‘Now when my daughter starts whining, I hold her. Sometimes it takes ten minutes, but then she tells me when she’s done, and goes off. It seems to ground her. It grounds me, too.” – Kelly
Kelly put it beautifully — when we reach out to hold a whining child, we really are like a lightning rod, helping our child to ground herself. Once she’s restored to a state of balance and well-being, she no longer needs to whine.
Whining can drive any parent crazy. It’s tempting to tell them we can’t listen until they use a more grown-up voice. But kids aren’t grown-ups, and their whining is a plea for help. Quite simply, children whine when they’re overwhelmed. They need to borrow our calm love so they can self-regulate.
Kids aren’t grown-ups, and their whining is a plea for help. Quite simply, children whine when they’re overwhelmed. They need to borrow our calm love so they can self-regulate. @DrLauraMarkham (Click to Tweet!)
Ten minutes can seem like a big investment of time when we’re rushing to get something done. But if you don’t take this time to address the root of the whining, your child will almost certainly still be whining in ten minutes. So you can spend this ten minutes peacefully, or irritably.
Besides, at the end of the day will you even remember what you were rushing to do? But you will see the difference in your child’s mood, level of cooperation, and connection with you.
Here are ten benefits you automatically get from this simple ten minutes:
- You help your child restore her sense of inner balance in this moment so she no longer needs to whine.
- You help your child learn how to restore his own balance in the future, when you aren’t around to help.
- You teach your child that we can always find our own inner well-being by reconnecting with ourselves in the present moment. When we don’t learn this, we tend to look instead to food, alcohol, technology, etc to regulate our inner state.
- You refill your child’s cup so the rest of his day unfolds happily.
- You help her cry, if that’s what she really needs to do.That’s a good thing. After she cries, she’ll feel so much better, which means you’ll have a better day, too!
- You help him empty his emotional backpack so he’s less anxious, more flexible, and more joyful.
- You strengthen your relationship with your child. That’s what restores the joy to parenting!
- You help your child know you’re on her side which makes her much more likely to cooperate, to trust you, and to tell you the truth.
- You strengthen your empathy for your child, which is what helps you raise an emotionally intelligent child.
- You ground yourself. Think of it as enforced meditation.
Now, that’s what I call ten minutes well-spent. In fact, even if your child isn’t whining, you may want to initiate a long snuggle!
Dr. Laura Markham, founder of AhaParenting.com and author of The Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids Workbook, Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How To Stop Yelling and Start Connecting and Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life.
Image courtesy of ast25rulos.