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Whinging, Whining and Unco-operative Behaviour

Whinging, whining and uncooperative behaviour can be very draining and infuriating, and is a very common problem for parents.

I can definitely relate to the whinging, whining and unco-operative behaviour. I had lots of this with my first two sons, when they were young. After reading many books and articles on parenting, I deliberately changed my style. Parenting can be a very difficult job, especially if you have little regular support and time. We are not generally well equipped with the tools of parenting, when our children are born. But it is a highly important and valuable job, and can be very satisfying and enjoyable with the right skills.

My advice would be to tell your child to stop the whinging, and tell him why it is unacceptable (when he does it). I would say this once, or twice at the most. If he/she stops, give appreciative encouragement for the co-operation. If he/she continues, walk away until he/she stops, if this is possible. If this is not possible, I would actively ignore the noise, and go on with what you are doing and turn away from your child. You can suggest an alternative activity, to distract a child who is around 3 years or younger. If he/she is asking for something, then it is wise to insist on him/her asking properly. I wouldn’t give him/her the item until he/she asks nicely. If it is something that you don’t want him/her to have, tell him/her calmly and assertively, and ignore any whining. You don’t always have to give a definite answer straight away either. You can tell him/her that you will think about it, and get back to him/her, at a particular time. Don’t give in to negative behaviour, as it has the effect of re-enforcing bad behaviour, and is likely to be repeated.

Noticing and encouraging appropriate behaviour is crucial. If your child is not whinging for a period of time, when he/she normally would, that is the time to comment with enthusiasm. Eg “Thank you for sitting quietly, whilst waiting for your dinner.” “I really like the way you helped your sister with that,” (or something similar). Commenting specifically on any co-operative behaviour is important, and it can be a challenge to find it sometimes! Eg.  “Wow, you got ready in record time this morning! Thank you.” Having interesting inflection can help, as can getting down to their level, and using eye contact when speaking.