Kids

How to Cope with Whining

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Pay Attention
Many times, a child whines because he knows it will get a reaction. Take the first step and make it a point to ask your child his thoughts and opinions. If he feels like he is making a contribution to what you are doing, he is less likely to resort to whining to get your attention.

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Address It
Believe it or not, whining becomes less of a tactic and more of a habit as your child gets older. When your child begins to whine, call attention to it — she might not even realize she is doing it.

If your child is younger, simply ask, “How do you ask nicely?” Reminding her of this will help get her out of the bad habit of always whining when she wants something.

If your child is older, address the whining by asking her how she can change the way she is speaking. By turning it into a learning experience, your child will begin realize when she is whining and will begin to change her habit.

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Take a Deep Breath
It can be hard to keep your patience when you have a whining child on your hands, but losing your cool may only exacerbate the situation. Before you fly off the handle, take a deep breath and remind yourself that your child is likely whining because he needs your help. Respond to your child’s need (for example, opening a cereal box for him) with patience, and it will likely rub off on him.

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Be a Role Model
Listen to yourself the next time you are talking to your spouse or on the phone to a friend. Are you whining? Children take their behavioral cues from you, so if your child hears you whining, he’s likely to do the same. Chances are you might not even realize you are doing it.

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Be Firm
Whether you have a young child or a teen, she needs to learn that whining will not help her get what she wants.

When your child starts to whine, say something along the lines of “I will listen when you speak to me calmly,” and follow through with what you say. Although it may take some practice and patience, your child will eventually learn to use a calm and rational voice when she needs or wants something.

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Give Positive Reinforcement
When your child talks politely or pleasantly, take notice, and respond. Saying, “I like the way you used your manners,” will show your child that her efforts don’t go unappreciated, and that she doesn’t have to resort to whining to get what she needs.

The same goes for older children and teens. If your teen approaches you in a mature manner about something she needs or wants, responding positively will help keep this trend going.

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