Okay, my dd is 4yo. She whines a lot and talks to me in unpleasant ways, often when she wants me to do something.
I know that prevention is totally worth the effort -- enough sleep, enough attention, enough food, etc. But, of course that can't head it off every time.
I don't expect her to not whine or be demanding, she's 4, I just want some help about my response to it.
I'll give some examples from this morning:
She is standing by me in the kitchen and suddenly cries out, "my diaper is wet (she wears diapers at night) and starts whining and dancing around." I say in a cheery and calm voice, "oh, lets get that off you then" and bend down to help her get it off. She has pajama shorts on and realizes they are wet (we don't have any other shorts out since it's not the season yet) and starts whining and fussing that her shorts got wet and she wanted to wear them. I should have reflected her emotions to her, but I just suggested that we wash them so they'll be ready for bedtime. She didn't like that. I suggested that she wear her skirt, which I knew was on the floor of her bedroom. She agreed to that and went to her room. Then she started yelling to me, whining and crying...I couldn't understand what she was saying, but I didn't want her to wake her brother, so I went over to her to quiet her down. She couldn't see her skirt and hadn't turned on the light. I said, "Mama, will you please help me find my skirt" which she repeated, but not in a very nice tone. I turned on the light and pointed out the skirt. I said it's easier to see with the light on, and she started fussing and whining, "I don't WANT to turn on the light." I walked back to the kitchen.
In the midst of all this she said she was hungry and I was trying to help her decide what she wants to eat. I listed off a few things, she said she wanted toast, and that she wanted something else, so she wanted to stand in the kitchen with the refrigerator door open while she decided -- something I do not allow. I made her close the refrigerator and gave her some suggestions again as to what she could have. She decided on applesauce and milk. She was at the table eating her toast while I got the applesauce and milk and she shouts out, "applesauce" in a demanding voice. At this point she has been whiney and demanding for 5-8 requests in 10-15 minutes. I told her that I was getting the applesauce and that it made me feel bad when she talked to me that way and that if she couldn't turn it around she was going to have to spend some time in her room until she could be nicer.
So, how often do you ignore the whining and demanding and feed the hungry kid anyway? How often do you insist that they talk nicely to you? How often do you send them away from you until they can ask nicely? How often do you just help them with their clothes when they are being whiney but not necessarily directing it at you? Do I just need to get a lot more strict/consistent? I'm just not sure it will be helpful to crack down every time she whines, since that is her major form of communication. Thoughts?