Whining. Sibling fighting. Bedtime. These are my top three mom frustrations. The easiest to tackle, and the victory that will help with the other two frustrations, is whining. Here are my six strategies to deal with a whining child.
Strategy #1: Ignore the Whining Child
When we respond to whining with a negative response, it is still a negative reinforcement. How many times have you told your children just to ignore their sibling? Don’t even let get a rise out of you. When my children are complaining, I walk away and ignore them. This can be effective for the initial start of whining. With more practiced whiners you might have to pull out bigger guns.
Strategy #2: Whining Child? Conversation over!
Sometimes walking away is not the right choice, and you need to tell your child that the conversation is over. They need to know that you mean business. Have a set of smart consequences ready to go so that your child knows to cease and desist immediately. In the real world, bosses don’t put up with arguing or back talk – you will get fired.
We need to train our children in self-control. Self-control includes mumbling. You know, when they walk away talking under their breath. Don’t let this go. Mumbling is disrespect and disobedient.
Have one of those smart consequences ready to go and stick to it. This is an area that you are wise to use strong punishment from the onset rather than increasing consequences as time goes on. You want to nip defiant whining in the bud.
Strategy #3: Voice Coach for your Whining Child
We are all naturally self-centered. Our children need to be coached to hear themselves the way others hear them. They need help to stop and evaluate their tone. Is it grating? Is it respectful? Is it winsome? Is it overly dramatic?
Sometimes their complaint is legitimate or warranted. However, no matter how valuable our opinion is, if you don’t deliver it in a way that others will listen – then it is going to fall on deaf ears.
When our children whine at us, we have an opportunity to teach them valuable communication skills that will aid them in their adult life and relationships. God has put us in their life to be discipleship coach! Ask your child: How could you word that better? Is there a way you could say that more respectfully? Then, give them an opportunity to try again.
Strategy#4: Your Whining Child & the Screen
Sometimes we whine because we are not in a good mood. A bad attitude is not an excuse for your child’s behavior, but it is an opportunity for you to coach them to be more self-aware.
Are you hungry? Are you tired? Have been around people too much today? All these things can influence our self-control. When we are hungry and tired, we tend to be more irritable and have less patience with others. Coach your child to realize that if they have been around people all day, they might have to work harder later in the day to be kind and considerate.
Strategy #5: Screen out Whining
How much screen time have you had today? Television? Phone? These devices can have a powerful effect on our self-control and ability to interact pleasantly with others. Screens are addictive, and we can act like addicts as the effects are wearing off.
If you are having major whining problems with your child, then perhaps an electronic detox will help with an attitude reset. One research study found that screen access has a distinct impact on the ability of children to read the emotions of others. A screen detox isn’t as a punishment but rather a realization of how the behavior itself has a negative influence on us all.
Strategy #6 Whining and the Bible
Take the time to point out to your child that whining is not a biblical attitude. It is definitely not a fruit of the Spirit. If we confess Jesus Christ, we are compelled to following the teachings of scripture in how we are to think and act.
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing.” – Philippians 2:14
“Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” – 1 Peter 4:9
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.” – James 4:1-3
How to Stop Whining – Our Own!
Whining is ultimately a spiritual battle. It is a battle within your child’s heart to overcome their natural rebelliousness and to submit to the authorities in their lives. The heart struggle of whining is not just a child’s struggle but our own as well. We grumble and complain when our lives are not going how we would like them to go. We break down and whine when we are tired or out of patience as well. Discipling our children not to whine, is ultimately discipling ourselves as well.