48 answers

Help with Whiny 7 Year Old

Please help! My husband and I are at our wits end with our 7-year old daughter. She has become excessively whiny. Anything that she is asked to do and she doesn't want to, she starts the crying/whiny thing and at times even ends up on the floor kicking and whining. We have tried everything, time-out, sending her to her room, spanking, taking away playtime with friends etc. She gets so upset and dramatic she can make herself sick. This behavior is saved for us only. She is the model child at school and with relatives. She could be the poster child for good behavior everywhere else. I thought maybe she was jealous of her 4-year old sister, but there are many times we are trying to do something for just the 7-year old and she starts this. The school counselor has suggested the book "Love and Logic", has anyone read it? I read some of the reviews and googled one of the authors, Cline, and now I have reservations about the book. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.

4 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks again for all the advice. I haven't bought the book yet, but am incorporating a lot of the ideas you all have sent. I have also given her an earlier bedtime, which seems to be helping alot, too. Thanks again!

Featured Answers

I love Parenting with Love & Logic. We are presenting the parenting class at Summitt Elementary in January if you are interested. Its just good, solid, parenting.

1 mom found this helpful

This works for my 9th grade students as well as my 2 and 3 year old kids...When they whine or complain, I say..."is someone whining? I don't hear you when you whine." Then I ignore them completely until they can ask nicely.
You have to be tough and consistant, though!!!! Good luck!

It looks like you have a lot of good advice here--please forgive me if I repeat something you've already heard. It sounds like punishments aren't working at this point, so perhaps it's time for positive reinforcement. Sticker charts, a prize box, choosing a favorite meal, etc., etc., when she goes for 'x' amount of time without whining or having a fit. I find that reinforcing the behavior that I WANT my child to display is a more effective method than punishing the negative behavior. Sometimes all the child really wants is attention, and even negative attention will serve to reinforce the negative behavior. The other idea that I saw someone else has already written about is simply ignoring the behavior. Some parents have patience for this, others don't, so you have to be the judge, but generally if she isn't getting the attention she wants, the behavior will change. Finally, just realize that this too shall pass! Children go through a lot of ups and downs throughout all of the developmental changes they experience, so it sounds like she is going through a 'bumpy' stage right now. You will probably look at her six months from now and realize 'Hey! She's back to being her normal happy self again!' One thing I've learned after having 3 daughters is that the phases do pass, so we just have to weather the storm. Good luck!!

More Answers

In case you find that Love and Logic either does not resonate with you or does not work on your child, here are some other resources you may enjoy investigating:

The No Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley

Beyond Love, Logic and Consequences by Forbes and Post

Raising Children Compassionately: Parenting the Nonviolent Communication Way by Marshall Rosenberg

Kids, Parents and Power Struggles by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

The Explosive Child by Ross Greene

I'm a parenting consultant, and many parents have told me that these resources have been powerfully effective when consequences alone did not stimulate lasting and positive changes in behavior. Some kids seem to need more help than others figuring out more socially appropriate ways to communicate and accomplish their goals...

4 moms found this helpful

Love and Logic is a great book. One of the suggestions in it is one that we use with our children, a 7 year old boy and a 4 year old boy: when they begin to cry or whine, we say 'I cannot understand that voice. Take a breath and tell me what is going on.' We just keep repeating it until they calm down. It actually works very effectively. We also have a very simple rule in our house: If you throw a tantrum about something, you automatically lose that something -- no ifs, ands or buts.
Hope this helps. Best wishes, Jenny

2 moms found this helpful

Hi, I hope things are going better for your family now. I read all of the replies Heather F.'s gave a good clue. She said the unwanted behavior often happened when she, herself, was already stressed. It (the stress part)reminded me of an incident that happened when our second son was two years old. We were in a small town, one with a "square" around the courthouse and we were walking along the sidewalk when he threw himself on the concrete......... I don't remember why. It was his first tantrum and I just decided to keep walking after I had told him to get up and he didn't. When I was less than 20 feet away he decided to get up and come after me. Later than day, back at his grandpatents home, he threw himself down again but this time he made sure he had a soft landing. He chose a mattress. I calmly told him that I thought he must be tired and said I would cover him so he could sleep awhile and that he could get up whenever he was ready. I gave him a hug. He actually went to sleep and we had no more trouble during the rest of our visit. Then, at home he woke up one morning and came into the kitchen grumpy and whining and I simply told him to go back to bed and rest until he could come back and show me a smile. It probably took less than five minutes for me to see that smile and we had a pleasant day. I have used this "rest" method on several children who have been in my care and it has worked every time. I had a day care center for eight years and sometimes the little ones were very tired when they arrived so I always let them snuggle in bed until they got a little more rest and were ready to get up and begin to participate in activities. When my niece had to come to live with us, she was very sad and missed her mother. On the very first day, I explained that I knew she was sad but that she would see her mother again and in the meantime, we were going to love her and take care of her. She had just turned eight and was on the verge of tears. I showed her her bed and suggested she lie down and cry if she felt like it, that it was okay. I said I will put some books beside you if you want to read later and that I would be back to check on her. You could tell that she relaxed. She loved the books and in a short while she was ready to come be part of the family. She was a child who needed an early bedtime and always loved for me to read to her before she went to sleep. None of "my" children ever saw the bed as punishment but more as a comfort because I always explained they were going there because they were tired or needed time alone.

