7 Magic Words to Stop Whining in its Tracks


Whining. It’s like a kid’s rite of passage. As a mother you’ve heard it in all forms.  They whine because they wanted the red cup, not the blue cup.  Or because they are hungry, thirsty or sleepy.  The opportunities for a child to whine are endless, and as a parent it becomes exhausting putting out fires left and right.

Bless my darling husband for coming up with a technique for stopping whining in it’s tracks! It takes some patience and dedication to get rolling, but with these 7 magic words you too can put an end to whining as soon as they start. 


So, what are these magic words you ask?  You simply ask your child, “Is that a problem, or a solution?”

The first step of course, is teaching your child to identify the problem.  Talk to your child about what it means to have a problem.  Tell them that a problem is something that they need or need help with.  Once your child grasps the idea of what a problem is talk to them about what a solution is and how to identify what solution will easily fix their problem.  Run through examples.  For instance, when you hear them whine “I’m thirsty”.  Simply ask them “Is that a problem or a solution?”  Help them realize that the problem is that they are thirsty, but the solution would be to ask for a drink. 

We have been using this technique for several months now, and my daughter is able to immediately, upon us asking “Is that a problem or a solution,” rephrase her whining to ask for what she needs.  For example, a typical exchange between us now goes:

My daughter: “I’m hungry!” (Whining)

Me: “Is that a problem or a solution?”

My daughter: “Can I please have a snack?”

Sometimes in fact, my daughter will jump straight to the solution and ask for the help she is needing without whining.  The amount of whining in our house has definitely decreased since starting this technique.  As an added benefit, not only has whining decreased, but it has also encouraged manners and self-discipline

Children are going to whine.  It’s inevitable as they learn to control their emotions while exploring independence.  As a parent the most important thing we can do is respond to whining instead of reacting.  While I sometimes struggle with this, my husband happens to be great at it.  When he started using this technique with our daughter I was amazed with how quickly she grasped the concept and learned to appropriately control her emotions and ask for what she needed. 

If you are at your wits end with whining.  I highly suggest that you give this technique a try with your own children.  I can’t promise that you will never hear them whine again.   I can however confidently say that it will decrease the amount of whining you hear while fostering the positive behavior you are looking to teach your children.


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