Editor’s note: The question had to be to be asked at least twice, because I’ve asked it at least a hundred times since I’ve had kids. I only have 2 boys- neither or even old enough to go to school full time- and they are both MASTER WHINERS!!! And the notion that girls whine more than boys is a complete and total MYTH.
If you have one of these whiners living in your house, this is not a post you’ll want to skip.
Here’s what my favorite Parenting Expert, Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions has to offer on this common question (yea, just getting really repetitive now)
WHY DO KIDS WHINE?:
Because we, as parents provide a PAYOFF! When kids whine – we DO SOMETHING and that something offers a payoff that makes the behavior continue.
When children whine, cling or display other annoying attention-seeking behaviors, they are trying to achieve a particular goal, or payoff. These irritating, frustrating, maddening behaviors are actually symptoms of a deeper issue.
All humans are hard-wired with two basic emotional needs – attention and power. The whining and attention-seeking behavior the whining child is displaying is intended to fulfill those two needs.
They get results
We also have to remember that children only continue behaviors that “work for them.” That is – they continue behaviors that get results. For a child who whines, clings and displays attention-seeking behaviors, she realizes that “Hey, this is a pretty effective way to get them to pay attention to me” or “Hey, this is a pretty effective tactic for me to get my way”…the child learns that whining provides a payoff. This behavior – if left unaddressed – will continue well into the teenage years.
Every time you pick up a whining child you’re providing a payoff for the behavior. He doesn’t hear your frustrated tone or your annoyed remark. He only knows that whining got him what he wanted. Parents essentially “train” their children that if the child is persistent with their whining, they will eventually get their way. This behavior “works” for the child and so she continues it. When this happens, the parent typically responds by picking up the child to make her stop, or, they respond with a reprimand such as “don’t hang on me”, “don’t be so whiny”, or even “I’ll give you something to cry about.”
Better than nothing
Whether the adult response was positive or negative, it fulfilled the child’s need for attention, and therefore the behavior resulted in a payoff. As the frequency of the whining and clinging increases, the parent’s response is almost always a negative reprimand. The child really wanted positive attention; but negative attention is better than none at all. And the cycle continues…whine/cling –> adult reprimand –> attention basket filled with negative attention –> child repeats (“maybe if I keep doing this, I’ll eventually get the positive attention I need) –> parent repeats with negative reprimand, etc.
Here’s the deal…children WILL have their needs for attention met – one way or another. If we don’t fill their attention baskets in positive ways – they will use negative attention-seeking behaviors. They know this works!
What kind of attention are you putting in YOUR kids’ basket?
Amy McCready is a wife and mom of two teenage boys. She founded Positive Parenting Solutions, Inc. in 2004 and developed the popular and successful Breakthrough Course that has changed the lives of thousands of parents through in-person seminars, speeches and online parenting training webinars. For more parenting articles and tips like the one above, visit Amy’s blog.
Definition of a “crazy” person: Someone who does the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Definition of a crazy parent: someone who does the same thing over and over again with their children, but doesn’t understand why there are NO results.
My definition of crazy “entertainment” is a TV show like Supernanny, which engages viewers by showing frustrated parents dealing with out of control children. But all ends well after Nanny Jo Frost swoops in, and by the time the credits roll, she has transformed the desperate parents’ bad habits that led the family to be “crazy” enough to even qualify for reality show casting.
But not everyone has access to a Reality Show superstar.
You just need the craziness to stop… because you may very well be close to losing your mind.
Enter Amy McCready
My friend Amy McCready is the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, Inc., and has been invited onto the Today show, Rachael Ray, MSNBC, CNN, etc., to share her tips on empowering both parents and children to change their bad behavior into positive behavior.
I’d been eagerly awaiting the publication of Amy’s book If I Have to Tell You One More Time… and now that I’ve read it, I can tell you that it’s everything it promised to be: a step-by-step guide on how to parent “without nagging, reminding or yelling”, (yep, I’m guilty of all three.) Amy’s book is an easy-to-read, easy-to-use “toolbox,” filled with ideas on how to avoid repeating the same mistakes that can turn you into a “crazy” parent.
Everything is covered here, from misunderstandings to meltdowns, and she not only presents new ideas but also offers new insights into methods that simply don’t work anymore. Amy makes a good case that the “Time-Out” for example, which has become hugely popular, isn’t as effective as we all think it is.
Amy’s approach is to avoid the “self-defense” mechanism that gets triggered in kids, which leads to defiance, arguments and the inevitable “power struggle” (which leads nowhere at all.)
Amy’s latest book focuses on the central idea that every human being has a basic need to feel powerful-with children being no exception to the rule. And when this need isn’t met in positive ways, kids will resort to negative methods, which often result in some of the most frustrating behavior they exhibit. If I Have to Tell You One More Time…provides the knowledge and tools parents need to address the deeper issues that inspire their children to misbehave.
Amy doesn’t just offer up the theory behind the method; she provides practical information, including:
- 23 proven tools with step-by-step instructions on how to use them, when to use them, and even the words to say.
