Whine Time

Thanks to everybody who wished my family well in the comments and via email. I’m glad to say, we’ve recovered from the swine flu. I’ve got a lingering cough and am still a bit tired, but otherwise, I’m feeling 100 times better than I was.

Now, on with today’s post.

My two year old son, E, is going through a whiney phase. When he doesn’t get his way, he goes from zero to 60 on the Tantrum Express in two seconds flat.

It begins as an “eh” followed by a louder “eh”

Followed by a constant barrage of increasingly louder “eh”s while pointing at what he wants (or wants to do) repeating:


Over and over and over and over until my head feels like rabid monkeys are cage fighting with ladles and aluminum trash can lids.

And it drives me nuts like few things on this planet can.

My wife defends E, saying that he’s going through a developmental phase, where he’s learning a lot and sometimes it’s too much to process and he reverts back to more infantile ways to express himself or to cope. She could be right, I know I sometimes feel like regressing to cope.

I don’t know what the hell to do when the whining begins. Because my instinct is to do whatever it takes to shut him up as quickly as possible. Since I won’t hit him, I try to reason with him.

Note: Reasoning with a two year old is like trying to reason with your average political talk show caller. It can’t be done. They already have their minds made up and there is NOTHING you can do short of giving them what they want to pacify them.

I try to ignore him but that doesn’t work at all. A two year old WILL NOT be ignored. Not as long as you have ears and he has a voice.

Ignoring him would be a bit easier if he didn’t get so easily upset. His cry is on a hair trigger alert. Not all the time, but a lot recently. And if he gets upset, he is likely to start breathing fast, snorting and then, all of a sudden he is puking all over the place.

Like a big giant puke sprinkler.

(note to readers: You’re welcome for that lovely image)

And since I don’t like whining and I REALLY don’t like cleaning puke, I probably give in too often. Even though I thought I would be the ultra tough disciplinarian.

So, any of you parent vets in the whining war have any tips or advice? Feel free to leave a comment.

For those who have not yet had kids, I leave you with this wonderful Public Service Announcement.

Like this post? Please consider tweeting it and telling others about it.

Want BloggerDad delivered to your email every time I post? Well, you’re not alone. Join the literally tens of others who have already subscribed for free! Email not your thing? That’s okay, you can also subscribe via RSS.

Content is copyright 2009 BloggerDad.com. If you are reading this on any site other than www.Bloggerdad.com or your personal RSS reader, then you may be reading it on a site which steals content. And a site like that is probably up to all kinds of no good.

This entry was posted in humor, parenting issues and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Whine Time

  1. Eric says:

    My 2 year old son will calm down when I go to his level and talk to him. My 4 year old daughter, not so much.

    She’ll be the one who gags from the screaming and yelling. I hate being mean, but I tell her she better not throw up. She doesn’t. With her, when I have time to deal with her bombs of baghdad, I keep putting her back in time out until she calms down.

    When I don’t (like when getting dinner ready, or the other kids ready for bed), I let her cry it out until she stops. I then talk to her and she apologizes.

    The funniest thing is, she’ll jump up and down screaming.. “I WANNA BEHAVE!!! I WANNA BEHAVE!!!”
    .-= Eric´s last blog ..Pretty Dang Exciting (10/24/09) =-.

  2. Marylin says:

    When Zack was like this I used to ignore him till he calmed down. Now that he’s 4 I put him in time out if he carries on his behaviour after a warning, and that usually works pretty well.
    Max on the other hand, has just turned two and is a cry-till-he-pukes kind of boy, although he’s not as ahead developmentally as your little E is, so if I walk out of sight he’ll calm down if he’s throwing a tantrum. Once his speech and understanding is there I have no idea what I’ll do to be honest!
    .-= Marylin´s last blog ..Weekly Winners: Oct 18-24 =-.

  3. So glad to hear you’ve recovered! Where do they learn to whine like that? It’s innate, isn’t it? While ignoring is the preferred method, or so I was told 20-some years ago by early childhood ‘professionals,’ I found this tactic super successful (meaning it didn’t stop the whining ALL the time, but it gave me an opportunity to set my terms and then be consistent about them, almost reminding me that I was the adult and could do so, lol):
    When the whining starts, get down at the child’s eye level. If s/he’s standing, then squat down so you are eye to eye. IF this is at the table, leave your chair and crouch by the high chair. If this is happening in the store or the car, stop (when safe to do so). You are using a little drama by setting the stage for your announcement: “Robin, look at me. You are using a whiney voice. You want me to do something. I am not going to listen to what you want me to do until you use your words.” And then get back to what you were doing and ignore if they persist. If s/he works into a full-blown tantrum, you can still ignore them, or (if not in the car) remove them from the situation with your tantrum techniques. You can choose to say this once or repeat the message like a mantra. Anything to help you remain consistent. It will seem like they continue forever, but remember you’ve just changed the rules of the game. It will take them a while to catch on. They whine because they can get a reaction out of you. If they can’t get one, they will move on to another charming technique, for which you can modify this response.
    Too funny, Eric, on the “I want to behave” chant! My daughter would literally dance herself into a tantrum, almost like a toddler version of the Latin hustle, back and forth, back and forth, revving herself up. I can laugh now. :D
    .-= Betsy Wuebker´s last blog ..LOCAVORES, MORE AND MORE =-.

  4. You could put down a 9′ x 12′ tarp in his timeout area.

    Seriously, find a moment when he’s calm and rational and then tell that he can get a sweet if he asks for it nicely (or poops in the potty properly, or puts his toys away). In other words, pretend he’s a dog and train him like one!

    About that video — I realize now what an opportunity I missed. My daughter could’ve starred in that commercial! Are there any parts for a sullen, pre-teen girl filled with loathing for her parents?
    .-= Square Peg Guy´s last blog ..What’s Your Dosha? =-.

