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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wish I could figure out a way to ask DD (28 mos) to not whine, but without insulting her. She doesn't whine for DH or anyone else, but she definitely whines to me. I try to suggest different ways to say things, and I don't baby her or pay more attention when she whines. This is the first real behavior (ok, well, screaming counts too) that I've wanted to work on solely because it annoys me. Any tips about how to work on this constructively?<br><br>
Thanks!
 

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I clearly remember as a child being told in a critical voice not to whine. I remember being unaware that I was whining (I was filled with emotions, and not really focussing on how they came out). I remember how hard it was to focus on not whining, and how it almost felt like I was having to hide how I really felt inside. So I have thought about how to handle this with my own child when it's time.<br><br>
Somebody here once said to "practice" when you and your child are in a good mood. You can practice saying things to each other in a "whiney voice" and then again in a more appropriate voice. Hopefully this will teach your child what whining is, and how they can still express themselves but using a different tone of voice.
 

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I was a whiner as a kid, too, and honestly couldn't tell when I was whining except by the reactions of my parents. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I've read (and think it was true in my case) that kids start whining when they regularly are not responded to the first time they want attention. "Mom? Mom? Mom! <whiny> Mooooo-ooooooom!" then we hear them and respond. I've been guilty of this with my DD. And once they get in the habit of it, they learn that they get a faster response if they start with whining, and then they don;t even know they are doing it anymore. I think the rehearsals Piglet mentioned are a great idea. I also read an idea in Positive Discipline for Preschoolers that I liked:<br><br>
`Kid whines<br>
`Mom says, "Honey, something has happend to mama's ears. I can't hear you anymore when you whine."<br>
`Kid whines some more.<br>
`Mom shakes head, pokes at ear, and look saround like a mosquito is buzzing around her head.<br>
`Kid sighs exasperatedly and speaks in a normal voice.<br>
`Mom says, "Oh, honey, I can hear you perfectly when you speak in such a nice voice!" And responds to request.<br><br>
I think this may work better with older kids, but who knows?
 

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I tell my dd that I can not understand what she is saying when she is whining (mostly true, anyway). Then I tell her to repeat her request in a HAPPY! voice, and I model it for her:<br><br>
(really exaggerated, Beaver Cleaver/June Cleaver, super nice and happy):<br>
Hey Mom! Could I have some water please! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br>
Sure sweetie! I would LOVE to get you some water! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
This practice certainly hasn't eradicated whining, but it does usually end the *episode--which is sometimes a huge relief.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the ideas! It surprises me that she whines with me because I respond to her so quickly, and actually try not urgently responding when she whines. I model a normal voice. I like the ways of presenting it that you all suggested. Thanks for adding to my bag of tricks! I can't wait to try!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ps- I just re-read my original post- I don't say anything much now BECAUSE I don't want to insult her. I don't insult her about it. I'm wanting to address whining, but gently instead of dancing around what I'd like her to do, KWIM?
 

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I'm uncomfortable with the "I can't hear you" routine, and I thought I'd throw it out here for discussion. I suppose for an older child I might be able to understand its usefulness, but my first reaction is that the child's feelings are being invalidated.<br><br>
As I said, I do clearly remember being told not to whine, but being unaware up until that point that I was whining. Being reminded by being told "I can't hear you" doesn't seem very respectful to me. Obviously you can hear me and obviously you are having a problem with the way I'm speaking, and I'd rather you were just honest, kwim?<br><br>
Secondly, I recall that it felt as though I was being asked to switch moods instantly, something I find very hard to do even as an adult. For example, when I'm really angry or upset, my tone of voice changes and my DH finds it very difficult to handle. To better our communication skills, he gently tells me when my voice is getting "too strong" for him and MAN it is really hard to rein in my feelings and speak in a calmer tone. I can only imagine how very much more difficult it is for a young child to try and do that.<br><br>
Then there's the fact that "I can't hear you" is really a "little white lie" and I wonder how kids take that when they KNOW you can hear them, but you are asking them in a roundabout way not to whine.<br><br>
I hope nobody takes this as a personal criticism. I'm honestly curious about whether anybody else feels this too (and since I haven't actually USED any of these techniques, as DD is too young yet, I have no experience either!).
 

