Whining. How to deal.

Updated: Jan 16, 2019

WHINING. Big ol' capital "W" - WHINING.

Definition: to give or make a long, high-pitched complaining cry or sound.

Our kids can be joyous and fun, but let's be real. There are many times where a small action can have them breakdown. Deliriously cry for unknown, unnecessary reasons.

Most times this happens for really small reasons like they don't like how they've tied their shoe laces. Or maybe their favorite t-shirt has a tiny water stain. This is where we parents lay mind blown 🙇🏽‍♀️🙅🏽and overwhelmed with impatience. Our children simply can't handle the situation and burst out in an embarrassing whine.

For my own personal enjoyment here is a list of some of the REAL reasons why my son has whined in the past. I'm confident you have a million more to add, would love to hear them. Cheers if you can relate!

  • wet hands

  • wet shirt

  • anything wet

  • brother has a toy that's red

  • he has a toy that's red

  • Lila (our dog) steals his marker

  • there's ketchup on his eggs

  • there's ketchup on the side of his eggs

  • the ketchup is NOT on his eggs

  • there's not enough ketchup

  • his brother finished all the ketchup

  • his jacket zipper is stuck

  • his navy blue sweater is dirty

  • his brother looked at him

  • I put his egg on top of his avocado toast

  • his dog licked him

  • his dog stole his Lego creation

  • the Apple Jacks are stale

  • he has Apple Jacks and not Cheerios

  • he forgot his socks, and refuses to wear his shoes without them

I can go, on and on. Anything makes my child whine/cry. My siblings tease that he'll be 28 and still living with me.

But the million dollar question is: how do/should we deal with whining?????

In the beginning of time, not knowing what I was dealing with...I'd cave in. I'd give options. I'd suppress the whining moments with .... "Do you want to wear the blue shirt or the gray pizza shirt?" "Mini wheats or pancakes?" "Shorts or pants?" "What do you need Austin!!!!!!??????"

No matter the situation, there was a negotiation. Sad, I know. Little did I know that I was creating a bad habit. Subliminally, he now understood that whining would trigger angsty mom with an array of options for him.

I always took the time to stop and acknowledge his crying (if it appeared something was legitimately wrong).

Quickly, I learned there had to be a better way then to react and give in every time.

Experts say: define it, acknowledge then ignore it.

Jane Nelson author of Positive Discipline for Preschoolers states, "Children do what works, and a whiner is looking for a response — any response."

If we quickly respond EVERY.SINGLE.TIME they cry, guess what that message reveals?

Yep...mom is going to answer my every beckon call. This is something I'm totally working on now.

So, parents. Let's polish our patience hats and man/woman up when it's time to handle the WHINING extravaganza. Let's acknowledge their needs but give 'em tough love by walking away when they need to just cry it out.


Somewhere in the world, another parent is dealing with their child having a breakdown over gravel in their shoes. We all face similar challenges in different ways. Be kind to your fellow mom/dad. Parenting is not easy. Remember this if you see another parent at Target trying to manage a mental breakdown 😉.

Carry on and have a fantastic day!

This might have been a real accident situation. Hurt himself with the scooter.

Whining that his cousin and brother are teasing him.

Whining and angry that his brother took his stick.

Whining because his brother won't share the scooter.

Whining because I teased him that he's whining.

Note: I wrote this blog purely from 9 years of experience and I AM NOT an expert.


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