How to Get Your Child To Stop Whining

parenting Jul 17, 2023

When your child starts whining, it can seem like you’re Superman trying to ward off Darkseid or Doomsday’s attacks. Screams go up several decibels. Stomps rattle to floors and drywall. In the worst-case scenario, even the neighbors will feel the wrath of your whining child as your kid runs out the door screaming. 

No doubt, a toddler whining is one of the toughest things fathers need to deal with. Luckily, whining doesn’t have to be the norm for you or your child. By practicing these easy steps, you’ll know how to stop whining in a heartbeat — and by “easy”, we mean as easy as counting from one to six! 

Here are the six easy steps on how to stop whining. By the end of this, you’ll be able to stop the whining like the pro dad that you are. 

Let’s get started! 

1. Learn the “Why” in the Whine

Whining is a common behavior among kids, and it’s essential to recognize that they don’t actually want to darken our days with their whines. For the most part, whining comes from a desire for attention, or it occurs when they have unmet needs. However, kids — especially toddlers — struggle to communicate their needs and wants effectively. 

Think of it this way — if you were a two-year-old and spotted something like candy or soda, you’d probably want to get your hands on it. Unfortunately, you may not have the communication skills to tell your parents this at your age. Similarly, kids might whine when they’re tired or hungry, as their communication skills are still developing. 

As dads, we ought to look past the whining and understand the reason behind it. It’s our duty to figure out the reason behind the whine. 

2. Show Empathy

There’s a reason finding out your child’s trigger is step number one. Without it, you won’t be able to show your whining child empathy, which is step two. 

Now, a key thing to note here is the use of the word “show” and not “be.” Children are, for the most part, visual creatures, meaning they’ll respond to what they see. With this in mind, you shouldn’t just have empathy — you should show it. 

By showing empathy, you acknowledge both your child’s whining and — most importantly — the reason behind it. On a subconscious level, your display of empathy reassures your whining child that you understand what they need, and sometimes this is all it takes to stop whining in its tracks. 

There are several ways you can display your empathy. One is to simply say that you notice that your child is feeling a certain way. You can say something along the lines of: “I know you’re upset about not getting that cookie you wanted.” 

You won’t believe how effective this can be at dissipating your child’s whining behavior. However, let’s be honest here. Sometimes, it’s not enough. When this is the case, we move on to step number three. 

3. Don’t Give in to Whining — It Can Be a Trap!

Whining can put parents in fight or flight mode. Once a toddler begins throwing a fit, the parent will have one goal — getting the behavior to stop by any means necessary. Unfortunately, many parents give in to a whining child’s demands. While this stops the behavior at the moment, it reinforces a pattern that your child can exploit later on. 

It’s one thing to be empathetic; it’s another to give in. By giving in to your child’s whining, you’re telling your child that it’s ok to throw a tantrum since you’ll reward the behavior anyway. 

When your child begins to stomp and scream, acknowledge the feeling, but never fall into the reward trap. 

4. Reinforce Non-Whining Behavior

Expressing needs is to a child what the Force is to a Jedi. As dads, we love it when our kids use the Force for good instead of falling victim to the dark side of whining. 

When your child figures out how to stop whining and asks you for something, acknowledge the effort and give praise where it’s due. You can acknowledge and recognize the behavior with a simple:  “I love how you asked me for (-fill in requested item here-) without whining. I appreciate that!”

By doing this, you’re reinforcing non-whining behavior and teaching your child to express needs constructively. 

Of course, not every child gets non-whining communication right the first time. This is where your patience as a parent comes in. 

5. Give Your Child a Chance To Try Again

Everyone can get things wrong the first time, especially children. When it comes to reinforcing non-whining behavior, expect several trial runs. As soon as your children begin to show the early signs of whining, be aware, remind them that there’s a better way, and tell them to “try again.”

This approach shows them that their current method won’t work but offers an opportunity for improvement. Don’t be disheartened if it takes several tries. As they say, with patience and persistence comes habit. With time, you’ll guide your children toward using their powers of communication effectively.

6. Show Them How It’s Done

Sometimes, children need examples to follow. That’s where you come in. 

As dads, we should show our kids the right ways to communicate needs. When they aren’t whining, take a moment to demonstrate the difference between a whining voice and a regular, polite voice. 

Use examples like, “Hey Dad, can I please have a cookie?” for the polite voice and, “I want a cookie; why don’t I ever get a cookie?” for the whining voice. 

This simple demonstration can help them grasp the concept better. 

They might not lose their whining voice immediately. However, with consistency and guidance, they’ll gradually learn how to stop whining and communicate better in the process.

Win the War on Whining

Understanding your whining child, showing empathy, and reinforcing positive behavior are all essential techniques in your parenting toolkit. Practice each with your whining child, and you’ll have your child’s tantrums under control!

If you want to delve deeper into these techniques, check out this fantastic video on “How to Get Your Child to Stop Whining” at Dad University. It’s a game-changer for dads everywhere!

Go forth, fellow dad! Get out there and win the war on whining!

Watch the "How to Get Your Child To Stop Whining" video here:

Enjoy this article?
Get unlimited access to Dad University

The #1 educational platform for dads. Join our growing community of fathers from around the world!

Become a Member