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Whining is Not Normal!

Jul 17, 2008
One of the complaints I often hear from parents and educators is children who whine. There seems to be something about the sound of a whiny voice that is like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Most parents and educators simply tolerate this behavior, not knowing what to do that will make a difference. You may believe whining is your child's way of expressing herself. You may feel that criticizing the way she speaks will affect her self-confidence and discourage her from talking. Still it is irritating...

When you look around, you notice other children whining also. You may have concluded that whining is something children do, especially when they are young. It may appear to be normal. However, because you have concerns about the whining behavior continuing into adolescence and adulthood, you may feel an urge to do something about it. Plus it is irritating...

Whining is a behavior pattern that a child learns based on his life experience. It can also be encouraged when others around him speak in this tone of voice. Whining is not "normal".

Whining is a form of self-expression that conveys feelings of powerlessness by your child. Children whine because they feel that some form of begging or subservience is required to get the adults to listen and to take action. They learn that this tone of voice
helps them be heard.

If you think about it, you'll discover that whining often works. Whining can be so irritating to you that you feel an urgency to do what your child wants rather than listen to the whining any longer.

Whining is a limiting behavior for your child. It is also a red flag that your child is out of balance emotionally. Perhaps she believes she cannot speak in her clear, powerful voice because when she tried it in the past, you reacted in a way that did not support
her. She doesn't know that she can speak in her clear, powerful voice and be heard.

In order for your child to speak in her clear, confident voice, she needs to know and trust you will respond compassionately. She needs this now and she needs it for her future. In the adult world, people who whine seem powerless and uncertain. They do not receive
the attention and respect they desire and deserve. This affects your child's ability to succeed in life and to have loving relationships with others.

When you allow something that seems as simple and commonplace as whining to continue, you undermine your child's future success and happiness. She develops beliefs and patterns of behavior that limit her emotional wholeness and her full self-expression.

Explore ways to change how you relate with your child so she can speak powerfully and clearly. Then watch her stand tall with confidence and enjoy the light that sparkles in her eyes.
About the Author
Connie Allen, M.A. of Joy with Children. Connie helps parents and educators who are unsure how to best empower their child. . For information on how you can nurture the joyous inner spirit of children, subscribe to her free e-newsletter "Joy with Children". Visit her blog.
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