child development, Child's Education, Relationships

4 Effective ways to Get Your Kids to Stop Whining

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It’s irritating, it’s frustrating and it gets on your last nerve. Though it’s obnoxious and unacceptable, it’s actually effective for your child to get your attention. It’s whining. But, like other bad habits, you can nip it in the bud early with a few simple strategies to teach your child there are other appropriate, effective forms of communicating with you.

  1.  First, try limiting the situations that trigger it. Avoid extra errands when the kids are hungry.  Don’t let them get involved in a frustrating game or project prior to bedtime. Pay attention when your child is talking, as sometimes whining is a reaction when a child feels you aren’t giving them your full attention. Praise them for not whining and talking in a normal and understandable voice that allows you to fully understand what they are saying to you.
  2.  When the whining begins, don’t overreact. Keep your response simple, calm and neutral.  Ask your child to repeat the request in a normal tone. When giving in seems inevitable, don’t delay. If you must finish the grocery shopping so you can put dinner on the table, for instance, and your child starts whining for a snack, offer something healthy right away.
  3. Once a limit has been set, parents should follow through. It’s imperative that both parents are on board with this limit and fully follow through when the whining rule has been violated.
  4. If you have an older child that’s developing a whining habit, suggest they come up with a solution to their perceived boredom or other voiced problem.  If you suggest possible alternatives, it might just prolong the child’s whining.

Sometimes whining can be the result of trauma and trouble in their life. A divorce, serious family illness or problems at school may be at the root.  Additional positive attention and quality one-on-one time may be just the medicine your child needs at a time like this. Your pediatrician can also suggest alternatives to curb whining should the positive attention and disciplinary actions be ineffective.


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child development, Relationships

The Keys to Effective Discipline

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Disciplining a child is one of the most important, yet difficult, roles of being a parent.  Effective discipline teaches a child to be self-disciplined later in life.  It helps your child grow up to be happy and well-adjusted. Effective and positive discipline teaches and guides children, and helps them to feel safe, secure, and valued.

Discipline should be based on a child’s age, development and temperament. A parent’s goals by disciplining their child is to protect them from danger, to help them learn self-control and self-discipline and to develop a sense of responsibility. 

Children should be respectful of their parent’s authority. If they’re disciplined harshly or unfairly, especially if it includes shouting or humiliating, will make it difficult if not impossible for a child to respect and trust their parent.

Parents must be consistent in their discipline. Discipline that’s not consistent is confusing to children, no matter how old they are. If parents are inconsistent in the way they discipline their children, children may find it hard to respect them. It can also indirectly encourage misbehaving and result in confusion and frustration for the child.

Discipline must also be fair.  Parents must make sure that the punishment fits the crime and doesn’t punish too severely or is too lax. The consequences of their actions should be related to their behavior.

In order to discourage bad behavior, give your child choices about what to do. He will appreciate the chance to make decisions. Make sure rules that protect the safety, health and well-being of your child are given top priority.  If your child is irritable, tired or upset, be understanding and try to help calm them. It’s important to keep in mind that bad behavior can sometimes be circumstantial.

Encourage positive behavior in your child by spending quality time alone with your child each day. Give your child hugs, cuddles or a gentle pat on the back, and give praise when praise is due.  If your child is angry or sad, try to understand why.  Teach your child good behavior by setting a good example and behaving properly and appropriately yourself.


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Relationships

“Because” Just Isn’t the Answer

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Children are inquisitive by nature.  When they are younger, it’s usually because they want to better understand something.  When they are older, it’s because they want to better understand why you think something is important and why they should also feel the same way.  Regardless of their age, it’s imperative that when setting forth the rules and expectations in your home, your child understands there is no room for questioning the rules you set forth and the consequences of breaking the rules.

Younger children usually do not understand a lengthy explanation of why it’s important that they be home from their friend’s home at a certain time or why they aren’t allowed to play ball in the house.  But the one thing they do strive to do most of the time is to make their parents proud and happy.  So when a young child asks “Why?” or “Why not?” when they are told they can’t play with something or someone or why they have to obey a rule you’ve set forth, simply explain to them that “because it makes me happy when you follow the house rules and do what I have asked of you.”

You should avoid using the term, “Because I said so,” as that only adds to the child’s frustration and confusion.

Older children, adolescents and teenagers alike will probably require more from your explanation.  When they ask “Why?” or “Why not?” it’s best to directly, honestly and clearly state your reasoning.  “I asked you to be home by 10 p.m. because we have to be at the dentist’s office first thing in the morning for your check-up and we can’t be late.”  It is also a great opportunity for you to reiterate the consequences of breaking the rule.  “If you are not home by 10 p.m., you’ll be grounded from going to your friend’s house for a week.” Be consistent, be firm, and be clear.

Though your child may challenge you by asking your reasoning why a rule has been put in place, it also shows their growth as an individual thinker.  So try not to get angry or frustrated when they do so; realize it’s their way of understanding their world around them.