Should you scold your toddler for whining or crying?

All children express themselves through crying and sometimes whining. Should they be comforted or should you discipline them? How do you handle a crying or whining toddler?

39  Answers

7 19

When my 2 1/2 year old daughter whines/cries because she didn't get her way I simply tell her if shes going to continue to whine the she can do it in her room. Once she is calmed down she will come back out and continue on with her day. But if she is truly crying because she stubbed her toe or bonked her head, for example, then I cuddle her and kiss it to make it feel better :))

32
178 0

I feel like a tantrum is stemming from very powerful, very raw emotions, like anger, frustration, confusion and fear, which kids don't yet know how to process very well. Their brains don't work like ours. The feelings could even be linked to something that happened earlier in the day, or even days before. Our preschool gives parenting classes, and they've taught us to "connect" with the child, actually put your hands on them, and make eye contact with them, and let them talk, really talk, about what's up. If they're flailing and trying to hurt you, you wait it out. It sounds exhausting, and it is at first. But, it truly works, and future tantrums are shorter and easier. Basically, parents should come to terms with the fact that whining and crying are just a part of having a toddler, not something that needs to be "dealt with". As long as you're not overly permissive, i.e. giving them whatever they want, then they will outgrow it.

15
160 30

"Whining is, in fact, just an advanced form of crying and, as such, is just as grating on the nerves as crying because it is designed to get the attention of a caregiver. The difference is actually in our attitudes toward whining. We accept crying as a normal part of baby and toddlerhood, but label the whining of a preschooler ‘bratty’ and ‘spoiled’ and refuse to listen to them until they ‘use their normal voice’…just when they need us to listen the most!

If we, the adults, would adjust our mindsets to accept the normalcy of whining, it would lose a bit of its power to annoy and enable us to respond empathetically to our children when they’re mustering all their newly-developed coping skills to avoid a meltdown." from Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond

13
5 19

I simply tell him, 'honey, I am sorry, I did not understand a word, could you please speak properly?'
I continue to say that until he gets the message--ususal it gets it right away, some times it takes a couple of tries. I can see that other parents who have responded here are using simlar technique. It seems to me that this works well.

7
16 13

this has been our biggest issue with our 2 year old son, it has been horrible....I tried ignoring his tantrums, I tried mostly everything besides hitting him....our doctor recommended reading the book "1-2-3 Magic"... we just started "counting" his tantrums and whining and it really seems to be working....I highly recommend this book to all parents..I honestly didnt think it would work but things really have improved since we got the book.... good luck everyone!! :-)

4
3 24

My preschool teacher recommended this book for my 3 1/2 year old daughter and it does work. Seems like such a simple system, but it has given me confidence, when nothing seemed to work. My daughter still struggles with prolonged tantrums over things that other children seem to get over quickly, like not getting her favorite color, not being first in line, someone else cleaning up her toys....basically... not getting her way. She seems to be immune to many of the other methods that parents find effective.....and borderline "too old to be still having tantrums". After 2 very frustrating year, I am having success with the method described in this book.

View More
49 12

I agree that it is a form of seeking attention. From my experience with my soon to be 3 year old, I explain that he can speak properly if he is asking something of me otherwise he should find something else to do. I'm not sure if this is disciplining him exactly but it shows him that I don't entertain whining.

4
4 3

If he's whining/crying to get attention, get something he wants or just to push my buttons (he knows how to do that pretty well!) I tell him to stop and use his words. If he doesn't stop he eventually ends up in his room after a good lecture. So, if it's a 'real' whine/cry, give lots of love....but the fake stuff needs correction. If you don't let your children know whining/crying is not the way you get what you want they will grow up to be spoiled little brats. That's a bit harsh, I know, but that's my two cents worth!

4
616 0

It depends on what the situation is. If the child is crying because they are emotionally hurt and upset about something, you need to comfort them, they get the security from parents to know that everything will be okay plus they get the bonding time with parents to make them feel safe. In turn it just helps them have that self confidence to know its ok toshow their emotion, that its a natural thing.
On the other hand if the child is crying and whining because they didnt get what they want, parents need to make sure they do not encourage this behavior. Children need to understand how to express themselves in a healthy manner and the responsibility is on the parents to teach them that. I think we need to stay firm as a parent, letting them know it is not acceptable to do so and to listen, explain, and show by our own behavior how the toddler should react to different situations. I think its a thing that the child needs to fully trust and feel secure with the parent to be able to learn from them. On the parents side in any situation we need to show them that we are there for them and comfort their needs, but theres that fine line we need to show we care but we have to be the parent and make sure to stay firm with them and stay consistent with it.

2
15 1

It depends on why my son is crying/whining as to how I handle the situation. If he's just upset that he didn't get his way about something, I just let him have a little fit and I don't give him the attention that he is after. He is only 16 months old, so I can't quite tell him to go to his room or what not yet. On the other hand, if he is hurt or sick or even just tired and wore out and whining, then I will comfort him by holding him close for a few minutes until he calms down.

