How to Respond When Your Kids Are Whining

I doooooooon't waaaaaant toooooo.
I waaaant another cookieeeeeee.

Whyyyyyy can't I? Pleeeeeaase?


It's one of those parental triggers which can seem impossibly difficult to deal with because of how quickly it activates our stress response. 

Whining can get your adrenaline pumping, and suddenly your innate ability to cope dwindles with every shrieky demand and objection to your limits and attempts to empathize.

Add a bit of logic, debate, legitimizing, or trying to rationalize away the hysterics, and you'll drive yourself directly to the Summer Whine Fest. So what do you do?

Like all behaviors, whining sends a message.
It is --

  • A call for help.
  • A need to discharge stored emotions or stress.  
  • A need to feel our sadness until the moment passes.

When you react to whining with anger or a disconnected sense of firmness, where you demand words and the "big girl voice" or even mimic the behavior back to your child in pursuit of some expected behavioral goal - you increase the tension.

I know it's unconscious, but it's also counter-productive to raising a thoughtful and self-regulated child.

If you plead or demand that this - extraordinarily unpleasant - but age-typical emotional expression stop before offering care, attention, or help - one of two things will happen:

  1. the child will whine MORE as increased stress heightens the intensity of the emotional energy.

  2. the child will SHUT down emotionally and hold the stress and feelings for diffusing later in another situation, perhaps more aggressively.

I know you want to stop the whining. In this TEACHable Moments video, I am sharing my top three tips to make sure whining doesn't stop you from being emotionally available for your child. Have the "whine" but let it breathe. (Tweet it!) 

After you watch, I'd love to know which tip you are going to try first or maybe you have a gentle suggestion which can help others respond when their kids are whining. 

Leave me a note in the comments and share your thoughts with our community.

Thank you so much for watching and sharing and please remember, it's about being conscious - not perfect!

Talk soon,


More resources:
EFT - The Official Website
EFT Universe


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