A network to share best practices for children with special needs
I think we parents understand that whining comes with the territory; but that does not mean we wouldn’t like to “nip it in the bud”. What are some effective ways to do that?
Every behavior has a function. Whining is no different. It’s function is usually to get attention. So when your younger child starts whining, FIRST, engage in SELF talk- reminding yourself that they are not doing this just to annoy you…..say it over and over until you leave the emotional mode and enter into the intellectual mode ! NEXT, determine what the function of this whining is…… or is there a reason for the whining? Perhaps your child has tried asking nicely and got no response so he/she decided to kick it up a notch! Whining is it truly a learned behavior that you have reinforced repeatedly by giving in, if so, then there is no better time than the present to extinguish that behavior. Here is an example of a conversation that addresses whining:
MOM: “ Christopher, I cannot understand you when you are crying/whining/hollering/kicking and screaming, when you decide to ask for what you want/need in the appropriate way, May I please have a popsicle?”, I am sure I will be able to understand you. “
CHRISTOPHER: (Screams/cries) “ I said that I want a popsicle!!!”
MOM: “Do you mean, May I please have a popsicle?”
CHRISTOPHER: (CRYING) “Yes!!!”
MOM: “ Please ask for the popsicle appropriately”.
CHRISTOPHER: “ Give me a popsicle!” ( you know he isn’t giving up that easily!!)
MOM: (with a puzzled look)“I am sorry, I didn’t quite understand you”.
CHRISTOPHER: “ May I have a popsicle?” (OK, he left out please, but asked appropriately).
MOM: “Thank you. I really like it when you ask nicely. Yes, you may have a popsicle. What flavor would you like?”
The definition for whining for older children is saying , “That is not fair”, or when having to do chores or some sort of activity to help out, they often will say, “you make me do all of the work”. Don’t buy into that by trying to reason with them and telling them that they are not treated unfairly etc,
My responses to my children when they said :
• CHILD OF MINE: THAT’S NOT FAIR!! “
ME: “ Life is not fair; the sooner you realize that, the better off you will be.”
(They could never think of a comeback to that one. If they did, they never said it out loud. They soon stopped saying it.).
• CHILD OF MINE: “ I have to do all of the work around here.”
ME: “Why do you think I had you?”
(Once again, they couldn’t think of anything to say. So they soon stopped saying that.)
Now, there may be some experts who say that I should never have said that to my children. Maybe not, the only thing I do know is that I have three wonderful, well-adjusted, well-mannered adult children of whom I am very proud. It must not have scarred them too badly, and we did not have to listen to whining! I used a bit of humor and sarcasm as a strategy to try to lighten the whining mood with my children but you may need to adjust this according to your parenting style. The idea is try to shift off the behavior and not let it escalate. To do this remember to stay calm. I know! ... much easier said than done! But, you do not want this to morph into a power struggle. That solves nothing and certainly does not help your child replace inappropriate behavior with appropriate behavior; or in the case of older children, extinguish the behavior.