The Whining is Killing Us

The Whining is Killing Us

Whining is what experts call a “low-power strategy of dominance.” Kids do it because it’s what’s available to them. Since it drives parents bonkers, it’s remarkably effective. And it turns out whining really is as annoying as we think it is. A recent study tested whether adults (non-parents and parents both) were more distracted by whining than other sounds. The result? Everyone in the study, whether they had kids or not, found the sound of a whining toddler twice as distracting as the sound of a table saw screeching at full volume.
As effective as this "auditory sensitivity" is, no wonder most humans between the ages of two and four learn to take full advantage. Still, there are things we can do to make the whining bother us less, which will make it less effective, which will make our kids do it less, and look who's got a strategy of dominance now?
In this episode, we discuss the best ways to deal with whiners, and how to perhaps greet it with a bit more generosity. We might as well; we're probably stuck with it. As parenting specialist Bonnie Harris puts it:
"Whining is as developmental and normal in a toddler’s life as discovering the pleasure of saying “no." Don’t think about teaching your child not to do it. Do think about ways you can help yourself deal with it calmly and perhaps shorten its duration."
Here are links to research on whining that we discuss in this episode:

Bonnie Harris for Christian Science Monitor: Five parenting tips to put a stop to your child's whining

Dr. Guy Winch for Psychology Today: A Simple Trick to Get Your Kid to Stop Whining

Erin Leyba for Motherly: It’s science: Kids whine for a (very good) reason

Jonathan Allen for Reuters: Study: Child's whining one of life's most distracting sounds

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