Fussing and Whining
by Elizabeth Pantley,
The No-Cry Discipline Solution (McGraw-Hill 2007)
you ask parents to list the most frustrating discipline problems
during early childhood, you would find that these three items appear
on every list. All children master their own version of these behaviors
- every parent has to deal with them!
Most often these behaviors are caused by a child's inability to
express or control his emotions. Tiredness, hunger, boredom, frustration
and other causes that ignite The Big Three can frequently be avoided
or modified. When your child begins a meltdown, try to determine
if you can tell what underlying issue is causing the problem. Solve
that problem and you'll likely have your sweet child back again.
tantrums, fussing and whining
No matter how diligent you are in recognizing trigger causes, your
child will still have meltdown moments. Or even meltdown days. The
following tips can help you handle those inevitable bumps in the
road. Be flexible and practice those solutions that seem to bring
the best results.
You may be able to avoid problems by giving your child more of a
say in his life. You can do this by offering choices. Instead of
saying, "Get ready for bed right now," which may provoke
a tantrum, offer a choice, "What would you like to do first,
put on your pajamas or brush your teeth?" Children who are
busy deciding things are often happy.
When you make a request from a distance your child will likely ignore
you. Noncompliance creates stress, which leads to fussing and tantrums
- from both of you. Instead, get down to your child's level, look
him in the eye and make clear, concise requests. This will catch
his full attention.
him what you DO want
Instead of focusing on misbehavior and what you don't want him to
do, explain exactly what you'd like your child to do or say instead.
Give him simple instructions to follow.
Help your child identify and understand her emotions. Give words
to her feelings, "You're sad. You want to stay here and play.
I know." This doesn't mean you must give in to her request,
but letting her know that you understand her problem may be enough
to help her calm down.
the Quiet Bunny
When children get worked up, their physiological symptoms keep them
in an agitated state. You can teach your child how to relax and
then use this approach when fussing begins.
can start each morning or end each day with a brief relaxation session.
Have your child sit or lie comfortably with eyes closed. Tell a
story that he's a quiet bunny. Name body parts (feet, legs, tummy,
etc.) and have your child wiggle it, and then relax it.
your child is familiar with this process you can call upon it at
times when he is agitated. Crouch down to your child's level, put
your hands on his shoulders, look him in the eye and say, let's
do our Quiet Bunny. And then talk him through the process. Over
time, just mentioning it and asking him to close his eyes will bring
Children can easily be distracted when a new activity is suggested.
If your child is whining or fussing try viewing it as an "activity"
that your child is engaged in. Since children aren't very good multi-taskers
you might be able to end the unpleasant activity with the recommendation
of something different to do.
If a child is upset about something, it can help to vocalize his
fantasy of what he wishes would happen: "I bet you wish we
could buy every single toy in this store." This can become
a fun game.
Use the preventive approach
Review desired behavior prior to leaving the house, or when entering
a public building, or before you begin a playdate. This might prevent
the whining or tantrum from even beginning. Put your comments in
the positive (tell what you want, not what you don't want) and be
it's over, it's over
After an episode of misbehavior is finished you can let it go and
move on. Don't feel you must teach a lesson by withholding your
approval, love or company. Children bounce right back, and it is
okay for you to bounce right back, too.
with permission by McGraw-Hill Publishing from The No-Cry Discipline
Solution (McGraw-Hill 2007) by Elizabeth Pantley http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth