Short of duct-taping her mouth shut.... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 03-22-2010, 02:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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what can we do to curb the whining/outbursts when things don't go dd's way? Our usual strategy is to ask her to go to her room until she can be civil. But this doesn't appear to be curbing the behavior.

Dd is 5 3/4 (as she will proudly tell you). Highly verbal. Highly persistent. She has a very clear picture of how her world should be and a keen sense of injustice (at least when it's directed at her). She has the memory of an elephant and will complain about slights that happened a year or two ago.

If her brother's using the computer, and she wants to, she whines and then yells at him. "I never get to use the computer. You're always using it....." If she wants him to play with her and he won't, she falls down in a heap and whines and sobs. I asked her to go outside today to pick up a towel she'd left out there. She refused initially, then when I asked again, she stomped out yelling "Why do I have to do this?!!", stomped back in and slammed the sliding door so hard she put it off its runners.

It happens when she plays with other kids too. It doesn't help that she's the youngest child in the neighborhood, but really, she'd like everyone to do things exactly her way all the time. She gets highly offended when they tell her what to do, when they refuse to do things her way, she has an outburst and demands an apology because they "hurt her feelings". (did I mention she's highly sensitive too?)

I sent her to bed tonight at 7:40 without a snack or the usual bedtime routine because she had whined once too often. We were in the middle of our chores and she was whining and moaning and I lost it. (She did get a story after ds was done with is bedtime routine.) It was either send her to bed or commit bodily harm.

I'm slowly going mad here.

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#2 of 11 Old 03-22-2010, 02:26 AM
 
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When she's not whining, have you tried rehearsing her on social situations? Like playing with dolls or playing house? Or even just "you need to practice asking for things nicely so we're going to play a game about that."?

Does she get times to have things exactly her way without demanding? "DD, I'm going to set a timer for 10-20-30 minutes (however long you can stand), during that time, as long as it's safe, you're the boss of play time." (er, ds should be somewhere else for this, having dd be the boss of ds for playtime would really really really require him being in a beyond perfect mood.)

I don't know, like in Playful Parenting, get her a chance to get some of these feelings out in play so that they don't crowd in on the rest of life?

And get your ds chances to be the one in charge of you and help him practice responding to requests and making his own requests.
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#3 of 11 Old 03-22-2010, 02:43 AM
 
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No advice, just . I know what a tough, tough situation you're in. I know that as she matures, it'll get better...but it's hard to wait for *that* time some days.

In love with Dh since 1998. We created Ds (7.1.03), Dd (10.16.06) and Dd (3.16.09).
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#4 of 11 Old 03-22-2010, 04:02 PM
 
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Is this a cycle that you are going through right now with her or a constant thing that drives you crazy all the time? My dd gets into negative cycles where she says and does things like that. A lot of times it is because she thinks life is genuinely unfair. I usually respond by addressing what I think she is saying behind the whine, especially when she is in a whining cycle, and by ignoring the grumbling as long as she is also doing what I told her to do (this is the only thing I actually think Dr. Dobson had right). Kids do need to be able to express themselves and grumbling is an expression that I feel should be allowed rather than punished. If you think she has some basis for the whining, especially about the fairness aspect of her life, then try to change things up to help her experience fairness even if she doesn't notice it right away.
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#5 of 11 Old 03-22-2010, 05:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
because she had whined once too often.
There's your answer.

Every. single. time. the very first time she even sort of whines, tell her you will not listen, and cannot help her, period. Only say it once. Don't make deals and desperate promises.

Short of an emergency situation, do not respond. Ever.

She's doing it because sometimes it gets her somewhere. Make sure it doesn't.

You don't have to be mean, you just have to be more stubborn than her.

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#6 of 11 Old 03-22-2010, 05:25 PM
 
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There's your answer.

Every. single. time. the very first time she even sort of whines, tell her you will not listen, and cannot help her, period. Only say it once. Don't make deals and desperate promises.

Short of an emergency situation, do not respond. Ever.

She's doing it because sometimes it gets her somewhere. Make sure it doesn't.

You don't have to be mean, you just have to be more stubborn than her.
There are some people for whom that simply isn't true. My DS is one of them. The "be calm and ignore" philosophy only makes things worse.

I have no advice either. We've been through this with DS, and it usually waxes and wanes.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#7 of 11 Old 03-22-2010, 05:38 PM
 
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My son is 5.5 and he can be a whiner, too. Honestly, he gets it from me. I am not so much a whiner anymore, but I was as a child, and even more recently than I care to say, lol! We are doing a couple of things about it.

