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Whining and crying goes to bed  RSS feed

paul wheaton
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For many reasons I should never give any parenting advice. However this is the one thing which I think turned out really good for my kids.

Whining and crying goes to bed.

This worked out great when my kids were toddlers. But now that I think of it, it could also be just as good for preadolescents and teenagers.

It nearly eliminated whining. In fact I remember a few times where I thought I heard whining and I would say so and I would hear back from a 3 year old " I am just trying to express frustration." Which actually sounded rather mature for a 3 year old. And much better than the whining sound that preceded the statement.
Dan Boone
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One of my memories from early childhood is of being accused of whining rather a lot. And each time I would be told to stop whining, it was my impression that I was not whining but arguing. Either I was not able to distinguish the "tone" that sets those two apart, or the people in my life (parents and unsympathetic older sisters) were not interested in distinguishing -- a theory I certainly held at the time, because I knew what whining sounded like in other kids, and did not think I was doing it.

In either case, being punished for asserting myself would have greatly compounded my sense of grievance in many instances.

When I was subject to "do x and go to bed" punishments, I always felt they were more for the convenience of the adults in my life than for any actual misbehavior. But then, I would have thought that.

From fair and introspective parents with a keenly-honed sense of justice and an inclination to decide for their children in borderline cases, I can see a rule like that doing some good. But I didn't have parents like that, so I'm inclined not to think it's a winning parenting strategy.
Leora Laforge
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Location: Saskatchewan
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I remember whining when I was young, it didn't last long because my mother had the best responses.

"Oh, you're bored, well you can wash the dishes, vacuum the living room, pick the peas/beans/strawberries/raspberries, weed the garden, clean the toilet, there is so much to do, take your pick!" or "You sound tired."

Basically she would translate the whining of my siblings and I to whatever suited her, it is very effective.
Nicole Alderman
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Location: Pacific Northwest
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Tee-hee, I do that with my two year old, though it's more when he starts fussing. I say, "Oh, my, you sure seem tired. It must be time for your nap." That usually snaps him out of it pretty fast.

As for whining, we usually just model how he should ask for things. Instead of him saying, "I want crackers!" I have him say, "May I please have some crackers?" He does a good job of saying it right, and usually tries to say it right the next time. Modeling for him really helps. Being told what not to do is often confusing for little kids, but telling them how they should say it or act guides them to saying it right. This, of course, only works if they are willing to make changes--how you get them to be willing to change is a whole 'nother Cider Press topic!

When I was little, if I whined, my parents made me read, "Wendy and the Whine."

It's about how the more that Wendy whines, the more it takes over her life until she prays and lets the Holy Spirit help and the whine is banished. I honestly never really understood the book, and had to read it over and over and over and over again over the years. I was also kind of scared of the ghost/whine/blob/thing. I never correlated the blob thing to the sound of my voice. I'm thinking reading the book didn't really help if I had to read it so many times! I also was never really good at such things influencing my behavior--spanking never worked either because I just did what I did because I thought it was right. All kids are different. Though, of course, my parents might say that the book and the spankings helped with my behavior--they were the outside observers, not me!

One thing that might help with some kids (3 years and up, I'd think, who are still whining after trying other things) to try recording their voice when they are whining so they can hear it, and then record them saying it nicely so they can hear the difference. It is hard to tell what's going on with our voices, even when we are adults!
William Bronson
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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When my daughter cares over not getting her way, I tell her to stop, or go to her room until she is done.
The crying is her attempt to get her own way, usually after her arguments have proven ineffective. Being sent to her room isn't,t a punishment for her, it's a way to keep her from punishing the rest of us.
When she is done, she can come back and rejoin the rest of the family. It has taken a long time for my wife and I to get on the same page on this, and Mom still gives her more leeway , but it generally works.
Dale Hodgins
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Ann Torrence
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Nicole Alderman wrote: Being told what not to do is often confusing for little kids, but telling them how they should say it or act guides them to saying it right.

This is so true for all humans, young or old. If I think about it, it's true for my puppy. He got a lot better at not pulling on the leash when I gave the command slack and copious praise rather than no pull when he was doing it wrong. If you don't clearly point toward the desired behavior, it can quickly devolve into a "bring me a rock" game which can be so discouraging people just give up.

One of my friends used to use the phrase, "use your grown-up words, please" to counter the whining.
Dawn Hoff
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I am trying to learn non-violent communication because I find that I get my way far more effectively when I speak kindly to people and listen to their needs and consider them before I make demands - or actually try not to make demands at all but try to negotiate. I find that using punishment for expressing an emotion is not really helpful for teaching my kids to express their emotions in a constructive way... As Dan Bone says - when is it the parent's convenience and when is the child misbehaving? In my experience, there is no such thing as misbehaving - there are needs not being met (and one need may be tiredness - in which case the bed is a good solution), lack of information, and skills not learned yet. It isn't really different with adults, only with other adults I am not responsible for meeting their needs or learning skills - they are.

Learning to use non-violent communication with my kids teaches me to also use it with adults - because it is way easier to do with an adult where I am not emotionally entangled, and who aren't as much like me as my kids are - and it is far more rare that there is the same urgency in my dealings with adults as there is with my children.

If my children whine I try to figure out what they are trying to express "frustration" as your son so eloquently pointed out, "hunger", "fatigue" and find a solution - and I also state my needs "I need some quiet in my head for me to be able to help you so I need you to stop making that sound" for example. It has been easy with my son, since he is extremely vocal, my daughter is harder, because she isn't as strong verbally. I help her learn to put her emotions into words by guessing how she feels "do you feel frustrated?" "tired?" "angry?" etc.

I see it as just as important as learning to read, to garden etc. I myself have had problems with my negative emotions, because my mom has serious problems with negative emotions - I wasn't sent to bed but told to "come back when you can speak properly" and being ignored until I found the right polite voice to talk to her ind (which would usually include swallowing my anger). This results in my swallowing my anger until it erupts like a volcano... not a pretty sight... I think if we want a peaceful world we need to teach our kids to handle anger and frustration in a constructive way instead of sending it to bed...

A side benefit of this is that I learn how to voice my own needs and fin win-win solutions for the conflicts we have in our family - it is really more valuable than thousands of hours of therapy
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