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7 Simple Tricks For Getting Your Kids To Stop Whining

7 Simple Tricks For Getting Your Kids To Stop Whining

Before you start…

Make a rule to your children that whining isn’t allowed in this house.

But instead of being nags about it, parents can enlist your kids’ help, “We’ll have to let people know when they come to visit that there’s no whining in our house! Can you help with that?”

Like most people, children dig the idea of telling people off for doing something that they do themselves.

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no-whining-no-complaining-absolutely-no-frowning-only-hugs-smiles-and-warm-fuzzy-feelings-are-allowed

    This trick helped a lot, but it didn’t completely get child to stop whining.

    So I went in search of some new tricks and here are a few tips culled from various parenting sites on how to handle whining kids.

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    1. Nip it in the bud. From webmd.com:

    “To avoid whining, [pediatrician Laurel Schultz, MD] advises parents not to wait until children are in distress to acknowledge them. “It’s important to respond to that first bid for attention, if you can,” she says. “If you are on the phone or in the middle of a conversation, make eye contact with your child and put a finger up, so she knows you’ll be with her in a minute. Then give your child your attention as soon as you can politely do so.”

    2. Empathise before you lecture. From parents.com:

    “Don’t say: “You can’t always get what you want.” Yes, it’s tempting to start humming that Rolling Stones tune, but what you really need to do is show empathy — at least before the whining becomes a full-blown tantrum. “Say, ‘It does look like a fun toy, and I bet you’d really like it. Should we add it to your birthday list or would you like to save your allowance money for it?’” says [Toni Schutta, a psychologist and parent coach in St. Paul]. “This helps kids learn to delay gratification.” Plus, this response gives them hope and empowers them, and it teaches them the importance of saving money.”

    3. Show your kid what to aim for. From askdrsears.com:

    “Replay for your child how unpleasant [whining] sounds, being careful not to mock. Don’t do this when you are both emotional. Do it at a calm time. Whine back: “Which do you like, Mommy’s sour voice (‘I don’t wanna make supper’) or Mommy’s sweet voice (‘Gosh, I’m tired. I could use some help’)?”

    4. Let her know when she got it right. From parents.com:

    “Parents always point out, ‘That’s not a nice voice’ but often don’t provide enough positive reinforcement,” says [Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of Parents Do Make a Difference]. You might say, “Thanks for using your normal voice” or “My ears love that voice.”

    5. Don’t ignore the whining. From parents.com:

    “Put away the earplugs and take action. “Kids can whine all day, easily outlasting a parent who is trying to tune it out,” says Rene Hackney, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist in Alexandria, Virginia. “The longer you let your child complain, the more determined she’ll become to get her way.” Instead, help your child understand that her whining voice is very hard to listen to. You can say, “I can’t understand you when you whine. If you want to tell me how you feel, then I need you to use your regular voice.”

    6. Be playful. Here’s a foolproof magic trick to stop whining that’s worked for us when we’re out running errands. Or you could try reading this book to your kids. From cnn.com:

    “Debbie Granick of St. Louis uses a “whine” cup, or bowl or bucket or whatever’s at hand. “Whenever one of them starts, I say, ‘Here, go pour out your whine and bring me your regular voice.’ It gets a smile, or at least that ‘Oh, Mom’ look, and then they’ll usually change their tone.” She then thanks her child for using a “pleasant” voice. Or whisper your answer back. “You may have to whisper it several times, but your child will have to be quiet to hear you, and a lot of times he’ll mimic your tone of voice,” says Karen Shaffer, a mom of three in Highland, California.”

    7. Reconnect for a few minutes. From webmd.com:

    “Often whining signals it’s time to reconnect with your child.” To do that, [educator and developmental psychologist Becky Bailey, PhD] advises parents to spend some focused time together reading, cooking a meal, or doing something else the child enjoys. “A few minutes connecting with your child once or twice a day can make a huge difference for families dealing with difficult behaviors,” Bailey says.

    Credits to idealistmom.com

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    Published on November 12, 2020

    How to Identify And Play to Your Child’s Strengths

    How to Identify And Play to Your Child’s Strengths

    As you sit there, perhaps on a sofa, maybe a lounge chair, or while you’re sharing a meal at the table, you glance over to the pride and joy you are happy each day to call your child. They smile back, running around the table they learned to stand up using or kiss you on the cheek as they snatch your car keys for their first (or second, but what feels like hopefully the last) errand using your car. You watch as they take their plate from the table, ask if anyone needs anything on their way to the sink, and then finally meander towards the living room saying to you, “Bed fort after dinner?”

    How respectful! How creative! Such initiative!

    What you may not realize is that because we don’t often think about this in the day-to-day of parenting, your child’s strengths—the initiative, creativity, drive, passion, and introspective nature that turns other people off—are cultivated daily!

    If you’ve never given thoughts to your child’s inherent strengths, that’s okay. As is all too common, you’re conditioned to only look at what they need to fix.[1]

    Turns out, identifying, cultivating, and managing your child’s strengths isn’t very difficult. In fact, much of those three steps can occur during a visit to the park. Let’s discover simple and effective ways to highlight your child’s strengths.

    Identifying Strengths

    Now, I know what you may be thinking: between office meetings, Zoom sessions, laundry, and grocery shopping, when exactly do I have time to become a psychologist?

