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Stop whining without yelling

March 31st, 2009

We parents talk too much.
I suppose it comes naturally to us to talk too much. 

When we tell our kids “NO” to having a cookie right before dinner and they begin to whine, we feel compelled to explain to them why they can’t have a cookie. When they continue to whine, we escalate our volume and explain again, in case they are hard of hearing, that a cookie before dinner will spoil their appetite.

Alas, they must be going deaf because they still keep whining for the cookie. So now we are yelling YOU ARE NOT GETTING A COOKIE, YOU HEAR ME?? 

We proceed to give the kid a 20 minute lecture on why he should not ruin his appetite with empty calories, he needs his protein for muscle development, B-complex vitamins for his immune system, and ONE DAY, WHEN HE HAS HIS OWN KIDS, HE WILL APPRECIATE EVERYTHING YOU’RE DOING FOR HIM…20 minutes later, our 2-year-old stares blankly…still whining for a cookie.

Parents really don’t need to talk so much.

When our children ask for a cookie right before dinner, we say “NO”. Then when the whining starts, just say, “Mommy said no. Please stop whining.” When the whining continues, we don’t explain, we don’t lecture, we don’t angry. We set the kitchen timer for 2 minutes and gently say, “Please sit here in the corner and calm down until the timer rings. Then we can read a book together.”

If the whining does not stop in 2 minutes, set the timer for another 2 minutes, as many times as it takes until the crying stops. When the child is calm, give him some water, and cuddle to read a short book together.

The time out in the corner is not a punishment. It’s a way to teach our children to handle his negative emotions by calming down. When he is calm, everyone is happy and we can share in a positive activity together.

Our children can learn that no one should have to put up with their bad behavior. In a loving family, we should honor one another by treating each other kindly. Children can in fact learn to treat us with honor by not whining and crying.

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  1. Katy this was terrific.


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