F.S. asks from Houston, TX on September 22, 2009
Whining and Quitting
My 5 year old daughter has a tendency to quit doing anything that's difficult. At the moment, her problem is getting herself up on a swingset and pumping, or using the monkey bars. She recently had a little altercation where she was teased about this. Her response was to run to me whining about how not nice this other person was being -- granted, it's true -- but she dwelled and dwelled on it, and let it ruin the better part of a day and a half. Does anyone have any suggestions? The quitting and whining are pretty frequent, and I'm worried it will start to have a long-term affect on her friendships. I'm usually a pretty innovative parent, but this is frankly not my long suit either, and I'm stumped on how to help her.
B.K. answers from Chicago on September 23, 2009
I think the whining is typical for that age. But I would definitely not put up with it for a day and a half. I would tell her enough is enough and if she continued I would have her go to her room until she could come out and talk about something else. As a parent, you can certainly tell your daughter that you'd heard enough and weren't going to listen to it anymore. I would help her on the swingset when other kids weren't around. She'll get it eventually. It took my younger daughter a long time to get the pumping thing on a swing. When she finally got it she was really proud.
M.O. answers from Chicago on September 23, 2009
I would just not respond to whining and tell her that if she would like my help with something, to make the request in a normal voice. As for the swing, just be supportive and say something like " wow, just keep trying, I know you'll get it! It is normal for kids this age to whine, but you can choose how to respond.
J.L. answers from Chicago on September 22, 2009
I don't know if the info at the bottom of your post is current, but if you just moved three weeks ago it is very likely that your daughter has normal insecurities and anxiety from the move you just experienced and since she is only 5 she can't understand that the stress she feels is from the changes in her life. So, since she can't say-I am feeling overwhelmed from all the changes i just experienced-she can say-I am frustrated that I can't pump or use the monkey bars the way I think I should. But since she is already emotionally strained these little challenges become larger and intensify in her young mind. Unfortunately, as much as we as adults can rationalize these challenges, a five year old can't. It is very difficult for them to believe us when we say "It's not a big deal, try again," or "Giving up won't make you fell any better, so stop getting so upset." A 5 year old can't help it. They don't know that it will get easier and that they will figure it out later-they live in the "now."
So, although I don't advocate catering to a child that is using their emotions to manipulate a parent and get a desired response, I do advocate catering a little more to a child just after a move, at 5, who is trying to express some amount of control over their world when a move has made them feel less confident and less stable. Be there for her as she learns, push her on the swing as long as she needs and spot her on the monkey bars until she is ready to let go, and hug her when some other kid teases her, for now, after a few months these outbursts should subside, if they don't, then I'd start to be less lenient.
A.T. answers from Chicago on September 23, 2009
It is a typical 5 year old response. It's fine to encourage her to keep trying and to help her build her skills---especially when other kids aren't around. That being said---I do think there comes a time when you tell your kid to knock it off. Dwelling and whining about a kid being mean for a day and a half is too much. If you've tried the "how can I help you", "let's work on this", "what could you have done"..it's time to tell the kid to knock it off. Both of our daughters have gone through the whining and quitting...and yes, it is difficult. Each situation is different and demands a different response...for example...homework whining and quitting---tell the kid to take a break, but no playing with friends until the homework is done; quitting doing a physical thing---tell her she will never get better if she just gives up and she won't have any fun trying to swing with her friends if she doesn't know how; finally when all else fails I've told our girls to cork it. I am happy to help you through this but if all you can do is whine and not apply yourself then I'm done...it usually does the trick....Good luck.