Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My 3-year-old is the whiniest child I have ever met! It began almost a year ago when my son was born. She whines when he touches her toys, or his own toys, or a cup, or her! And then in the same whiny voice she has to give us a play by play of everything my son does throughout the day, “He’s touching the TV!” “He’s eating a Cheerio!” Please tell me this stage will end soon and what I can do to help this attitude out the door?
Dear Whiny Wanda,
I was immediately drawn to your question because, truth be told, it really sounds like my life. You see, I, too, have been accused of constantly whining. I whine when my kids touch their toys, I whine when my husband touches the TV and I really, really whine whenever someone touches a freakin’ Cheerio. Seriously, it doesn’t matter if it’s Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio or Merlot—I can’t go too long without whining or I get tremendously sad.
Wait—I just noticed your whining has an “h” in it, whereas my wining has a cork in it. Nevermind.
As every parent knows, whining can be maddening. And far greater childhood experts than I have tried to solve this problem and failed miserably. Every single one of them. Well, except for that doctor who advised mothers to blast lime Jell-O into a kid’s face every time he whines, but I think he later got blackballed by the AAP for being too radical and now he trains three-legged dogs in Cupertino. Not sure.
Anyway, it’s no coincidence that your daughter’s whining reached a fever pitch when Baby #2 came along. She had you just where she wanted you, then suddenly Mr. Cute Butt came along and she now has to compete with a younger, needier model for your attention. Experts call this the “Playboy Mansion phenomenon.” (Look it up if you don’t believe me.)
The number one thing that’ll make the whining go away is, of course, maturity, but in the meantime, you can try a few of these tricks:
— Tell her your ears don’t hear whining and ignore her until she speaks in a regular voice
— Talk to HER in a whining voice so she hears how ridiculous it sounds (husbands love this, too)
— Give her more responsibility or things that only “a big girl” can do to make her feel more special
— Buy ear plugs
Those tricks worked for me, for the most part, so give them a try. Of course, nothing will ever get a kid to completely stop acting like that. As my two boys have shown me over the past 10 years, whining to your parents is just a part of being a kid.
And that’s exactly why I do a little wining myself.