One, we are addressing this as a manners issue. "That's not polite." And then explain how to say it politely or prompt him to try again with a nicer voice. We try to be patient about it, though. We have also showed him the difference between the whining tone of voice and the polite tone of voice.

Two, making sure to model mature and temperate behavior ourselves when things don't go our way. We model and talk about generosity and flexibility and politeness. We do the Family Virtues Guide and also I just started the Complaint-Free World challenge for myself.

As far as the sibling squabbles that lead to whining, ie, "He always gets more time on the computer than I do!", "Why does he get to go first?" etc etc, I am loving the book Siblings Without Rivalry. I am finding it very helpful with practical situations and problem-solving in a way that builds sibling relationships.

We also do validating. Fix the tone of voice, and then validate the concern.

Root of the problem: Whining stems from insecurity, IMO.

I know my DS is somewhat emotionally insecure despite the fact that he was very attachment-parented and VERY loved from the beginning-- he was a colicky baby, had a traumatic birth, and lots of digestive issues throughout his baby/toddler years, so I think that he has a background of feeling fearful about life in general. He tends to be anxious and careful, because he already experienced that life can hurt. So when he gets anxious/afraid, he whines.

My point in this is that even securely-parented children can have deep-seated insecurities outside your control. It doesn't mean you are a poor parent.

One valuable perspective I have as a reformed whiner is that it will probably go away in time. If you deal with it gently and patiently and not punitively, she will grow out of it as she matures, and as her self-confidence and trust of the life process develops.

On the other hand if she is made to feel ashamed of it now, at this age, she is likely to develop a defensiveness about it and find ways to justify it to herself, at which point it is likely to become more embedded in her personality.

♥ blogger astrologer mom to three cool kiddos, and trying to figure out this divorce thing-- Blossom and Glow ♥

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#8 of 11 Old 03-22-2010, 07:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post
There are some people for whom that simply isn't true. My DS is one of them. The "be calm and ignore" philosophy only makes things worse.

I have no advice either. We've been through this with DS, and it usually waxes and wanes.
Fair enough. I accept that there isn't a fix-all solution for everything. People are all different. (And, can I say that I appreciate that you used the word "people", instead of the word "children?" I really, really like when children are acknowledged as people.)

OP, please don't feel like I'm jumping on you. I obviously don't know your little girl, and what makes her tick. This is cafeteria style, take it or leave it.

In the OP, she mentioned the little girl was whining and complaining during chore time. What happened? Eventually the mom had had it, and sent the child to her room. Consequently, I'm guessing, the little girl did not have to finish her chores. Goal obtained. And she STILL got a story. Sure, it was messy, but who cares when you don't have to work after all?

What happens when she whines or complains in other situations? At the very least, the other child isn't enjoying their "turn", and the little girl may even have the tables turned and get what she wants all together, or at least some of it. Why stop whining when sometimes you can come out on top?

I had a friend who would get her dd down from the table when she threw food and put her in time out, and then let her go play. Her dd was throwing food because she wanted down. Now, I'm not into punitive discipline, FTR, and I wouldn't blink at a toddler throwing food. I am very much an "actions have consequences" sort of parent. But, that's not my point. She was throwing food because she wanted down. The time out never worked at convincing her to stop. WHY? Because she GOT DOWN. She was willing to go to time out first in order to be release from the table. When she started returning her to the table after the time out session, and "trying again", the food throwing stopped.

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#9 of 11 Old 03-22-2010, 11:23 PM
 
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Do you think she would respond to a positive program where she earns tokens (or points or stickers) for completing her chores without whining, stomping feet, etc? And then spends those tokens on something cool at the end of the day?

I hear you saying that the whining is pervasive, across all situations, and it sounds like its become a kind of habit. Starting with just one set of behaviors (chores, for example) will give her practice in how to deal with uncomfortable feelings in a healthy way, and then she will have the skills to carry it over to other situations.
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#10 of 11 Old 03-23-2010, 12:14 AM
 
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You might try bringing her in on the solution-finding process. This worked well with my dd when she was even younger than yours. I explained the problems with her whining, much as you explained them here -- how it affects other people, that it is impolite, annoying, etc. I also admitted my failure to give a consistent, effective response. Then I invited her to brainstorm with me about how I might respond when she began whining. (i.e. what response would most prompt her to change her behavior.) She thought being ignored for whining would be effective for her, and lo and behold it was! I discovered that sometimes she didn't realize she had been whining, so I modified my approach to include a 3-word reminder: "Are you whining?" Then I would ignore until she resumed a normal tone of voice. Worked wonders.

