No one likes to hear a whining child. Parents become frustrated when a child continues to whine. As the parent shows frustration, the child seems to whine all the more! Why do children whine? What can be done to prevent whining? How should we deal with whining when it happens?

The true reason children whine is because they are thinking of self and self- comfort. The child may want a pleasure for self such as a toy, activity, food, or even just simply the attention of someone. Chances are that the child has found that whining has worked before as a tool to get the desire. When something works, isn’t it logical to repeat that action?

The basic attitude of the inner self determines actions. When a child is taught to think of the comfort of others instead of just thinking of self, chances are that child will not be a whiner. It becomes a part of the nature of the child to think of how actions affect others. The emphasis is taken off self and put on those around. Even very young children can learn to be considerate of others. It is an attitude that is often “caught” in the home.

When a child whines, it can be embarrassing. This is especially true if it is in a public place. It is so tempting to give the child what is wanted to get him/her to be quiet. That simply shows the child that whining works! Next time something is wanted, there will be more whining. The better thing to do is simply tell the child that no one likes whining and that they cannot have the wanted item until it stops. Our children are more important than the opinion of others who may be listening. Actions should be chosen for the benefit of the child, not strangers. If the wanted item is not good for the child, or if it is not something the child should have, simply say “no” and leave it at that. Soon the child will tire of whining if they know you really mean it. They whine as long as they have a chance to get what they want.

Sometimes it helps to mimic the child. Let the child know what they sound like. This is a good technic if in a private place. Ask the child if what they hear is pleasant and if he/she would like to hear that often. Chances are, the child will stop and think before doing it again.

Recently I observed a mom who had a dog on a leash and three children with her. One child kept whining and saying over and over that she was hungry. The mom was paying more attention to the dog than to the child. Soon the mom got angry with both the dog and the child! I had to wonder if the child was feeling that the mom was paying more attention to the pet than to the child.

Whining stems from an attitude of self-desire. If a child can learn to think of others first, much whining will be avoided. Helping a child understand how whining sounds, can go a long way in stopping whining. A child should not be rewarded for whining by giving in to his/her wants. Children should never have to question whether they have a parent’s love. Pets are not more important than children.