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DON'T Give in to Whining!

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Guest blogger Gay Uncle: Discounting jokes about air travel, romantic comedies about Americans finding love abroad, and every single policy proposed, supported, or initiated by the Bush administration, there is little in the world more annoying than a whiny child. We all get tired and cranky sometimes, and because they're small and have less stamina, kids tend to get tired and cranky more frequently than we do. So a certain amount of whining is understandable and should be tolerated.

Dad and whining child

But in actuality, most whiners are made and not born, so if you have one, it's probably at least partly your fault. But it's never too late to change patterns or prevent new ones from taking root. Just do as I say. When your child whines -- especially when the whine is attached to a question, request or demand -- simply remind them calmly to speak to you in a regular voice. If they continue to whine, repeat your admonishment, and then ignore them until they abide. DO NOT EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, GIVE IN TO WHINING (Car-ry me. Caaar-ry me.). If you do, your child will quickly come to believe this is an appropriate and effective means to get what they want, and I guarantee that you will have signed yourself, and anyone within earshot, up for a lifelong tasting in your child's extensive whine cellar.

As difficult as it may be, firmly stating your position (We're walking home and you need to walk on your own) providing flat reminders as necessary (I told you, we're walking home. I will not carry you) and ignoring whining, is really the only acceptable choice. You've learned to tune out the sound of your spouse/partner's voice; I know you can learn to add this to your repertoire of the inaudible.

Like this? You can buy The Gay Uncle's Guide to Parenting or visit him at

next: 12 Things I Learned on My Vacation
10 comments so far | Post a comment now
Uly January 2, 2009, 11:41 AM

Too often, I see children request something in a reasonable tone of voice and get ignored. Then they say it again and get ignored. They only get a response - yes or no - when they whine.

The best way to nip whining in the bud isn’t to be strict when it happens, although that’s certainly part of it. The best way, though, is to listen to your child so they rarely resort to whining in the first place.

Anonymous January 2, 2009, 5:37 PM

want some cheese & crackers with that wine?

Jan Tallent January 2, 2009, 5:57 PM

With three kids of my own, two grand kids I adore more than life and one on the way I have to agree that giving in to the whining just sets the stage for more whining and it never ends. Mine found out that they MIGHT get what they wanted if they asked nicely and then accepted the fact that they would get what I chose to give them but would NOT ever profit from whining, screaming, throwing fits, etc. PERIOD- even when they did their best, and succeeded, in embarrassing me to the max. My kids were still spoiled as will my grands be, without whining being the reason.

jantallent on twitter :-)

Ilana Johnson January 2, 2009, 9:39 PM

In response to: The Gay Uncle says parents should not ever, under any circumstances, do this. What’s your guess? Are you guilty

Answer: Never. Except when he whines.

lanaclevermomme on twitter!

Stacie January 3, 2009, 10:50 PM

My 1 yr old is starting this and I find myself giving in way too often. Thank you for the gentle reminder. I don’t want her to become “that kid”.

mousekawitz January 6, 2009, 5:42 PM

yummm…cheese and crackers

Leah January 13, 2009, 5:51 PM

Amen, Gunc. Our mantra here is “we don’t speake Whinese.” No whining from kids, no whining from grownups.

It’s often difficult to ignore the whine when it transforms from whine to keen to full-blown, blue-strobe meltdown. But it’s worth it.

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Clint Orrell January 24, 2011, 1:35 PM

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