How can parents get children to stop whining?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 25,067
    Parenting expert Dr. Rene Hackney talks about how to get your children to stop whining.

    Rene Hackney

    Originally a full-time preschool teacher, Dr. Rene Hackney now holds a Master?s in school psychology and a PhD. in developmental psychology from George Mason University. She trained at the Developmental Clinic at Children?s National Medical Center and for the public schools, teaching in parenting programs at each. She has also acted as a consultant to several area preschools.

    For the last four years, Dr. Hackney has owned and lectured for Parenting Playgroups, Inc, a parenting resource center and preschool classroom in Alexandria Virginia. She has offered workshops to a wide

    range of parent, teacher and social work groups during this time.

    Workshop topics include eight hours on positive discipline techniques, five hours on early academic issues and common issues such as sibling rivalry and potty training. All workshops provide well researched lecture, in-class practice and open discussion time. Additionally she hosts a monthly parenting focused book club and fun play programs to introduce the preschool setting to young families.

    Dr. Hackney is married and has two young children of her own.

    Host: How can parents get children to stop whining?

    Rene Hackney: To get them to stop whining, there is series of steps that we teach parents. The first step is to have the child whether they are two years old or six years old, have them correct their voice, have them correct that whininess. So, a child at any age who comes up and says to their mommy, I want a cookie! and they say it in this horrible way the parent should stop, recognize if that was a whiny tone and say, Oh I can't hear that, try again in a nice voice. Now with a young child a two or three year old, the parent might have to say, Oh I can't hear that, try again in a nice voice, say cookie please. They are modelling to the child the language they want.

    Oh I can't really hear that voice, try again in a nice say, cookie please.

    Cookie please.

    Now children should be able to stay at that step, where they get to fix their voice, where they get to restate their request until they really get it, to the point where the child comes up and just, I want a and the parent goes. Oh I can't and a child goes up, cookie please the child gets it, they know the language, they can come up with it, right away. For a six year old that should only take a couple of weeks of consistent practice, for a two year old, it can take until they are three, it can take a while. But the idea is the more consistent the parent is, they are teaching that child here is how to ask, here is a better voice. Now, for most families, that s all they ever need to do. The whining tends to go away a lot because the child is overtime being reinforced with that nice voice. When the child does, I want a cookie and the parent says, Oh! I can't hear that. Child says, oh cookie please. The parent says. Wow! that was a lovely way to ask, you used your nice voice. Yes or no to the cookie. It doesn t matter whether you are giving the cookie or not, but the idea is you are reinforcing the voice by giving a lot of attention by saying, That was a lovely way. Now, once they really get it, they can fix their voice right away, they can fix their voice on their own. You can, if whining is still problematic add a cost to whining. You can say to that child. Okay, you know that voice that makes me say I can't hear that, try again, you can try again, but in a few minutes. So the child the next day comes up and they say. I want a cookie. And the parent says, Oh! I can't hear that. Now, of course this child is going to immediately fix the rest and he says. Oh! I get a cookie, please. And the parent says, In a few minutes. It's adding a cost to the whining and saying, if there is whining, I can't even listen, for a few minutes. And that child may tantrum, that child may follow you around for two minutes, going, cookie please. I can say it, but the idea is you don t want to give in just for a minute or two and then when you are ready you say, oh I can listen now, go ahead. And the child hopefully has fixed that voice they say, Cookie please. You say, What a lovely way to ask, that was such a pleasant voice. Yes or no to the cookie. As hard as that sounds the idea isn t, if you ask in a nice voice you can have it, just whine for few minutes I can't hear you, I ll be able to hear you with your nice voice in a few minutes. So, it's adding a cost to whining for most families, whining tends to go away.