I have a bright, very verbal 2.5 year old. I love her to death, but the constant crying and whining is getting to me and I don't know how to improve things. I realize that a certain amount of this is age, but she is more whiny and cries more often than her peers. I think its a combination of personality and response to environment (mainly how we parent her, I guess). I don't think that DH and I act like this, so while I guess it could be something she's mimicking, I don't know who she's getting it from
One little tiny thing goes wrong and she sobs. I misunderstand what she asked me to do, do it a little differently and she whines and cries. Or if she asks me to do something or for something, and I approach the request in such a way that she thinks I'm not doing what I said I would (even though I am), the breaks down into tears. I try to say "I can't understand your whining. When you can ask in a normal voice, I can help you" She generally goes a long with this idea after crying for another 5-10 seconds, but then the same thing happens less than 3 minutes later.
This is practically constant. I don't know what to do. I don't want to "feed" the whining, so to speak. I want her to learn to communicate her wants and needs without doing that (I feel this is important not only so I don't lose my patience with her in the short term, but because it's important later in life as well). But, on the other hand, I don't want to make her feel as though she's not allow to feel whatever it is she's feeling.
Help please! Books, blogs, comments, questions, suggestions--I'll take 'em all!
student momma to two great girls
My oldest child was a lot like that. Bright, yet super-sensitive. The smallest thing set her off. I couldn't understand it. Her dad and I are such even-keeled people. Talking to her didn't work. Ignoring the whining made it worse. Threats, spankings, banishments to her bedroom until she could "be cheerful" didn't work (I was so desperate and at the time I was believing people who said she was just being a spoiled brat and you have to put your foot down--hard). Being extra-nice and sensitive and understanding didn't work. Not until she was diagnosed (finally at age 9) with ADHD and put on Concerta did she start showing improvement. She still gets sent to her room if she's being oversensitive, as I've found that she is usually tired and overstimulated (so she takes a rest and comes back better--but at almost 10, she can be reasoned with).
Our motto: full bellies and good sleep help make happy children.
The Highly Sensitive Child might be a good read for you.
The Emotional Life of the Toddler is a good book (it covers up to age 3). I don't know if it covers whining specifically.
Otherwise, I would keep doing what you're doing. I would view this as largely developmental. She's easily frustrated and you're giving her tools to calm down and ask again. It will get better over time.
You might also try some of the ideas in "How to Talk So Your Children Will Listen.." by Faber & Mazlish. She's a little young for the ideas to really work (I found it worked better after age 3-4), but you can practice reflecting her feelings back to her. "I can hear that you're frustrated right now. Can you take a deep breath and tell me in a normal voice?" That allows her to feel what she's feeling, but addresses the behavior.