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Many parents have theorized that there's a recessive gene that seems to be present in about 99 percent of young children: the whining gene.
If only DNA or some other scientific phenomenon could account for why so many of our kids resort to whining when they want something. And coming up with an effective coping strategy to pull the plug on whining can greatly improve your relationship with your child. On the other hand, coming up with the wrong one will only encourage more whining.
Experts say parents must exercise caution when their children resort to whining. If you mock or ignore them, this might enrage them. It's important to know WHY they are whining. If they feel it's the only way to get your attention, it's time to take stock of how much attention you're giving your children. On the other hand, providing positive reinforcement by "caving" to their requests will only encourage them to whine more.
Here's a selection of some of the best advice offered by members of the iVillage communities:
1. "I try to ignore whining, then I try to explain why my son shouldn't whine, then I cajole, threaten and finally... I whine!"
2. "My best advice: Let your 'no' mean no and your 'yes' mean yes. Giving in to whining just perpetuates the habit."
3. "If my children whine, I make it clear that I did not understand what they've said—even if I have. They soon realize that they must speak in an acceptable way (i.e. moderate tone and proper enunciation). When they speak in an appropriate way, they are acknowledged and addressed. When they whine, they are misunderstood and unanswered."