If your baby is hungry, an item of clothing is pinching him, a diaper needs changing, this is different than a toddler sitting in a shopping cart demanding that you buy that candy bar.
We’re talking here about a child who can understand what you’re saying. Now I believe even a baby understands what you’re saying, but we’ll discuss that in another post.
So when your child doesn’t get his or her way and starts whining, what do you do?
Well, of course, you can simply just give in and let the child have whatever it is he wants. When the child whines and we’ve got a ton of things on our mind, we may just go ahead and give in.
I’m not here to tell you that you should “never give in” but I do believe you can get your child’s agreement to change his conduct. Let’s look at an example:
You and your child are at a grocery store and you’re getting ready to check out. Your precious daughter wants a particular item. You don’t wish to buy it for her. You let her know in a very friendly way that you can’t buy it right now. She keeps at it and eventually starts whining.
Perhaps she senses you are embarrassed by her ear-splitting sounds. Maybe that doesn’t occur to her, but she just simply wants something and she’s determined to get it.
Whatever the case may be, she’s to a certain degree USING whining as a method to get something from you. Why?
Because she’s found it successful.
She’s whined before and you gave in. Maybe it goes back to when she cried as a baby, got your immediate attention and care, and she noted that this worked. It doesn’t really matter how far back this goes, what IS important is how you deal with it from this point forward.
My suggestion here is to talk with your child about what she is doing:
“Mary, I cannot buy this doll. Your crying is not going to change my mind here. I’d really appreciate it if you helped me get finished here with our shopping.”
If Mary continues to cry, you complete your shopping and you do NOT change your demeanor with your daughter. You are still super friendly and super caring. You’re just not giving in.
When you get into the car or when you get home, you have another conversation with Mary:
“I want you to know, Mary, that you can talk to me at any time. You can certainly ask me for things and many of those things I’ll be able to get for you. I love you and I’m eager to help you in any way I can. However, there will be times when I cannot get you what you want. When those times happen, I do not want you to cry and demand that I change my mind. You can talk to me, give me more information about what you want, and we can talk about it. But whining WILL NOT work with me. Do you understand, honey?”
The above of course is an example of how the conversation could go. But the sooner you have that conversation, the better! Your child can and will understand you. You may have to have this conversation several times. Maybe many times.
But your precious little one will eventually get that there is a different way to communicate to you about things they want. And when they do, it’ll be a whole new world for them and for you.
Again, if they really need your help for something, then you provide it. But whining in a restaurant because they got macaroni and cheese instead of steak and mushrooms is clearly different than a stomach ache. You’ll easily see and know the difference.