Please Stop Whining!


Please stop whining! A child’s constant whining can send any parent over the edge. Deep breaths, it’ll pass. But is there a better way to handle it? According to this article there is, if you can understand and tap into your child’s right and left brain.

Why Do My Kids Keep Whining?

When our kids have some big emotion, their ‘emotional’ right brain takes over. We usually respond to the emotional outbursts with logic and reason, which are left brain characteristics. These two sides of the brains can’t work together in that moment. Kids can’t respond to left brain logic when they’re in the grip of right brain emotions. However, when you learn a specific way to acknowledge the emotions, the two sides of the brain can work together. This reduces the behavior sooner than you might imagine.

The most effective way to respond is by using a technique I’ve shared in earlier columns, and it’s called ‘Reflective Listening’. Just imagine what your child might be feeling, taking your best guess, and reflect that feeling back in words. For example, when your daughter says, “I’m hungry!”, you could say, “You sound really frustrated that dinner isn’t ready yet. I bet you wish we were already eating!”

In this example you do two things. One is you guess at the feeling and give it a name, i.e., frustrated and even express what she might wish.

I should also note an interesting comment that followed this article. One parent commented that they simply say, “I can’t understand ‘whine-talk,’” and they repeat that phrase until the child speaks in a normal tone. That’s pretty much how I handle whining as well, but I’ll try “Reflective Listening” at least once or twice to test its effectiveness.

If you have any tips on how to handle a child’s insistent whine, please share.


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