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How to Stop Whining in its Tracks

By Christine Louise Hohlbaum

We have all been there. You have almost reached your goal of cooking lunch, checking out at the grocery store, getting to your destination in the car, and then you hear it: the long, droning whine of your child or children. For whatever reason (tiredness, hunger, bad mood), your child decides to nag, complain, and whine at you. No matter what you try (offering food, a nap, singing a song), the whining wont stop. Here are some sure fire ways to stop the whining in its tracks:

1.) Xs and Os: Take a piece of paper and draw two lines on it. Place an X on the first line. Explain to your child that for every tantrum he or she has, there will be an X. For good behavior, he or she will get an O. You can even put a smiley face in the O to reinforce the idea for smaller children. After the child gets a certain number of Xs, they will be punished (e.g. no friends over that day, no afternoon video, or whatever you deem appropriate.). If the child fills the line with Os first, he or she gets a reward. The first time I tried this approach with my daughter, she was so intrigued with the idea that her whining stopped immediately. By the end of lunch, she had started divvying out the Xs and Os to her little brother!

2.) Sunshine and Rain Clouds: This is similar idea to the Xs and Os which works very well on long car trips. Depending on how many children you have, make enough individual pictures of suns and rain clouds that each child has ten. Using a homemade chart, place each childs name on one line. For good behavior, the children are rewarded with a sun. For bad behavior, they receive a rain cloud. At the end of the trip, they get to choose a reward if they have more suns than rain clouds. Oftentimes, just the threat of a rain cloud nips the bad behavior in the bud. My cousin took a twenty-two hour car trip to Spain using this method with his two sons. It worked!

3.) Kindness Pillow: I have written about this method elsewhere. Take a fluffy, colorful pillow and name it the Kindness Pillow. Let your children know that it belongs to you, but you will give it to the child that shows kindness to others. Reward them with the pillow when you see them acting kind (helping set the table, sharing an apple, etc.). Oftentimes, both or all children are acting kindly to one another and then each gets a turn to hold it. This method not only teaches them what kindness means, but it also reinforces the life-long lesson of sharing and being kind to others. This particular approach is extremely effective in my household and has given us all something to smile about.

Effective discipline stems from love and kindness. What better way to teach your children these things than to weave them into your disciplinary methods? It has worked for my family. I hope it works for yours!
About The Author:
Name: Christine Louise Hohlbaum
Christine Louise Hohlbaum, author of Diary of a Mother: Parenting Stories and Other Stuff, is a freelance writer and busy mother of two. To date, she has been published in over forty publications.

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