Whining is talking in a helpless, dejected voice. In some children, this tone of voice appears when the youngster is beginning to feel unwell. But children also whine when they are tired, bored, frustrated or annoyed. Whining is certain to capture attention.
Whining becomes a behavior problem when it becomes the youngster’s regular mode of expression. A similar problem is incessant complaining. Preschoolers go through spells of negativism when they are liable to find fault with everything around them. The complaints may or may not be delivered in a wining tone.
The trick to dealing with complaining is not to let you get lured into the game. Simply refuse to respond to your youngster’s lamentations. Explain that if his attitude remains so unpleasant, you will not talk to him. Then stick to it. Dealing with whining, demands similar resolve, but it also requires a certain amount of delicacy.
When a child who is generally cheerful and compliant suddenly begins to whine, look for transient physical and emotional problems. Redouble yourself to be punctual about his schedules. In this way you can solve some of the problems that have provoked the whining.
You can even spare a little more time and attention to your child, but do it in a general way throughout the day rather than in direct response to the whining. You should also see to it that any of the routines that the youngster depends on have changed.
If your child becomes a habitual whiner, you should look even more carefully to the reasons. It may that you are subjecting him to demands that are unreasonable high and thus poorly understood. Make certain that your youngster knows what whining is, so that he will understand you if it becomes unreasonable and you tell him to stop.
You might then explain that you cannot understand him when he whines. If your child is a chronic whiner, examine how you may have contributed to the problem. It may be that you have to make certain basic changes in your way relating to your youngster. Above all do not try to fight whining with threats or punishments. That approach offers a very little hope of success.