You and your dd may come up with a different approach, but she's more likely to respond positively if she helped to decide on the plan of action. First step, of course, is making her see why the whining is a problem. I can imagine that being a difficult hurdle with some kids, though it wasn't in my case. Anyway, she might surprise you -- worth a try!

Stephanie mom to Brianna (6/00) , Alexander (6/02) , and Ethan (9/07) .
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#11 of 11 Old 03-23-2010, 01:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Just1More View Post
There's your answer.

Every. single. time. the very first time she even sort of whines, tell her you will not listen, and cannot help her, period. Only say it once. Don't make deals and desperate promises.
Whining actually never does get her anything. We are consistent on this. And maybe whining isn't quite the word for it. What triggered my breakdown last night was whining and moaning while dawdling doing chores. When I asked her to be done and finish up her chore, she stomped and moaned and complained. That's what set me off.

And while, yes, it did get her out of chores, it also deprived her of her bedtime snack and the time she usually gets to spend with us before bedtime. The bedtime snack was a big deal. "I'm really hungry. I can't wait until breakfast for food..." I nearly pulled out the "There are children in the world who live on 2/3 of a cup of rice a day. You will not starve to death by missing one snack" lecture, but I resisted. (In fact, some nights she has no snack because she's not hungry. It was the concept of missing a snack that bothered her.)

And honestly, we've got a household of 4 very stubborn people. That in and of itself might be the root cause of the problem!


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What happens when she whines or complains in other situations?
We send her to her room or separate her from the other children. However, the other kids aren't always as consistent as they should be. Her brother will often give in if he doesn't care. This is the child who told me last summer "But I have to scream, it's how I get what I want."

So yes, it clearly is getting her something. Ugh... it's such a struggle to know when to validate her negative emotions and when to simply ignore and move on.

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Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
Is this a cycle that you are going through right now with her or a constant thing that drives you crazy all the time?
It definitely cycles. And thinking about the cycles, it does have a great deal to do with me being busy with work (I just finished grading my finals). But it's not always that, so I think there's more to it.

We ask for polite rephrasings all the time, and both kids can do it. So it's not for lack of a model. She gets a lot of grief from her classmates at school too "You can't always have it your way". The teachers do help the kids work out reasonable solutions, but if she doesn't get her way, it's still hard. It doesn't help that her ability to see what things should be and her skills for making them come out the way they want are not in sync.

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Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
A lot of times it is because she thinks life is genuinely unfair. I usually respond by addressing what I think she is saying behind the whine, especially when she is in a whining cycle, and by ignoring the grumbling as long as she is also doing what I told her to do.
I feel like I do that ad naseum, and that sometimes that fuels her. So, it's hard for me to know when to do this.

She has a hard time letting go, and that's hard for me to see. She complained for 25 minutes one day on the drive home that Child A got to choose the songs on the CD player at Kindergarten. I actually told her that she could complain all she wanted in the car, but when we got home, I was done listening.

We do lots of reflective listening and she gets plenty of opportunity to express negative emotion. But this is more than expressing negative emotions, it's spilling over into making everyone around her listen to her wailing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by luv my 2 sweeties View Post
You might try bringing her in on the solution-finding process. This worked well with my dd when she was even younger than yours. I explained the problems with her whining, much as you explained them here -- how it affects other people, that it is impolite, annoying, etc. I also admitted my failure to give a consistent, effective response. Then I invited her to brainstorm with me about how I might respond when she began whining. (i.e. what response would most prompt her to change her behavior.)
This might work with her. I'll try it out on her tomorrow and see what happens.

I don't know how she'd respond to a reward system. She's remarkably unmotivated by things that motivate her brother so I'd have to think what would really motivate her. Maybe she can help brainstorm.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LionTigerBear View Post
One valuable perspective I have as a reformed whiner is that it will probably go away in time. If you deal with it gently and patiently and not punitively, she will grow out of it as she matures, and as her self-confidence and trust of the life process develops.
I certainly hope so. If it doesn't, I'm going to tear my hair out. Actually, today was much better.

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