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I can totally see your point, and I haven't tried the technique I posted. In the example in the book, the child was older and obviously knew his mother could hear him. After the second or third time asking in a whine with no response, he gave an exasperated sigh, then asked in a calm voice...<br><br>
I think this would work for kids old enough to understand the "game" aspect of it, and for kids who whine all the time, regardless of mood (yes, they do exist).
 

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EXACTLY what I was thinking, Piglet! In Secret of Parenting, he says to not respond to a whine, ignore them completely until they speak in a 'normal' voice. I find this extremely disrespectful. My son's whining demands are almost always reasonable so how can I say I won't do it simply because of his tone of voice? He only does it when he's overly tired so how can I ask him to stifle his feelings and fane happiness? It does annoy me and I've told him that. I think I'll just work on teaching him to recognise when he is tired and tell me about it.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by sunnmama</i><br><b>Hey Mom! Could I have some water please! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br>
Sure sweetie! I would LOVE to get you some water! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br></b></td>
</tr></table></div>
Wow, this is exactly what we do here as well. Yay!
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by Liz</i><br><b>He only does it when he's overly tired so how can I ask him to stifle his feelings and fane happiness?</b></td>
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Been thinking on this...and Piglet's comments.....<br>
When I use this technique, it *works for us. I end up happy and dd ends up happy. I think that is because she whines when she is bored, and putting on the dramatic "happy voice" is fun. She is a willing participant.<br>
She also whines when overtired, of course, but in those cases I just try to address the cause--not the whining.<br>
And, as said, it is mostly true when I say that I can't understand her when she is whining. Same for when she is screaming at me because she is angry. The reality is that her 2.5 yo enunciation is kinda shaky, and Mommy will understand her much more easily if she speaks in a normal, calm voice.<br>
I think that if you make it fun, and the child is "up" for fun (not at the point of meltdown), then it is ok to ask them to change their tone of voice to one that does not drive mommy crazy <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Those are good points, sunnmama. I can see how, if it's made into a game that the child thinks is fun, then it could just be a fun way of helping them to learn how to focus on their tone of voice. I'm glad it works for you. I'll have to keep that in mind for when DD is older. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Some of those ideas are good and I've tried them, especially what sunnmama wrote. However, my ds almost never speaks in a normal voice. He whines from the moment he wakes until he goes to bed at night. He also gets stuck very easy. If I ask him if say for example:<br><br>
Would you like some apple?<br><br>
then he will whine no about a thousand times and then start flipping out about it.<br><br>
Then I say, "you don't need to whine and cry about it. If you don't want apple, you don't have to have apple, you just have to say, (and then I say in my normal voice) No, Mama, I don't want apple, that's all."<br><br>
This doesn't happen when he is tired or bored----It happens all day long everyday.<br><br>
Please tell me he is going to outgrow this. (he's 27 mos)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm really glad to see this conversation continuing. We've been out of town, and I found myself still wanting to mull over how to approach whines. I decided that ignoring what she said, or saying that I couldn't understand her didn't really feel right to me. I can understand her; I just don't like the sound of it. I keep trying to model different ways she could say things. And once, when she was in a really good mood, played with different voices so she'd know what whining sounded like. We're far from a solution though! Let me know what's working for y'all!
 

