K.M. asks from Plano, TX on April 27, 2011
5 Year Old Boy Constant Whining and Sass
What do you do when your 5 year old boy sasses and whines constantly. Every little thing that I ask him to do (clean up toys, go potty, help with something like getting an extra wipe for baby, change into play clothes, put on sunscreen) turns into a major deal - it either gets an emphatic "no"/ "I will not" or a whining fit. We've tried ignoring him, or just giving a one-liner like "I know" over and over, but he gets so worked up and just goes on and on. What do I do? Is this normal behavior for a 5 year old? His sassy mouth is driving me nuts and he's not even a teen yet!!!
S.H. answers from St. Louis on April 27, 2011
I love what Nikki said about "the look".....once you have control - that's all you need to do! My niece is working on her Masters in Education & swears that she references me regularly!
Watch the "1-2-3 Magic" video. It will teach you how to discipline your child.
Another trick is to not present the child with an opportunity to say "yes/no". Give them a choice: do you want milk or water? do you want me to put on the sunscreen or would you like to? In situations like this, the child is offered an opportunity to achieve autonomy. If he doesn't make the appropriate choice & instead chooses to act out....then it's off to time-out until he can speak/act like a big boy. Be consistent with this & you'll see rapid results!
& just as a heads-up, last week I did the 1-2-3 countdown to my 14yo! The other mom present was hysterical!
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R.D. answers from Richmond on April 27, 2011
I disagree with Amy, ignoring works beautifully. My kids know whining will get them no where. Ignore it long enough, they realize it doesn't work, get bored, and move on to something else. I even tell MY 5 year old 'okay honey, that's enough, I'm ignoring you now'... she puts on a stink face and walks away to do whatever was asked of her. No amount of whining will make me change MY mind!! If it persists, helloooo time out. Now you get to sit there and think about how ridiculous you sound!
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K.C. answers from Dallas on April 27, 2011
Oh I thought I was the only one with a 5 year old boy that acts like that. I have figured out that my 5yo boy and my 3 yo girl both respond to MY behavior/mood. If I'm stressed or irritated; I tend to snap at them easier and it ends up in a full fledged melt down from them or me. Although I'm not perfect and every day is not a good day, I have found that positive reinforcement works so much better for him. He doesn't want to be in trouble, the new thing around our house is making mom's heart happy or their hearts happy. It works like a charm 95% of the time. He may persist at first and whine, but I get a lot further with him when I am calm ask him to help mom and be a good listener. Now my 3 yo daughter on the other hand is a different story. Some days it's meltdown city if i tell her she is making my heart sad and she will do whatever i ask, other days she looks at me like who cares...and she's only 3!
I guess my point to all this is; you have to figure out their personalities and what makes them "tick". I have 4 kids: 2step and 2mine; and all 4 are sooo different, so my parenting techniques are unique to each kid. I have no problem saying I have multiple personality disorder, because I have to deal with multiple personalities on a daily basis and I think I've become pretty darn good at it.
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