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How do you deal with whining?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Whining is truly my achilles tendon. I cannot cope! I shut down and resort to meanness. I must make it stop at all costs. Nails on the chalkboard to the Nth degree.

I am keeping my sister's children for the summer, and two of them (7 and 8 years old) whine endlessly. I am at my wit's end. What have you done successfully to eliminate whining?
post #2 of 6

I found that whining was used for 2 purposes - to get attention and to wear me down until they got what they wanted. 


It takes consistency and forebearance, but I found it best to manage by refusing to reward whining and wheedling. I used to tell my children that I couldn't understand them when they spoke in that tone. They had to use a pleasant tone of voice for whatever they asked. I tried to be reasonable in my answers, but if they disagreed or weren't satisfied, whining wasn't going to get a different answer. They needed to provide me with good reasons to change my mind. Continuing to whine wouldn't get them a different result. 


If the whining was simply from fatigue, hunger, or general unhappiness, I found that it was better to ignore the whining and deal with those underlying causes.  

post #3 of 6

Agree with ollyoxenfree. I say I don't understand what they are saying. And then they keep whining! UGH! And then I say again I don't understand. And they whine. Sometimes this repeats 4, 5 even 6 times, until they can talk nicely. If it keeps going on, I bark out "NO", at that point I don't give a darn what their issue is. 


We have just instituted a no swearing rule. Maybe this would also work for whining? Hmm, may do this myself. We made a rule because DS was swearing a lot, and then just saying excuse me directly after. Like it was totally ok to swear as long as you add excuse me to the end? No. I discussed many times that I didn't want him to say excuse me, I didn't want him to swear. This did not help.


So - new rules. Anyway, DS gets 20 minutes computer time per weekday (we have always had this rule). What is new is if he swears, for each swear word he gets 2 minutes knocked off his time. What is fun for him is if mom or dad swear, then he gets 2 minutes added to his time. So yesterday DS got 18 minutes, because he swore once. Today he got 20 minutes, because he swore once, but I also swore once, so he ended up even. 

post #4 of 6

Sometimes when my kids are whining, it's because I've been whining lately and they've picked up on my mood.


Other times what I'm perceiving as "whining" is actually a complaint that one of my children wants to see addressed, and that deserves to be listened to.


If I were to say to my children, "I can't understand you when you speak that way," then I had better be prepared to have them say that same thing back to me, if I "whine" about a mess that needed picking up or whatever.


The best way for me to promote my children speaking to me in a pleasant voice is to speak to my children in a pleasant voice. 



Edited to fix typo.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you, moms.  My default approach matches AllisonR's.  "I don't understand.  Try again in another voice.  I don't understand."  It's just so draining!  I was hoping for a magic cure!  :P


Mostly, whining is their way of expressing dissatisfaction.  Often times, as Luckiestgirl points out, there is a valid complaint in there that I would happily address (so-and-so won't let me have a turn, so-and-so is being mean, etc) but when they come at me whining I have no desire to help.  A good opportunity presented itself today as the four kids were all playing a board game.  I was reading nearby and looking up to watch them play.  I saw the very incident happen that was deemed unfair, and instantly my niece went into whine-mode as she complained to me about it.  I was able to communicate instantly that I knew that she was right and that I wanted to help her, but that the way that she was coming to me was using a voice that makes people not want to help.  I talked to them about strategy (kind of like in a board game) - know what outcome you want to get from the grown-up and then consider what the best plan is for getting that grown-up's help.  I told them that a secret about Auntie is that if you come to me calmly, I will almost always help.  She calmed right down (very out of pattern), and we solved the problem.


For the rest of the day, I was able to refer back to that incident when a reminder was needed, and it was great.  Praying this lasts all summer!!!

post #6 of 6
I usually just say that her tone of voice is hard on my ears, and to please use her normal speaking voice. Though I have to repeat it a billion times.
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