- Real-life examples of common misbehaviors, and how to address them
- Quizzes to help parents discover their parenting style and unconscious habits
- Answers to frequently asked questions from parents
Simple and concise, this revolutionary program will help you navigate the inevitable challenges that all parents encounter. Whether you’re dealing with a willful two-year-old or a power-seeking twelve-year-old, If I Have to Tell You One More Time… provides the tools that parents need in order to raise respectful, well-behaved, and well-adjusted children.
Read this book and rediscover the joy of parenting!
In case you haven’t noticed, “Less is more” is not only economical, it’s the latest trend. With good reason. With the unsteadiness of the economy people are beginning to feel more comfortable with those who are also behaving with frugality. Your clients want to know that you appreciate the need for living within tighter budgets and that their hard earned dollars are not supporting frivolous spending or unnecessary expenses for flashy arrogance.
Where the high rise office in the business district once may have appeared impressive to clients, it now may appear unmindful to the financial challenges of our current society. Setting up your place of business in a home doesn’t necessarily indicate a flailing business as it once did, but instead, it indicates common sense and that the business is smart for making the choice to conserve.
We are a quickly evolving culture, and the one thing that we all have going for us is the ability to empathize with one another. It’s the primary reason we need to make the decision to support those who have chosen to provide products or services out of their home. Small businesses need you as much as you need them. By working together and utilizing our power as consumers, we can rebuild an economy that works in our favor.
Parents, our generation is not over, it’s just beginning!
We are radically reshaping the world we live in, not only by creating new business practices and the economical climate, but for the first time in decades, thanks to the booming home business trend, our children have the opportunity to watch us in our professional elements.
An effective and innovative way to educate, today’s youth is no longer oblivious to what will be expected of them once they hit adulthood. For this reason alone, it is important that we embrace, and not deny, the human condition and all the emotions that go along with it.
Our children have the opportunity to experience first hand how acting with courage will reward us at the end of each day, and that the reward is not the money, but the journey itself. By maintaining at home presence, they are able to see the importance of having courage and perseverance without the vulnerability.
It’s important that our children fully realize the pride that comes with being able to behave fully human.
Everything worthwhile comes with hard-work and tenacity. Nothing is a guarantee in life, and furthermore, it’s simply not healthy to live with a false sense of entitlement. Besides, those who have earned greatness appreciate it the most.
Now go make the world a better place!
Most moms are very familiar with all of the Halloween safety tips, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to review them for yourself and of course, review them with your children.
You may be surprised to find out that tainted candy is NOT the number one safety concern at Halloween…experts at a children’s hospital say the biggest hazzard is traffic, not tainted candy.
Doctors at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, advise parents to accompany their children while trick-or-treating and remind them to walk carefully, stay on sidewalks and cross streets at crosswalks or well-lighted intersections. Parents should take along a flashlight but try to get home before dark.
Other safety tips include those for costumes, trick or treating and candy. Here are some for your and children to review:
- Hem costumes so you don’t trip and fall
- Use only hypoallergenic or non-toxic make-up
- Try to wear make-up instead of a mask as it allows for greater visibility
- Keep costumes and wigs away from candles
- Swords, knives and other props should be make of flexible plastic so they are not hazardous
- Never eat candy until it has been home to be inspected by a parent
- Only eat homemade treats if you know and trust the person that made them
- Throw out candy or treats that are homemade, unwrapped or if they appear to have been tampered with (pinholes in wrappers, torn wrappers, etc.)
- For small children, remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys
Trick or Treating Safety:
- Children should be well supervised and with an adult while trick or treating
- Add some reflective tape to costumes and/or candy bags for good visibility
- Carry a flashlight
- Only go to well-lit houses
- Follow traffic signals
- Drive extra cautiously
- Avoid short cuts…stick to the sidewalks and stay out of alleys
- Stay in familiar neighborhoods
- Watch for cars backing up out of driveways or turning
Trick or Treating Safety Especially for older kids:
- Never accept rides from strangers
- Be polite: always say ‘thank you’
- Don’t trample flower beds…stay off lawns…stick to sidewalks and walkways
- Don’t approach unfamiliar pets/animals
- Stay out of backyards
- Respect other people and thier property
- Report suspicious activity to the police
- Never go into a stranger’s house
- Make sure your parents always know where you are and who you are with
- If you are driving…make sure you have enough gas…don’t run out on a dark street
- If your parents give you a curfew…follow it…it builds trust
- It is NEVER cool to vandalize
- It is NEVER cool to hurt an animal
- Be sure the dogs are restrained
- Be sure obstacles are removed from walkways
- Be sure your home is well-lit
And for everyone…please do not drink and drive. Here in Colorado the police will be out in force this weekend watching for drunk drivers. I would be it’s a common occurrence nationwide. Get a designated driver or a cab…it is not worth it EVER to drink and drive.
Be safe and have a very Happy Halloween!
Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.