If there’s one thing that I am, it’s honest. And I can honestly say, I’ve been struggling with Bug lately. He has turned into this whiny child and I hate it. Sadly, when I say lately, it is more like the past 6 months that he has been doing this. It started towards the end of my pregnancy with bee and just continuously got worse. Initially, he would whine when he woke up from his naps and didn’t see me which was abnormal. But, I convinced myself it was just a new phase for him that would surely pass. Boy was I wrong.
The whining when he woke up turned into him whining when he would ask for things, not get his way, when he was sleepy, or just whining period. I think I finally reached the point to where his whining was absolutely driving me crazy. Go figure! The good thing about this however, is that I finally believe that I am making some leeway and we are starting to move past it. This is perfect timing too because Bee is teething and I don’t know if my sanity would remain in tact if I had to deal with his whining AND her crying.
We’ve tried a few things together, some successful and some nowhere near. Either way, I am willing to try anything to move past this annoying phase in Bug’s life.
Things NOT to do while your kid is whining. . .
these are things I’ve done and realized weren’t the best idea.
It probably wasn’t the best idea to mock his whining. But when all you hear all day is whining, its inevitable. I hit the peak of my frustration and in that moment, when he whined, I looked him dead in his eye and said exactly what he said to me in an annoying whiny voice. You know what happened? It made him whine even more because it pissed him off.
It probably wasn’t the best idea to tell him to ‘stop whining’ either. Talk about counter productivity. Telling him to stop whining did exactly the opposite. And then he would respond at the top of his lungs “I CANT STOP WHINING.” Of course I wanted to respond, “of course you can, just close your mouth.” But who was I kidding, he wouldn’t even begin to comprehend what I was saying in that moment.
Also wasn’t the best idea to tell him to be quiet when he would whine. And if I’m being completely transparent, I wasn’t that nice when I would ask him to do so. I used a different vocabulary word that aligned more properly with my frustrations. I’m sure it went in one ear and out the other. A little note, it’s probably best NOT to talk to your kids when you’re completely overwhelmed.
When I started to see progression with the whining. . .
This only occurred when, and only when, I dealt with my frustrations first. It was important to realize that Bug picked up off of my energy. If I was angry or frustrated or emotional when dealing with him, he would give me the same emotions back tenfold. Kids are brilliant, so don’t ever doubt that they don’t know how you are feeling. Goes back to the happy mama, happy baby scenario that I discussed in the blog about postpartum depression. Once I got my feelings in line, I was able to deal with his whining bouts more effectively.
Outside of dealing with myself, I realized that instead of relishing in his act of frustration, I needed to redirect his focus. For instance, in the midst of his whining, instead of pointing out that he was actually whining I would encourage him to use his words to describe what he was feeling. Using phrases such as, ” I would really like to help you right now, but when you talk to me in that tone I have a hard time understanding.” Or even, “I need you to use your words to tell me what is going on.”
It may sound ridiculous to talk to your two year old in this fashion but trust me when I say, it helps. It went from whining and incoherent to slightly whiny but more actual words and sentences. A work in progress but at least I know he responds.
When redirecting his focus, I would also try to pay attention to the activity he had just been engaged in as opposed to what is happening in the now. An example would be him waking up from his nap and whining. On my end, I would focus on the nap that he just took. I would ask him how his nap was, if he slept good and what he dreamed about among other things. You wouldn’t believe how quickly he was able to turn off the whining when he was able to take control of the conversation. Proof that he could do it on a regular basis if he really wanted to.
Am I the professional Kid whisperer?
Absolutely NOT! This is a work in progress for me and I am still learning. Some days are easier than others for the both of us. But I am a strong believer that practice makes perfect and repetition influences behavior. As such, we will keep at it and I am tackling this huge mommy challenge one day at a time.
In addition, I’ve set small goals for myself in regards to handling this difficult time. I’ve began utilizing my coping skills (counting to ten, walking into another room, taking a few deep breaths with my eyes closed) during the height of my frustrations. And for Bug, I have developed a chart to show him the importance of utilizing his words (and I will gladly share with you guys if you’d like) as opposed to whining and crying. Every time we reach a milestone in this journey (hours, half days, days, weeks) without whining he gets to give himself a stamp. He really enjoys that part of it.
But trust and believe I am still pinning and googling trying to find what works and doesn’t work for whining. And yes, I am using my kid as the tester for these methods as I remind myself ‘this too shall pass’.
Any of you guys have tips on handling a whining toddler?
Please. I beg you. Share!