My Child Has... Article

My Child Has...

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Whining


What is whining?

The whining child keeps asking and bugging you to do something you've told him he can't do. He may want an extra snack or to go outside after dark. Usually his voice is high-pitched and irritating.

Whining is a low-grade type of temper tantrum. You must teach your child that whining never works. Dealing with whining now is important for preventing complaining behavior in adults.

How do I help my child?

  • Tell your child what you expect: "I can't understand you when you're whining. Come back to me when you can talk in your normal voice."
  • If whining continues, ignore your child completely. No eye contact and no conversation. Don't try to reason with your child. If necessary, go to a different room.
  • If the whining is loud or nerve-wracking, tell your child to take a 3-minute time-out in the "whining chair." The chair should be situated somewhere boring and at the other end of the house from you.
  • Give your child lots of positive attention when he's not whining.

Written by B.D. Schmitt, MD, author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2002-02-05
Last reviewed: 2010-06-02

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.

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