  5. JJ says:

    Methods similar to this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uffJqLn8Rc) worked with my niece when she was about two. She’d start to whine or scream, I’d get down on her level and tell her that I could do better … and then show her :) she usually stopped whining and was either confused or thought it was funny. And shortly thereafter she realized that whining and crying didn’t really work with me.

  6. Snowbody says:

    The best method varies from kid to kid.

    I like the distraction method because it can defuse a lit bomb before it goes off.

    Physical removal from the proximity of the item he wants, followed by YOU playing with something that interests him. You have to do this early before he really gets into it, before he tunes out the rest of the world.

    Another method is talking to him that you understand that he wants something and you know he’s upset he can’t have it. Don’t try to reason; your sayso should be enough.

  7. Danielle says:

    Re-Direct! Hey, look at the plane. Oh, look at the big bug!
    Or, earplugs!
    .-= Danielle´s last blog ..The great the bad and the REALLY ugly!!! =-.

  8. Patricia says:

    I used Betsy’s technique with a great deal of success and a variation of – when you can say what you want in a “normal” voice, I will respond…
    I find it very hard to ignore….only one child threw up….I had her clean it up and the stain is still on the floor 23 years later, because it took over 2 hours for her to calm down enough to take action. It was a great lesson to the other two…

    I also set limits because being consistent was extremely hard with my third child and all her problem….I put masking tape down at the entrances to the kitchen and declared it a no whine zone. I would pick her up and set her outside the tape without saying a word – got a few kicks and head butts….oh well, that was corrected at another time.

    Learning NO is vital….I am still working on it for myself – my husband just leaves to avoid conflict/even when the kids were small…no lie…that took some counseling sessions to work out…
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Korny Zucchini Pizza =-.

  9. Kyddryn says:

    That video was priceless…ohmuhgoodness, that was funny…

    For whining, I don’t know what to say…I DO think it’s a phase, and I believe that giving in to the behavior only tells them how to get what they want most effectively. But making it stop? I don’t know that I made it stop…I may have simply outlasted it.

    Or I may be emotionally scarred form that phase and have blocked it from memory.

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K (who wishes you luck with this…)
    .-= Kyddryn´s last blog ..Perfect Love, Perfect Trust =-.

  10. Trina says:

    There is definitely credence to the inability to express himself appropriately based on the emotional/frustrated/tired state he may be at – learn to seperate that from him just learning how to play you. Make sense?

    Otherwise, I am a fan of ignore, distract, and ‘use your talking voice’ phrases. I made it a personal mission to NEVER cave to whining, one got it quickly, one still tests me at 12 – though the whining has turned into a sort of pestering of sorts – that’s when ‘NO is a complete sentence’ type phrasing become part of my battle plan hahaha.

    I will say, ‘I want’ syndrome is complicated, and I felt that teaching mine to reasonably ask for what they wanted instead of begging/cajoling/pleading (cuz thats what ‘I want’ turns into) would better serve them to get their desired outcome. That’s served us well, even though I have had to remind them. Oh yeah, that would be another thing, do expect to keep reminding of desired behaviour… while that may contradict what I said in the previous paragraph – we all have our own tolerance levels, and have to allow/adjust as our childs traits develop.

    So glad you are all well and safe after piggy flu invaded your family.

  11. David says:

    Honestly, I never thought I’d be the kind of parent who uttered the phrase “use your words” but that seems to be the best way to stop whining. My 2 year old does it when he’s frustrated and doesn’t feel like communicating clearly, so it sort of reminds him.

    Of course, he’s half-Jewish so whining will always be a part of his molecular makeup. Can’t be helped.
    .-= David´s last blog ..Gitmo Musical Torture =-.

  12. Angie says:

    Very funny video!!

    The whining phase is definitely one of the worst phases… ignoring works sometimes but not always. You need a few different techniques and try em all until you exhaust all avenues.. then just give in!

  13. Sandy says:

    I have to admit, when my daughter was 2 she would throw the tantrums of all tantrums, for about 20 mins. no kidding, I’ve timed it! I would sit and journal, but not give in, then later I would start with the time out until she stopped, I would tell her, in a calm voice, “You need to stay here, (I would put her on her or my bed) when you stop crying, you can come out to see me” She would cry for 5/10 more minutes, then calm down and walk to the door and call me. It took alittle bit, but it did stop when she knew I wasn’t giving in. It drove my parents nuts, they’d say, Just give her what she wants, I’d say “Sorry..but no” At 5 she’s still stubburn as hell, (don’t know where she got that from! Lol) but I try to compromise sometimes. Good luck

  14. Well I know I do not comment all the time but you are one of my favorite bloggers and I got all these awards and I have to pass them on. I wanted people to know how cool you are and how you helped me with my Thesis woes and so I have passed an award on to you. I wrote it last week and I am just now getting to telling you about it, but since you were sick I guess you wouldn ot have had time to check it out until now anyway.

    I am so glad you are feeling better!
    .-= Brittany at Mommy Words´s last blog ..DIY Play Kitchen – Who Needs Pottery Barn? =-.

  15. I second the comments that are about getting down to our kid’s level and sort of mirroring and echoing what they are expressing, in whatever primitive manner they eh eh eh it. One other thing to throw in the mix is the idea that kids (from newborns through about 27) give us not only their poop, vomit and later on attitude—they also give us their unwanted feelings. If we take a second to check in with how we feel (i.e. frustrated, unappreciated, helpless, angry, sad and exhausted) we will often get an excellent picture of what our child is not just trying to say, but trying to emotionally spill over into us because they simply can’t hold it.

    Hang in, Bruce
    .-= privilege of parenting´s last blog ..The ghost of parenting past =-.