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Five parenting tips to put a stop to your child's whining

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Jim Bourg/AP

(Read caption) Five parenting tips to help put a stop to the whining in your house. From infant to adolescent, whining is a normal stage of development, but the way you handle the situation can mean the difference between conflict resolution and misery. Too bad President Bush doesn't read Modern Parenthood – we might have helped him better handle this baby handed to him during a state trip to Germany.

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I’ve never met a parent who likes – no, is even OK with – whining. For me it was like nails on a blackboard. Many parents don’t know of another torture that would be worse.

Whining is as developmental and normal in a toddler’s life as discovering the pleasure of saying “no." Don’t think about teaching your child not to do it. Do think about ways you can help yourself deal with it calmly and perhaps shorten it’s duration. Here are a few:

Don’t call it whining. It’s very hard to talk to your child about whining without being critical and blaming. “Stop whining.” “I can’t hear you when you’re whining.” These proclamations will not get you what you want. It may only make it worse.

Make a compassionate association when you hear it. Can you instead think about how frustrated your child is feeling – even if it’s over something you won’t allow. I once heard Aletha Salter say that whining is stuck crying. A child who whines is actually trying hard not to cry so the cry gets stuck. Sometimes validation of the frustration will bring on the crying which eliminates the whine – for now.


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