Dear Dr. Rene,
I have three sons: ages seven years, five years and two months. We hear a fair amount of whining from the seven-year-old. We respond the way you suggest, “I can’t understand that voice. I’ll be ready to hear your regular voice in a few minutes. Please wait.” The tricky part is that the seven-year-old will still whine to get what he wants from the five-year-old, and the five-year-old usually gives in. How do we stop whining between siblings and peers?
Mom of three
Some of this is inevitable. Children bicker and whine and argue with their siblings out of range of you and there is little that can be done.
When you are present, you might take a more active role in coaching them to curb each other. This would mean stepping in and moderating the conversation, “johnney, did you hear the way your brother asked? It would be nice for all our family members to hear things in a pleasant way.” Then turn to whiner and say, “Johnney doesn’t like being spoken to that way. Can you find a nicer way to say that?” If everytime you can intervene and have them fix their voice and practice the better way, the whining should lessen. You might remind them over breakfast that the goal for the day is pleasant voices for all. You might have a nickel jar and anyone who whines at any time has to add a nickel. You might make it a competition, when anyone whines challenge who can come up with the highest number of nice ways to ask and let them practice.
I hope this helps.