A typical scenario in everyday parenting is: Your child is whining and the solution to address his behavior is to tell them to stop whining. This is the most common reaction from parents.
When we tell our children to stop their behavior we are not trying to help our child but we do it for ourselves because we don’t want to hear it, because it is an annoying sound, because we are busy and don’t want or can’t deal with it at the moment, because we are tired and want to get to the next thing in our agenda, because we expect our child to use their words, because we think he shouldn’t be whining, because because because. Whatever the case may be, anything we do from this perspective it is not going to address the root cause of the whining and is not going to help our child in the moment or in the future.
The best way to handle whining is to look at the deeper issue. There could be many reasons why a child whines and our job as parents is to get curious about what that reason is. This is caring about our child’s experience and allowing him to get through it and learn what he needs to learn to feel empowered in the future.
It might help to look at it this way, when our child is hungry we don’t believe we are rewarding our child by feeding them, the same way when our child is whining he is communicating a need in the best way he knows and we are not rewarding our child by helping him meet that need.
So, instead of asking your child to “Stop Whining” I invite you to try this instead:
· Pause: a way to stop our unconscious reaction to the behavior is to breathe. This is key!
· Empathize: see the situation from your child’s point of view.
· Get Curious: try to see what’s the cause of the behavior
· Find the Need: see what’s the need
· Solve Things Together: guide or help the child to meet his need