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Win-Win Whining

Posted on 09-28-2016

Every parent has heard the cry of a child, and it’s often met with mixed emotions. A common one is “Ugh, not again.” Another is, perhaps, “My child is unhappy. I must remedy that,” which is subsequently followed by Mom-to-the-Rescue speed. There are, however, a few things parents can do to pick a happy medium between these two responses.

Aha! Parenting suggests there are six reasons a child whines and what you can do to satisfy her needs.

The first reason is that she’s simply too young to cope with stresses. Say she needs food, rest, or play time, she’s going to whine. So, the first step to ensuring she isn’t whiney is meeting her basic needs: feed, rest, and play at appropriate times.

The second is that she may need more connection. We all need someone to care for us and support us. Children are no different, and they need to feel loved and cared for, so pre-empt the cries by giving them the attention they need.

Reason number three is that children often feel powerless, and by whining many of them know they can take back some of that power and control. Author Lawrence Cohen suggests playfully inviting them to share their concerns.

The fourth reason, though, is that sometimes children just need to cry. We all do. We can get overwhelmed with what’s happening in our lives, and the only outlet for this energy is to simply gush out some tears.

We all know the fifth reason: whining works. Remember that time your husband said, “I just wish I had a new keyboard for my computer,” and you surprised him for his birthday? Or when you said, “It’s cold in here,” and your husband magically, mysteriously walked across the room to turn off the fan? Children know that secret power too.

The last reason is similarly obvious: we do anything to stop the whining. Children know that if they whine, their parents are going to pay attention to them. Children whine to get you to do something, anything.

Maybe you haven’t figured out the cure for whining, but we hope that these tips might help fight the hysteria.

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