Kids Whining

Updated on September 29, 2009
M.K. asks from Los Angeles, CA
7 answers

My son is one more month to be 6 year old. Sometimes he is angry or sad for little matters and no one knows what is wrong with him. We guess maybe it is hot or he is tired or he is growing new teeth. I tried my best to calm him down, let him explore his emotion and do some thing else to make him feel better but he may be whining for another matter soon later. Are the 5-6 year old kids still whining sometimes without noticing any reason by themselves?

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answers from Los Angeles on

40 year old men still whine for no reason! :)

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answers from Los Angeles on

Hi M.,

At 5 or 6 years old, kids do not have the insight to necessarily know why they are upset. Additionally, they are usually not articulate enough to clearly explain their emotions to us. Consequently, it is up to us to help them explore their emotions and find healthy ways to deal with them.
When you try to calm your son down or get him to do something else, you are giving him the impression that he shouldn't be feeling the way he does. That will not help alleviate whatever is going on for him.
The first thing you need to do is to acknowledge that he is upset. For example, "It seems like you are upset about something." Let him respond. Use active listening to reflect back what you hear him saying. This is your opportunity to learn about what is bothering him. Don't worry about offering any advice or opinions. He doesn't need that. He just needs you to allow for his negative emotions and, secondly, to validate them. Let him know that it is OK for him to be upset. You might even share some of your own experiences of times when you were similarly upset. He needs to know that you hear him, that his feelings are OK and that you are there for him even when he needs to be grumpy. Once he is feeling heard and understood, you might have a conversation with him about alternative ways in which he can express his frustrations (hitting a pillow, drawing an angry picture, etc.)

Here is an article I recently wrote that might be of some help to you.

If I can be of any further help, feel free to contact me.
G. B., M.A.
Child Development Specialist & Parent Educator

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I have no idea if it is normal, but my son turns 6 in october and he just started Kinder. He whines and has tantrums, and it seems like a new thing. i don't know why either. it drives me NUTS! i attributed it to Kinder starting, and new changes/stresses.



answers from San Diego on

I had five children of my own, now I babysit children. I find that the kids do whine at ages 5 and 6. I tell them I do not do whining. If they want to talk to me that they will have to talk. I do not listen to whining. This has worked for me.



answers from Honolulu on

I recommend the book: "Your 6 Year Old" which you can get from Its a book describing each age set. Although written years ago, it is still very pertinent.

Next, yes, they whine, at this age. Even teens whine. But at this age, no, they are not yet FULLY capable of handling their every emotion, successfully. Even adults aren't. So the key is to offer them understanding, THEN, either handling it.
Which can mean teaching them how to properly express themselves, or alternatives to their actions and/or consequences, if applicable. ie: not every "whine" means they get punished. As my daughter explains, sometimes she doesn't even know why she whines... but we help her to communicate it better.... "practicing" her tone of voice or other ways to say the same thing.

Or you can say "redo." Which means, you tell them you know they are frustrated/sad/angry etc., but then give them a chance to "redo" their way of saying it.

And yes, at this age, they are moody... and their moods vary.

And yes, sometimes its because they are tired or hungry or just feeling out of sorts.
So evaluate the situation, per the situation. Not all moods/whines mean the same thing.

Its growing-pains for the child too... as he gets older, he will get better at expressing his emotions and handling it. It is about gaining mastery over themselves. Which, in childhood, is an ongoing thing.

But also teaching how to "cope" is also important. That way, they can guide themselves or at least know that they are capable... that there are other ways besides "whining."

Your child is normal, in the sense that they all go through this. Although not pleasant for us or them. And sometimes, just validating their feelings, will help them to deflate...for my kids, they just want to know that "I" understand... then they feel better. I explain to them that even ADULTS feel like that too... but HOW can we feel better? Try letting your son come up with ideas too, on how he can feel better.... its good practice for them.

And mainly, don't treat him like "something is wrong with him" kind of thing. (not saying you do), but even adults/spouses don't like being treated or thought of that way. People AND kids, can feel the vibes of those thoughts. Then, it usually makes things worse.

He's a kid, and at each age juncture, there are difficulties/irritations. For which even the child themselves, can't be FULLY capable of. "Emotions" are still developing... AND the ways of handling it.

All the best,



answers from Los Angeles on

They all matter sex or age...I have found that boys can whine much longer than girls,(majority of the time.) The girls are Drama and the boys seem to be Whiners! It is no age or length, just depends on the child. Best thing I have done, is make a blank kinda dumb stare and say, what I could not hear you....and EVERY time they whine, the same thing, explain that I can't hear them when they make noises like that, and to please speak this time. ..Enjoy. My (almost 11) still does it on occasion!(my ex does all the time)



answers from Los Angeles on


My son will be 6 years-old in 3 weeks. I've had the same problems for the past couple of months. I found out a few things on my quest for trying to figure it out. They go through their biggest growth spurt around this age - once I realized this, I figured he might just be achy and out of sorts some days. Also, he was having some really severe separation anxiety, which surprised me because he's been in pre-school and many other activities. But, I guess it's normal at this age. Because of other issues, we went to a child psychologist, too. This is an age where they really have a lot going on psychologically. His advice to me was to keep him busy; keep him active in sports; and be consistent with discipline. Honestly, I've just been using this time to shower him with love, affection, and the same thing you do, trying to explore/explain emotion. The psychologist also said that they get frustrated at this age because they can't interpret/express the emotions/feelings they have. Hope this helps.

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