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I am so fascinated by this thread. Piglet's comments made me stop in my tracks. Seeing it from my dd's perspective made me (and my dh) realize that we sometimes approach her whining in a non-empathic way, and that by empathizing we can more easily put aside our personal annoyance. Also I am realizing more clearly, thanks to sunmama, that there are many different reasons for whining, and that they would then call for different approaches. Sometimes when my daughter is not truly distressed I, too, have had great success (and fun) with her doing the "happy" script, or playfully pretending to be a whiny child myself, etc. Whining is tricky because there reallly is something for the child to gain if they can manage to stop whining, since it really is easier to cheerfully help them if they ask in a regular voice. But Piglet's comments have showed me that outlawing whining entirely (as I have tried unsuccessfully to do in the past) does not take the child's needs and genuine emotions into account. (And now I see why it didn't work!)<br><br>
By the way, one thing that I do find helpful (sometimes) is to say, "Hmm, that sounds like your low energy voice. Can I help you get a snack or a rest? Or do you need some time alone?" Helping her see it as a sign that she needs to do something to help herself, labeling it in a non-judgemental way, and focusing on offering my help for the underlying problem rather than stopping the whining itself. That's been more effective for us than asking her not to whine, presumably because the whining is a symptom.<br><br>
Z-girl, I hope you will keep us posted on how you work this out!
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by NoraJadesMama</i><br><b>...one thing that I do find helpful (sometimes) is to say, "Hmm, that sounds like your low energy voice. Can I help you get a snack or a rest? Or do you need some time alone?" Helping her see it as a sign that she needs to do something to help herself, labeling it in a non-judgemental way, and focusing on offering my help for the underlying problem rather than stopping the whining itself.</b></td>
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<i>Great</i> idea!
 

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It's not easy for me to be empathetic to my son who tends to whine when he's overtired. I find myself getting annoyed instead of compassionate. Sometimes it helps when I reframe it as his way of asking for help. Whining is talk-crying and let's me know he really needs something and is having a hard time at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
This is such a great discussion. Thanks for all of the food for thought. I feel like much of the time that DD is whining, she really feels cruddy (I like the "low energy" way of putting it). Sometimes it seems automatic though, and that's what really gets to me and what I want to work on. Sometimes when she whines and seems upset, I say, "It sounds like you really need mama. What can we do to make things better?" I like the idea of helping her come up with solutions. I also like this idea of tackling the cause of the whining. Lately, when DD is overwhelmed, she just emits a continual whine like a broken car! Then I ask her if she needs a little break from whatever and she and mommy can sit and snuggle. You women are so wise! Thanks for the discussion and inspiration!
 

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Just wanted to note the difference in phrasing between "I can't hear you" and "it's hard for me to understand your words wheb you whine"<br><br>
And Pumpkinseed: my ds did grow out of it magically... Don't know if consistency for a year as well as increased verbal skills helped, or if it was just something he went through and worked out...
 

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(((PumkinSeed)))<br><br>
I have an automatic freakout whiner too. I cringe inside and audibly sigh sometimes when i hear THAT voice.<br><br>
dd is 39 months (3 and 3 months).<br><br>
I have found myself getting angry about it, which of course doesnt help. I usually respond like you do, and try to be reasonable and explain a good way for her to ask/refuse. It is SO exasperating!<br><br>
she also doesn't do anyhting I ask of her anymore. "I don't want to" is the phrase of this phase<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">:<br><br>
OH! eta... i wanted to comment on the "happy" thing. I try not to tell her to be HAPPY. i mean, when people tell me to "be happy" when I am NOT is only makes me angry that they are invalidating my feelings. DH is bad for telling dd we should try to be happy all the time. I tell her that it's ok to be happy or sad or mad, but the yelling or screaming or hitting is not ok. I first validate her mad feeling then ask her to talk to me about what made her mad.<br><br>
SO, back OT, i say to her "sweetie, please use your clear voice and your words...the whining is going to accomplish nothing. If you want to get my attention/need my help then please use that clear voice and words. i dont understand you when you're making that whining sound" At least, that used to work. Now if i even breathe wrong she spins into a freakout. like if she gets her cart hung up on something, she starts to whine about the wheel being stuck, but by the time she gets to the "help me" part, I've taken three steps forward and she is whining-freaking OUT. like if she'd said, even, "mama!!! help!" i'd have turned around and helped her! she freaks out before i even have a chance to respond, or turn around even. she wont try new things or try anything 'again'; if i even try to explain, for example, that you need to hold the pompom a second for the glue to stick she wigs out, throws the glue in my face and screams as she crumples up her paper.<br><br>
sort off topic lol, but it all ties in with the whining. i am glad i found this thread. *she's just 3, she's just 3, she's just 3*<br>
 
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