Are you tired of hearing your child whining about everything? Learn some tips on how to make your kid stop begging and complaining here.
In this article, you’ll read:
- Constant complaining personality disorder
- How to stop whining and complaining in children
Most parents have experienced this. Your child wants something and tries to get it from you by needling you endlessly. Sometimes, the whining even escalates to tantrums. This behavior is not just annoying. Left unchecked, this can lead to your child becoming entitled. But why does this happen in the first place?
“I want only the green cup,” my toddler would tell me. Out of the dozens of cups in the house, he only wants to drink on his green cup, regardless if he’s very thirsty and the cup is in the unwashed dishes.
He gets on my nerves sometimes. Like the time he wanted me to remain standing up as I carry him while he watches his 30-minute show, or how he complains that his older sister is not “playing properly” with him. He nitpicks everything, like the clothes he wants to wear, to only eating the whole parts in a cookie (God forbid there’s a tiny crack, he won’t eat it anymore).
From being a cute, angelic little baby, your child has turned into a bossy, demanding little fella who whines and complains and barks orders all the time. And as parents, we often wonder, what happened? Where did we go wrong?
Before you respond negatively to all the whining and complaining, it would be better to investigate first if there’s a reason behind their defiance.
Child whines and complains all the time? Here are some possible reasons
Angela Pruess, a child therapist and parent coach, reminds parents that despite their ability to annoy us sometimes, our kids aren’t fully aware that they are being difficult and they’re not doing it on purpose.
“These behaviors happen very quickly, and without a conscious decision on your child’s part, because just like you don’t strive to be annoying, neither does your child,” she wrote in her blog.
She also cites three possible reasons why a child whines and complains, and it mostly revolves on having their needs met.
As our children grow up and become more independent, they also need to know that you acknowledge their independence. They want to know that they are seen, that you hear them and value what they have to say.
“Every human has an innate need to be recognized and appreciated and this includes having their thoughts, feelings and desires heard and recognized by trusted adults,” wrote Pruess.
Whining and complaining can often be seen as attention-seeking behavior. Our children need our warm, consistent attention and if they think they’re not getting enough, their subconscious will prompt them to get it, whatever way possible. After all, you respond to them when they’re whining and complaining. And sometimes, negative connection or attention is better than none.
So when your child does it, you have to assess, maybe they just want to get your attention more than anything else.
3. Emotion regulation
Children, especially toddlers, struggle with regulating or controlling their emotions. They rely on us for help in this area. Whining and complaining can be a child’s “cry for help,” and their child’s final attempt to cope with being overwhelmed before they totally lose their cool and have a full-blown meltdown. In this case, we should take this as a cue that a tantrum is about to start.
Constant complaining personality disorder
However, if along with the constant whining and complaining, your child always seem irritable and fatigued, you may want to observe him further for symptoms of persistent depressive disorder or dysthymia. It’s a long-term form of depression that can be described as having a gloomy personality, constantly complaining or incapable of having fun.
How to get kids to stop begging and whining
However, if your child is just the usual kid who whines and complains short of having a tantrum, there’s definitely something you can do to lessen these episodes. Here are some ways to address and stop your child’s begging and whining.
As we have learned, our children may whine and complain to get our attention, or to know that they are being heard. So do just that. Take a moment to listen to what your child is trying to express and let him know your hear him. You don’t have to agree with everything he says, but you have to validate his feelings.
For instance, you can say, “I see you really want to go to the mall today to check on the new toy you’ve seen on YouTube, but kids are not allowed to go out yet so you can be safe. It sucks, I know.”
“Many times your child only wants to be heard and taken seriously and will then have a much easier time tolerating a ‘no’ or ‘not today buddy,'” said Pruess.
Teach self-regulation and problem solving skills
When your toddler gets out of control with complaining and whining, resist the urge to get mad and instead, model positive ways to react. As mentioned, our children rely on us to teach them about regulating their emotions. So take this situation as an opportunity to connect with them and tell them what they can do when things don’t go their way instead of complaining.
For example, you can teach him to take deep breaths, or even encourage him find a way to solve his troubles without whining about it. Just nudge him with a short but simple, “What are you going to do about it?” to get his mind running with a solution instead of a complaint.
Lessen your child’s screen time
According to Psychology Today, young children don’t have the cognitive tools to differentiate commercials and television programs, and so are much easier to reel in. Kids are also less likely to be able to tell the difference between advertising and reality, so it’s only natural that your child would end up begging for a toy that she recently saw on YouTube.
It is our job as parents to let them understand that not everything they see on TV or on their screens are real. Also, to see what messages these videos are sending our children, we need to be more attentive to them when they’re on their screens and monitor the kind of shows that they’re being exposed to.
Your child has to understand that no means no. Giving in will only let your child know that whining works. Your Tango shared some phrases you can use to tell your child that you mean what you say:
“Asked and answered.”
“I’m done discussing this.”
“This conversation is over.”
“The decision has been made.”
Statements like these let your child know that you’re in charge and that your decisions should be respected. But sometimes, just a “no” is not enough. If you want more than just compliance from your child, you can also consider what your child wants and if it is not harmful in any way, you can tell him that you can revisit the idea some other time.
Only pay attention to polite requests
Sometimes, what your child is asking for is perfectly reasonable, but the way he’s asking for it is not. If your child is begging for more water, tell your child that they would need to ask politely before you entertain their request.
Give an allowance and teach them about the value of money
According to BabyCenter, most parents start giving their child an allowance at around 5 or 6, while others wait until their kids are 10 or older. There is no “right time” to start giving your child an allowance, but when your child starts to understand that money can buy the things that they want, that means they are ready for an allowance. This teaches them to save and buy the things that they want for themselves.
Moreover, consider their constant whining and begging for things as a sign to teach them the value of money and hard work. For instance, if they are asking for a new toy, you can tell them why it’s not feasible for you to get it for them. “It’s not in our priorities right now.” You can also encourage them to work for it – they can do additional chores in exchange for what they want.
Stop buying unnecessary things
As much as we want to give our child all the nicest things in the world, it won’t be helpful in the long run as it can lead to entitlement. Not all trips to the mall warrants a pasalubong for your child. You can buy her food if you want, but keep it simple. Tell her about this practice that you’re doing so she will understand. You can even say that you’re saving up for something important, like a nice birthday present or a family vacation.
If she really wants something, you can tell your child that she can wait until her birthday, Christmas, or similar holidays. That way, she can learn to be patient, and you don’t have to make any unplanned expenditures.
If what your child is asking for is reasonable save for some conditions, you can bargain with him. If your child wants ice cream, for example, tell him to eat his vegetables. If he wants another toy but you think he has more than enough, tell him to give some of them away first.
Again, it may be difficult to respond calmly in this situations, but remember that what you do and say to your child will affect how he processes things in the long run. Instead of losing your temper and yelling at your child to stop, try your best to stay calm, connect with your child and use this situation as a teachable moment for your child to learn how to positively respond to challenges.
Anecdotes and updates by Camille Eusebio
Parents with Confidence,