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Whining: It Can Drive You Nuts

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A child's whine-that awful cross between crying and talking — can drive some parents to the breaking point. It grates like nails on a chalkboard and can push the buttons of the most mild — mannered and patient adult.

When Whining Starts and Stops

Whining first appears around age 2, when a child has the basic language skills he needs to ask for the things he wants. The subtleties of tone are beyond the child at this point. He'll combine a word with a cry just as he'll mix one with a giggle. Unfortunately, he quickly learns that whining often gets him extra attention.

For most children, whining disappears in a few years. By the time they are in grade school they have learned more sophisticated and more effective ways of getting what they want.

Still, the toddler and preschool years can be trying times for the parents of a chronic or even an occasional whiner. Let's take a closer look at what's going on when a child acts this way.

Why Your Child Whines

All children whine at some point when they are tired, hungry, or ill. In these situations, no amount of parental skill or psychological insight is as effective as a nap or a snack. This type of whining is an expression of just how emotionally or physically overwhelmed the child is feeling and reflects the child’s limited skills in expressing his emotions verbally.



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