Oh, and the bonus for me, while they were finding calm and safety in another room, I could go on with my chores and not become stressed myself.

God bless you.

B., mentor to moms and others

2 moms found this helpful

I love Parenting with Love & Logic. We are presenting the parenting class at Summitt Elementary in January if you are interested. Its just good, solid, parenting.

1 mom found this helpful

This worked for me, can't hurt to try.

When she starts to whine, get down to her level and calmly tell her you can not understand her. Explain to her that you can not understand what she is saying when she speak like that. If she started to get loud, whisper in her ear, (this helps with crying to) she will immediately calm down to listen to what you are saying. Make sure both parents do this everytime she starts to whine, simply explain you can not help her if you can not understand what she is saying. When she whines across the room, calmly tell her again, I can not understand you. Do not sound sarcastic, sound sincere, kids know the difference.

I also talked to my daughter before I went anywhere, unsually in the car. I told her I would give her a notice when I was ready to go home. There would be no whining or fussing. I would give her a 15 minute notice then a 10 minute notice, then a 5 minute notice, then she would need to say goodbye to everyone so we could go. If she starts to whine, remind her you already spoke about this in a firm voice. Make sure your child knows your expectations. When she listens, make sure you acknowledge her positive behavior with a "Good Job, Name, we are so proud of you!" Another thing you can do is allow her to tell you how much notice she needs. My daughter wanted notice at 30 minutes then 5 minutes. She could not whine because, remind her, she made up the rules. But I would try this after you have already established the expectations not the first time.

Remember, children like bounderies. They like to know what to expect. They are very focused on what they are doing. Sometimes, just a little notice is all they need. Even if it is just to pick up toys or now in my case, start homework or clean her room.

1 mom found this helpful

When my son does that I tell him " I'm not talking to you until you can speak to me in a normal tone ". That may sound harsh but it works for me.
I mean seriously, that whining can and does get on our last nerve. lol
Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I have an "almost 7 year-old" and we go through the same things. I have some ideas. First of all look at how much sleep she is getting. You may need to move bedtime up a bit or have "rest time" after school so she can relax (its like how you feel when you get home from work). Look at her extra curricular activities...is she involved in too much and getting overly tired? One activity two or three times a week is usually enough for a child her age. Also snacks made a big difference. My daughter just informed me that she had a donut and pineapple for lunch because she didn't like the ravioli or green beans that were the main course. You never know what they are eating at school, so provide her a healthy snack when she gets home. Another thing you can do instead of talking to her and asking her to do certain things, is to create a chore chart. If the dinner table needs to be set, put that on the chart and have a time frame listed for when it is supposed to be done. Reward her with extra TV time, or stickers so that she can work towards a bigger prize or small allowance.

I notice my kids get the worst when I am stressed and need their bad behavior the least. How are things with you? Take time for yourself so that you are more relaxed as well. Take time out to talk with your daughter, sit on the sofa and ask her about her day before you jump up and focus on the dinner making, or have her help you do some prep work in the kitchen.

Kids her age feel things so much more overwhelmingly than we do and they are really sensitive. A lot of times they start saying (whether they believe it or not) "you don't love me." So take some time out with her to show and tell her that you do love her and I think things will work themselves out! Good luck, God bless.

1 mom found this helpful

Good Morning, T.B., I'm proud of you for taking action now--- you will be so grateful that you went into ''handle this'' mode now - as time goes on and puberty looms. The EXACT same things work then- just in a different '''language''. I have used Love and Logic for years and am so grateful for it. . I'll tell you a story- 5 year old grandson - lived with me - as did his mother - Brian got lots of negative imput from his birth father ( now out of the picture- thanks be to God)- and was a very dramatic, demanding little boy. So- we had a pattern - I took him to and from day- care and the ride home we went by a - store- Brian demanded 'take me for some candy' - I'd say ''' no - I brought you snack- we'll be home for dinner in 15 minutes - and he'd explode. So - after L&L - I said calmly ( when he exploded) ''don't be scared, I'll take care of you'' -- no response - more tantrum; repeated the calm, kind statement - '' do'n't be scared, I'll take care of you'' -- the 3rd round- he was silent for a full minute - then said - ''' I'm NOT scared!!"" To which I responded ''' Oh, well, when people are SO angry - I wonder if they are scared'' then the silence lasted another minute - then this little sad voice said ''' maybe there's a rock in my stomach, and it hurts- and that's why I'm so mad'' After being sure that we were NOT talking about a stomach ache- I said ''' wow, what can we do ?" He said ''' How can the rock go away?" I responded ''maybe we can ask God to turn the rock into water- and then you could pee it away-- it would be gone!!!'' ( never forget that children hold onto magic thinking well into their 7th and 8th year - and sometimes a bit longer - and for Christians-- well, for heavens' sake- God MADE rocks - He can certainly change them if He wants to) Again there was silence from Brian- then he said ''' would you ask God to do that now??''' So I'm driving down the road - asking God to turn the rock of this little boys' rage into water that could be peed away- --- . Now you might think ( quite logically) that Brian was WAYYYY too little at 5 to even begin to grasp what I'd said -- but several times over the years' since- he has asked me to '''ask God to make that rock go away again- cause it's back''' -- It was the insight of Love and Logic --and the authors tremedous respect and love for childrens' strength and wholeness that showed me what to do --- I could go on and on- but will have pity on your eye-balls,

Old Mom aka - J.

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