How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Whine

Child begins whining about an offense (imagined or real).

Adult kneels down and listens to said complaint.

Child whines again.

Adult repeats complaint to child, thus demonstrating an amazing ability to understand and empathize with said complainant.

Child whines. Again.

Adult attempts to reason with child to stop the complaining.

Child whines. AGAIN.

Adult very cheerfully looks child in the eye and says “Red light!!” with great excitement.

Child hesitates, then continues to whine.

Adult repeats “Red light”, holding up hand.

Child hesitates again.

Adult quickly says “Green light! Whine some more for me!”

Child tries whine, but can’t help the tiny grin that is now threatening to grow.

Adult then alternates the commands “Red light!” and “Green light!” as needed.

If child begins to laugh, pin him to the floor for a good tickle and kiss-fest.

If child continues the whine more weakly, give him some pointers on how to improve his performance. Consider requesting more whining, or faster whining, or perhaps sadder whining.

When child starts laughing, refer back to prior instruction about tickle fight and kisses.

Finish off with some big hugs.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to defuse whining.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • Michelle (The Beartwinsmom) July 9, 2008, 4:19 pm

    ROFL… I love this! I usually tell the boys, “If I wanted whine, I’d get some cheese to go with it.”

    That usually stops it. 🙂

  • Wendy July 9, 2008, 5:27 pm

    Too funny, Amy!!!

  • Amy July 11, 2008, 10:08 am


  • Mary July 11, 2008, 2:39 pm

    Love it….ummmm could someone come over and tickle me? I feel reallllllly whiney today!

  • Amy July 11, 2008, 6:51 pm

    ROFL! Mary you crack me up.

  • horoskop November 28, 2008, 7:01 pm

    Well…This is very fany article. I just leafing….

  • Amy December 5, 2008, 2:47 am

    horoskop, thanks for visiting!