Whining is one of the most irritating things that young children do, and it can push any parent to their absolute breaking point. Kids whine for a variety of reasons: they could be tired, hungry, sick, frustrated, or looking for attention. If parents give in to whining (think, toy or candy bar at the store), then kids learn that whining gets them what they want. The key to overcoming this habit begins in the calm moments where we as parents can come up with a plan to address our children’s whining in positive, non-shaming ways.
Parenting a toddler is a lot like being a hostage negotiator: it takes planning, strategy, and some out of the box thinking. When we ask a toddler to do something, 90% of the time the reaction is a Big. Fat. NO. Eating dinner, getting strapped into the car, taking a bath, going to bed; almost any daily task can turn into a battle of wills when it comes to toddlers. At times, toddlers are so committed to saying “no” that they say “no” even when they mean “yes.” For example:
Parent: “Do you want your eggs?”
Parent: (takes eggs away)
Toddler: (crying) “I want my eggs!!”
We’ve all seen the toddler meltdown. It’s that “end of the world,” sobbing tantrum over something so small you may not have even known what it was. A lot of the time, they don’t even know what it was. Toddlerhood is a unique time in childhood in which the child wants so desperately to be in control, to be “big,” and yet he is still so little. The desire for independence comes out through power struggles that make no sense, and parents are simply riding this roller coaster of toddler emotions.