My son turned 3 in May and for the last 3 months or so, he's been whining. Almost constantly. No matter what I do, it doesn't stop but for maybe 5 minutes and then he's at it again. I need advice, because I am going to go insane. It's pretty much to the point where even when he's just talking normally, it sounds like a whine. And, I can't stand to be around him, which makes me very sad. What have you all done that has stopped this? Also, it has seemed to increase lately since his father just died (at the end of April.) He's incredibly articulate and isn't whining because he can't communicate effectively, that's for sure. Please help me!! I'm going nuts.
Oh wow, what a heavy thing for a little guy to go through... my condolences, it must be hard for everyone.
My daughter is around the same age and tends to the 'whiney' with a lot less than death to manage through. I think you hit it on the head that he is just not sure how to effectively communicate how he's feeling. He likely needs a lot of connection and reassurance right now. All of my favourite connected parenting gurus recommend building a strong base with your child by spending focused time every day with them. Let them dictate what you do/play and make sure you are not distracted this is THEIR time. Sounds like your son will need this even more so right now. This will help establish connection and trust so he can feel ok to open up to you.
I also find that using lots of emotion words helps... it felt like I wasn't getting anywhere for a long time but then all of a sudden I would hear her say things like "I'm feeling so angry right now 'cause I wanted ice cream!" Bingo! She's expressing her feelings and attaching the cause! That gives us a good jumping off point where I can explain that she already had dessert and she can choose ice cream for dessert next time. It would be really helpful to give him emotion words right now since I'm sure he's got a lot of them swimming around... "Can you tell me why you are feeling sad?" "You are whining right now, you must be feeling sad... can you tell me why you are feeling sad?" Or angry or frustrated or whatever emotion they are displaying at the moment.
I also try to use gentle reminders when the whining amps up... "Ooop! Can you use your very nice manners and ask me?" Or play can be effective to shake them out of the whines... "Oh my goodness, you are whining again... I might have to tickle the whines right out of you!" and then a playful little tickle and hug.
This all sounds so simple to read or write down, but so hard in the moment when the whining is RIGHT. INSIDE. YOUR. BRAIN. I can't profess to be perfect at this, but I am getting better and these are the things that I have seen to work well MOST of the time.
Good luck and I hope you can tackle this very difficult time for him and you...
|Toddlers , Toddler , Gentle Discipline|