Powerful Responses To Stop Kids From Whining And Complaining
We as parents have all had times, where we tell our children to do something, and suddenly there is a significant change in the tone as well as the volume of their voice to the point that it hurts our ears.
Yes, we are talking about complaining and whining. Complaining and whining are two of the most common yet frustrating things that every parent has to face. What is important to remember is that this behaviour is not a conscious decision on the child’s part. It happens due to many reasons, including the child wanting to express, wanting to let go of his/her overwhelming feelings, not knowing what to do of all the feelings he/she has, to communicate with us or because he/she feels powerless.
Mentioned below are four ways in which you can help your child stop complaining and whining:
1.Acknowledge The Emotions: We fall into the parenting pattern that we were raised with. More often than not, this is not going to help because your child is different from who you were as a kid. Instead of saying something that your parents told you when you were a child like ‘stop crying or I will reduce your playtime’, actually say something that doesn’t minimize or ignore the child’s feelings. Be empathetic and let children know that it is okay to feel emotional but it is not okay to engage in inappropriate behaviour just because he/she is emotional.
2.Identify Emotions: Parents should help the child in identifying what he/she is feeling and then teach him/her how to choose words to express what he/she is feeling. So if you ask your child to clean up the toys after playing, he/she may say that you are the parent and so you should do it and that he/she is too tired to move. In such circumstance, tell your child that it is okay to feel tired, but he/she needs to talk to you with respect and choose his/her words carefully.
3.Maintain Your Calm: You cannot possibly help the situation if you are angry or worked up. Take a pause, breathe and then focus on your child. Remember that a quick fix like handing a toy to the child or giving in to his/her demands may help, but it is not the long term solution you are aiming. You should engage in breathing exercises and it will only take a moment and will help you calm down and respond thoughtfully and appropriately to your child’s whining or complaining instead of resorting to the quick fix.
4.Encourage Problem Solving: If he/she is complaining to you about something, encourage him/her to find a solution to the problem. For example, if your child says that he/she is bored, ask your child what could be the solution to it. If he/she needs help thinking of solutions, give options like reading a book, playing a board game or listening to their favourite music. By teaching your child problem solving, you make him/her realize that coming to you and complaining isn’t going to help. Instead of taking actions to help the situation will help.
A child often whines or complains because he/she is too tired, hungry, thirsty, stressed or overwhelmed. Whining is often because children need comfort. Remember that sometimes all the child needs is some love and support. Pull your child into a hug and let him/her know that it is okay to feel all that he/she is feeling. Acceptance is the first step to finding a solution.