What's the Cure for Whining? (page 4)

By — Hand in Hand
Updated on Mar 17, 2011

Here’s how it can work:

I was playing with a mother and her nearly four year old boy, Joey, in the sandbox. A good friend of his, Sam, was also playing there, several feet away. Joey had played with a plastic construction helmet, and had put it down. He was busy with a tractor when Sam picked up the helmet and put it on.

Joey whined, "I want the hat! He took my hat!" He sat and looked at his mom, miserable. She got worried and said, "Do you want to go and talk to Sam about the hat?" and he whined, "I want you to go and talk to him. You do it." I invited the Mom to slow down the action, and indicated that she didn’t need to fix the situation. He was clearly unhappy, and mad, too. A helmet wasn't going to fix the feelings he was carrying.

She did slow things down. She said, "OK, Joey, we can go and talk to him in a few minutes, but not now." He was able to begin to cry. She didn't try to pick him up or comfort him--he wasn't going to let her get that close. But she did stay right there, looking at him, and giving him permission to show his feelings. He cried, kept saying he wanted the helmet, and then proceeded to dig his feet into the sand again and again, not kicking sand, but pushing piles of it away from him and toward his Mom. She listened. He cried and kicked some more. He cried and pushed at the sand for several moments, then he was finished. His face relaxed. He asked her to help him with some other project in the sand. He felt satisfied, and together, they continued playing. He didn't "need" the helmet any longer. And his requests from then on were direct and confident.



The mission of Hand in Hand is to foster healthy parent-child relationships that will last a lifetime. Parenting by Connection is Hand in Hand’s approach to fostering close, responsive relationships between parents and children. All information has been reprinted with permission from Hand in Hand, © 1997 - 2009 Hand in Hand.

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