    I get it. But really, identifying your child’s strengths is not difficult. In fact, a simple exercise usually suffices—participate in their play!

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    Participate in Their Play

    Play can take many forms and is usually defined as an activity that does not bring extrinsic value to be enjoyed—us adults typically refer to these activities as “hobbies.” Whether your child is two or thirteen, children are children, after all, and play is essential.

    According to a report from the University of Utah, play is a way for children to practice “problem-solving, self-control, and learning how to share.”[2] Aren’t those powerful strengths that we should identify and cultivate in our supportive role of helping children thrive as adults?

    When children engage in play, they naturally show how they lead, how they empathize with others, and how they work with others (or not) to solve problems. If you spend time being present with your children during play, you will be able to see how your child’s strengths manifest in the simplest of activities. Seeing your children play allows you to see how they make mistakes, too, which is a powerful indicator of their sense of self.

    Allow (Supported) Mistakes—and Often!

    Identifying your child’s strengths has nothing to do with demanding them to be perfect. Far from it, actually. Remember—you are guiding them to becoming a self-sufficient and nurturing adult, and there aren’t many of us out there that are perfect!

    Highlighting moments when your child has made some mistakes and working through how to bounce back or fix that mistake can be wondrous when they are working towards understanding their effect on others, themselves, and the world.

    Just like parents that tend to focus too much on the negative, children too often learn more from their mistakes than their successes. Catch your child softly during a mistake, and work through a plan to get themselves out of it. Your goal is not to fix their issue, of course, but to build within them the capacity to make a better choice next time.

    When you take on this mindset of an engaging and present parent that is looking for ways to build your child’s strengths, you’ll be surprised at what you see them able to do.

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    Some solid examples of inherent child strengths to look for include:

    These are the soft skills that are being developed as young as preschool and even before. In today’s global workplace environment, ensuring that your child is developing in these (and other) areas will set them up for success.

    Okay, great. You’ve watched your children at the park or tag along with your teenager to a volunteer event and notice how gracious they are. How do we keep that going?

    As is normally the case, you’ll see that cultivating strengths is no more difficult than identifying them.

    Cultivating Your Child’s Identified Strengths

    Imagine this scenario: Thursday evening, and you’ve worked your fourth ten-hour day. Your partner is late getting home from work, and your three kids are all wanting different things for dinner that should have been made yesterday.

    At the exact moment you’re about to snap from the pressure, your middle child says, “Hey, maybe we can all act like chefs tonight and make our own dinners? Might be fun!”

    Um, yes, please?

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    As you settle in bed later that evening and reflect on that exchange in the kitchen, you start to highlight other times that child—and, as you doze, your other children in their own ways—stepping up and leading. You know this cannot be by accident, so what’s going on here?

    Provide Many At-Bats

    Just because a child can take their plate to the sink doesn’t mean they are responsible enough with Grandma’s China set. But when you provide the “at-bats” for children to build capacity using their strengths, you see the road to them handling more difficult scenarios becoming less and less cluttered with obstacles.

    There will come a day, and perhaps soon, that your child will be able to navigate that China with extreme grace. Today just ain’t that day, but with some work, it’ll come!

    Providing opportunities for your child to build on their strengths is a great idea. Everyone likes to feel competent, and your child is no different! Setting up scaffolded opportunities for them to showcase their budding personalities decreases the stress and increases the chance that, next time, they will perform even better.

    Teach Them to Trust but Verify

    Good leaders don’t have all the answers. Neither should you and of course, we don’t expect our children to know everything. But we should build within them the capacity for understanding what they don’t know and figuring out ways to get the information they need to work through their situations.

    You cannot always have the answers, either. So, what should you do?

    Exposing them to the world of information that exists is a good start. Great, you’ve identified your child is empathetic, but must they assist and provide supportive care to everyone they encounter? Or should there be some healthy boundaries established?

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    Working with your children to mold and curate these more nuanced approaches to their strengths will provide them with a good road map to use when they ultimately leave you and lead their own lives.

    Turning Weaknesses Into Opportunities

    While not exactly the elephant in the room, I can’t possibly write an article about child strengths without also addressing the fact that our children aren’t possibly capable of being good at everything.

    Perhaps one of your most important roles as a parent is to decide what strengths your child has and to inspire them to cultivate those strengths using the tips and suggestions in this article. However, there will be a wide variety of opportunities for you to work through the challenges your child experiences.

    I don’t want this to sound too harsh but the fact is, everyone has competencies on a spectrum: you can work, hustle, and grind to develop parts of your personality or skill set to whatever gain you set for yourself. Allowing children to operate with a mindset of progress, not perfection, will help their journey. You cannot be weak, after all, if you are constantly striving for improvement.

    So, the next time you take your kiddo out to the park, attend a professional sporting event, or perhaps when you’re playing cards in the living room on a cold winter night, pay attention to how they maneuver around.

    How are they asking for what they need? How are they offering support? How are they handling conflict? How are they bouncing back from missed opportunities or mess-ups?

    In each of those moments—and many more—the opportunity to cultivate strength in your child is just around the corner!

    More Tips on Developing Your Child’s Strengths

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

    Reference

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