Five Years Old: The Age of Fine Whine

Question

My youngest, who is 5 years old, is feeling left out, saying the neighborhood kids don’t want to play with him. However, I don’t blame them! He is very whiny, tattles constantly, and doesn't share well. The kids are kind and do try to include him, but prefer to play with his older sister. What’s the best way to handle this?

Answer

To whom does your son tattle or whine? Who is this person who provides a listening ear for his irksome conduct? My guess is that person is YOU! The fact that your five-year old has a problem with "whining and tattling constantly" indicates to me that you may very well be constantly responding to his negative attention-getting behavior. You must stop "feeding the beast!" You must starve your maddening little monkey! Once he drops the excess weight of Undue Female Attention & Treatment(UFAT), your boy will then be free to learn how to handle frustration--on his own. Learn the creative Art of Ignoring; and if that doesn't work, levy a consequence--or do both. You need respond only when he comes to you with more of a composed, self-controlled, respectful temperament--and no tattling(unless in a rare emergency).

Well-meaning mental health professionals have told parents to empathize with the deep feelings of their preschooler and to understand the WHY'S behind his constant tantruming, tattling and whining. Empathy and Understanding are fine, but first, one needs to eliminate the negative behavior--Nip it in the Bud, so to speak; something previous mothers of previous generations would have done immediately.

So next time he comes to you with that behavior, send him to his room for 10 minutes(set your phone alarm or stove timer), and when his time is up, he can try approaching you again in a more self-regulated manner. If he commits another related behavior faux pas, send him up to his room for 30 minutes and then add a consequence.

Eventually, as his behavior starts to shape up, it will become much easier for his playmates to welcome him into the fold.
And as we know, nothing ages worse than a not-so-fine whine.

Mike Smart, CLPC
"Parenting OutSmarted"
smartmike59@gmail.com

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