot. He whined so much that son #3 didn’t want to play with him anymore. I smiled and said, “Now you know how your brothers and I feel when you whine.”
This is my life too and I cannot be surrounded with behaviors, attitudes or things that are annoying or rude in my own home. NO ONE is happy when someone is whining, so lay down some rules to make your life easier.
The article The Myth About Boys by David Von Drehle, sums up what I expected might be true: “When no one’s looming over them, they begin making choices of their own,” she says. “They discover consequences and learn to take responsibility for themselves and their emotions. They start learning self-discipline, self-confidence, team building. If we don’t let kids work through their own problems, we get a generation of whiners.”
About the Author: Renee Martinez is the mother of 4 boys, the founder of RaisingBoysWorld.com, www.socialmediabizsummit.com, and the president of RubyMarCom (www.rubymarcom.com), a boutique marketing communications company. Her business blog (www.reneemartinez.com), provides resources on everything marketing and social media related for her active audience. Renee is an adjunct professor at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY where she teaches social media marketing in the business school. Find Renee on Twitter at @reneemmartinez.
Photo of Mother Blocking Her Ear by Tyberius Chang
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