"As children grow older, parents must give them greater freedom, including greater freedom to make mistakes. "

How to Nip Whining in the Bud


Hello, my 3-year-old whines quite a bit. Most of the times he jumps up and down when asking for something. He whines more when he doesn’t get what he wants, is sick, tired, etc. We tell him we’ll answer him when he asks in a normal voice. I’ve modeled the right way and wrong way of how to talk without whining. He still continues to whine. Any suggestions on what I can do?


Thanks for the great question. Your situation is one many parents seem to struggle with these days. Good for you for demanding he use a normal voice when speaking to you. As much as we all wish we could just explain the right way to do things our children prefer the old fashioned way of learning it the hard way it seems. Your son's whining and jumping up and down is not ok. Imagine that on an 8 year old?

I would recommend you draw a picture of a whining child and another of a child jumping up and down. You can cut pictures out of a magazine if you prefer. Place them on the refrigerator where he can see them. Explain to junior what each picture means. Let him know when he does either of these he will spend 10 minutes in his room. Next time he whines or jumps up and down say, "That is one of your pictures. You have 10 minutes in your room." No other explanation is given and you calmly take him to his room and set a timer. When the timer rings let him out without a word and go about your day. Being calm and consistent is the key to your success. Some parents buy a whistle and blow it like a referee when the child does anything on their list. It is important to keep this simple. Two items on the list and a timer. Do this for a week or two and see if he doesn't learn quickly that you mean business when it comes to speaking in a normal voice to you and that any other method, such as whining will gain him absolutely no response. It will get worse before it gets better so be sure to plan on being consistent for the long haul. He has to learn there is a new sheriff in town. You can do this.

Nadine Knapp
Leadership Parenting Coach

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