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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1696
Experience:  Parenting Workshops, Teacher, PHD Clinical Psychology, 30 yrs. Exp. 4 Children
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My son whines every time he wants anything at all, and sometimes

Customer Question

My son "whines" every time he wants anything at all, and sometimes points at it. He knows the words for most of these things. What steps can I take to make him use the words he knows or ask nicer, instead of whining (or even crying) over every small thing he wants?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 4 years ago.
Hi and welcome

How old is your son?
That's important for me to know to answer properly!!!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Exactly 2 years old
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 4 years ago.
Okay, thanks,

Before you can even attempt to make him ask in a nicer way you have to get him to verbalize what it is he wants. Whining makes parents and people who are around the child cringe. There are a couple of things you can say and do to help him become more verbal.
If he is getting what he wants by whining why ask with words.
First, when he is tired don't attempt to this change. Wait until he is whining and alert . Tell him calmly, I can tell you want something and I want to get it for you but you have to use your words. He will then probably whine some more, ignore it. Wait 20-30 seconds and then ask him to use his words again. Smile or get down to his eye level when you do this. If he continues to whine...now this is the hard part....tell him that until he tells you with words what he wants you can't help him..all calmly....I know, painful for you.
Then if he doesn't use his words, starts to cry or keeps whining....tell him you are sorry but you can't understand whine and WALK AWAY.
Do not under any circumstance give him what he wants. It's hard to do when you are listening to him I know but it's the only way to get it to work. You have to be consistent with correcting this behavior, that's the key.
Okay, when he is tired and whining...well after you have practiced the above when he isn't tired you can use the same techniques and acknowledge to him that you know he is tired and it may be hard to say those words but try. Praise him only when he uses his words and before you know it, he'll stop whining and crying. One thing I tell parents is to use humor, tell the child "no whining is allowed" or no whining on my watch, have a short mantra that will help the child learn it's not acceptable to whine.
Remember if you get down to his eye level you will have his full attention. Smile at him, empathize with him, tell him that sometimes it's hard to use words, but don't give in! It will frustrate you for awhile but will work.
Now, he's 2 and it's time to pull out the discipline books.....if you want a great book that if you are consistent works great with kids from 2 up try 1-2-3 Magic, it's a book I use in my practice and give to parents who come in exasperated by their little ones. Again, consistency is key.
I hope this helps.
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Dr. Keane, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1696
Experience: Parenting Workshops, Teacher, PHD Clinical Psychology, 30 yrs. Exp. 4 Children
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