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My near-14 month old dd fusses and whines the *exact* moment she wants something. There's no time to give her what she wants before she starts, and most of the time, it's something reasonable (like water or a teething biscuit.)

We let her know that we understand (she signs) and that we're getting it, but the fussing just escalates until she gets it. I think we're just encouraging the behavior by handing it over to a whining child, but I'm not sure what else to do.

Any ideas??

Thanks,
Jude
 

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Your child can't really be "taught" patience, any more than you teach her to walk. It's a developmental thing. And you aren't "encouraging" anything negative by handing things over to a whining child. At her age she is just learning to communicate and by not giving it to her you'd actually be inhibiting that. She is simply incapable of controlling herself to the point you could even force her to by not responding to her anyway. Try not to let oit bother you. She's so young yet. Whining is tough: it requires that the child recognize it when she's doing it, adn then has the ability to rein in her emotions enough to compose herself and ask again. That's a huge developmental leap and it will likely be a couple years before she'll really get ths.
 

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I remember these days too, and I agree with the pp poster who said that it is a developmental rather than a behavior matter.

That said, what helped me keep my sanity is explaining in a matter-of-fact voice over the whining exactly what I was doing to get the water/snack/bath/whatever ready. I would also tell him that we were waiting, and for a while we had a waiting song (it never really caught on, but it distracted him for a while). If nothing else, you can teach her some new words or signs!

Now, at 25 months, he can say things like "wait," "bagel toaster," and recently "mama cut fruit." It's like he can remind himself what needs to happen before he gets what he's waiting for.

As for the giving in--giving water to a thirsty fussy child is a good policy, for everyone's sake! For other things, it has helped me to have a clear idea of what my son can and cannot have. If it's an OK thing, he can have it as quickly as I can reasonably get it to him, fussing or no. If it's not an OK thing (e.g., dangerous), then he gets an explanation (and distraction) and no amount of fussing can change it.
 

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One way to think about it is that the whining isn't being reinforced really because it doesn't have any impact. You can't act faster, you are doing what you are doing. Actually changing your behavior (by not giving it to her for example) would actually be more reinforcing... just ignore her whining. Really ignore it. You understood her need, you are responding to her need. That is good parenting.
 

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Hi, we did the signing thing as well and I think you are totally fine. I personally have always been interested in watching our dd and how she is growing to tolerate longer time spans. At 14 months, I really don't think children understand much beyond one minute and now that dd is 21 months old I am finding that she really can understand delays a lot better. We found it REALLY helped to use "first, then" as in "Let's go to the counter first, then we can get your biscuit". As a result, our daughter is really amazing at putting together a sequence of events ; )

I do feel for you - it's a really stressful time when children have no concept of time but it will get easier. Our daughter tonight understood that we'd sleep first, then have "num-nums" at breakfastime. It gets easier!
 
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