How to Encourage Whining

My house has been under attack from the whining monster.  Again.

Let me start by saying that I loathe whining.  It’s a family trait.

When my oldest son first picked up the whining habit, he wasn’t even two yet.  My mom looked me in the eyes and said

you whined too…. ONCE.

I have no memory of what she meant, but the gleam in her eyes was enough.

Whatever magic mojo my mom had wasn’t passed on to me.  My kids are whining pro’s.  If there was a gold medal for whining, they would have been contenders.

My younger son just started whining again after almost an entire year of being whine free.

It turns out he has a new classmate that whines.

Whining is contagious.  I’m convinced it spreads from child to child faster than an intestinal virus or head lice.  I suspect it’s harder to get rid of too.

Since I learn best by messing things up, I’ve figured out how to encourage whining.  I didn’t set out to!  But I made enough parental errors that I’ve learned exactly how to roll out the welcome wagon and invite the whining monster into our home as a permanent guest.

If you want to encourage whining:

How to encourage whining.  If you want to learn how to stop, click through to read the one thing that works.

1. Be sure to give the whiner anything they ask for.  This has the short-term result of silencing the whiner, but do not be discouraged by the temporary silence.  Your little whining monster will soon find something else to whine for.

2. Give your child a steady stream of whiny role models.  Make sure that you find all the whiny cartoons and expose your child to them relentlessly.  This will let them know that whining is normal and acceptable behavior.

3. Join in the whine festival.  When your sweet little whining monster looks up at you with the doleful puppy dog eyes and the tear running down one cheek, embrace them.  Make sure to say “oh you pooooor pooor baaaaabeeeeeeeee…..” in a whining tone of voice.

4. Defend your child’s whining behavior.  Do NOT let older children discourage your child from whining by teasing them and calling them a “diaper head baby.”  Under no circumstances should you allow other adults to ignore your child when they whine.  Your child should be protected from any negative consequence for their behavior.

5.  Model whining in its full adult form.  When your husband gets home, be certain the kids are in the room when you start telling him about how horrible your day was and how much laundry you need to do.

But I loathe whining.

I confess, I’m guilty of all of the above.

I tried, with little success, to just ignore the whining hoping my child would get the message.

At one point, I had a song I would sing to them (it’s to the tune of Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee.  sorry about this)

If you whine I can not hear you.

If you scream it hurts my ears.

If you want for me to hear

Speak sweetly to my face, my dear.

I’ve tried the whining jar.  I’ve tried time out – with and without the jar of sparkles.  I’ve tried embarrassing my children by whining at the top of my lungs in public all day.  If you can pin it, I’ve tried it.

You know what works best?


Seriously.  I say it in a firm voice and then just turn back to what I was doing.  If they continue whining, I send them to their room with a book.

If they whine in their room, at least I don’t have to hear it.

Got any words of wisdom to share?  I’d love some advice!

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. Oh, yeah. Whining is horrible. I don’t really remember my daughter whining but she must have because I read back through some of my journals and I wrote about it almost every single day. Apparently, though, I wasn’t successful at fixing it, though

    Now we’re temporarily living with my son and daughter-in-law and their two kids (4 and 2). The four-year-old can whine but I don’t think she’s as bad as my daughter was. Seems like the best strategy is what you’re doing – ignore it and definitely don’t do it. They do it because it works. They do it because it gets them the results they want. If it doesn’t work, they’ll stop doing it because there’s no pay off.
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