2
2 17

if its whinging to get his own way i tell him no and that his behaviour is unacceptable and that i will talk to him when he is finished being silly. any more than that and they will use it to get attention time after time

2
26 5

The trick is being able to tell the difference between "legitimate" feelings like sadness, fear, etc. and just crying because things aren't going the way they want. Context clues and whatnot, if they're not old enough to say what it is that's bothering them. I don't "scold" my daughter for crying or whining this way though - I simply tell her "crying won't get you what you want" and walk away. The first several weeks I did this, it didn't have any effect on her behavior but I didn't give in - after that she started realizing that it wasn't doing her any good and now she'll squeal protest for about ten seconds and then give up and do something else. In most cases, anyway. Sometimes she's persistent about it and I say, "If you're going to keep crying about it, you can have a time-out in the crib till you calm down." or if we're out of the house, we simply leave wherever we are and go back to the car and either sit with her till she settles down, or just go back home. It's inconvenient for me, but it's helping to stop the tantrums, which I feel is much more important than my own convenience.

1
0 0

I always pre-warned my 4yo (just turn 4 in June), that if he whines/cry, I will walk out of the room and when he finishes whining/crying, he can come and get me. After that I will tell him to start crying/whining now while at the same time pretending to walk out of the room. And immediately he says 'I'm not crying'. Very adamant that he is not crying. This way I make it as it's his choice/decision not to cry. They like making 'decision' at this age. And it's also a reversed psychology. Of course, the trick is if you wish to use this threat method, for the very first time, it must be follow thru or else this method will not work. Always use a calm voice.

1
0 0

Adding on to this, I will not punish him for whining/crying. They whine/cry because they are tired, overwhelmed or hungry. I must admit, we adults do sometimes get cranky when we are hungry lol Punishment for me is only because when they did something wrong. Of course whining/crying is not going to stop overnight but teaching them to recognise why they are whining helps them to think first before they act. Who says parenting is easy lol

View More
99 6

Well, not really. I understand that for a child of that age, everything is emotion and "i want it now" and so forth. The 4 yr old recently was whining and crying about wanting more lunch. Now, I said no and let me tell you why...2 breakfasts, one snack and two sandwiches and veggies all in the space of three hours. This escalated into a full blown jumping up and down fit. I just stood there, said, well fine, but when you are finished with your third sandwich, you are going to take a nap because obviously you are in a bad mood. Then he freaked out some more...I stood there...again.. let him be a screaming jumping bean for about a minute.....finally saying..are you done now?

All jumping and screaming stopped ...cold...and he said...yes.

Sometimes kids don't know why they want something only that they do. The whining and crying and screaming and tantrums etc are a way of wearing you down, pushing your buttons, and trying to get their way...even if it is something unnecessary or not good for them. Its important not to react or give in..no means no. Remove a child from the situation of you have to, or let them freak out and when you don't give in or react in the way they want you to, it stops.

My mother actually stepped right over me when I threw a fit in the grocery store once. I was on the ground whining and crying and having a good old fit. she just walked away..I got embarrassed by my own behavior, got up and followed her...I think I wanted a box of cookies and she said no.

1
0 0

Most of the time they just need to be comforted. When my 3 y/o son whines or cries, I take him in my arms and ride out his emotions. He would, sooner than later, calm down in a few minutes or fall asleep in my arms. This makes me glad I did not give in to spanking or scolding. He would be too tired or too sleepy, too young or too cranky to see the reason behind the scolding.

1
9 15

great comments everyone. i'm not a bad parent after all. i do the same thing as all of you. it's good to know i'm not destroying her spirit by sending her to her room when she's unconsolable.

1
5 37

I sit him down, in a spot for two minutes, and he sees that his way is not right way, and calms himself down, and attitude out the door, every time.

1
1 59

I condone it to an extent. If she is unhappy or truly upset I coddle her. If she is just defiant over not getting her way, I send her to her room. I will refuse to listen to it. I will definitely scold her if she gets too loud or tries to argue with me.

1
32 16

My daughter whines or cries when she is unhappy about something. It might be that she didn't get her own way, or she is hungry, tired or sick. If it's because she didn't get her own way then i just tell her to stop crying and I walk into another room, then she stops or runs after me and stops carrying on and wants to give me a cuddle. All other things I tend to straight away.

1
1

beet her barer but whith belt are stick

0
    Edit  |   Delete  |   Get Your Widget
0 0

my daugter is soon to be six if she dont get her way she start whining like today she hade her eye on a cup of coffee she wanted but dit not tell any one that she wanted that so when she came back fron the bathroom she started crying about it so please if any one can help me and give me adive please

0
1,295 0

I don't. With whining and crying I just ask the child to use a more clear voice so I can understand what they are trying to say.

0
64 0

If thew whining was too bad and over something insignificant, like they just felt like it, I would whine back, and it wound up being a whining contest, and they would stop and have fun with it, Sometimes I would raise my voice and tell them to stop, there's no reason to whine. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it made it worse. If it was over something more serious, I would try to correct what was bothering them, and let them watch me try. I'm bipolar, so it wasn't always easy trying to let them watch me try to fix something when I would get frustrated. I would take them outside and let them run around to burn off their frustration and whines. If it was over something really important, I would coddle them a little, and when they calmed down, I would explain about whatever it was. Try to figure out what got them upset, and go from there on how to fix it.

I'm speaking from experience, do whatever you can to teach them that crying all the time isn't appropriate. My 8 yo son still cries over a lot, and he knows I can't stand it, but I think he just gets frustrated and doesn't know how to to express his feelings. I've given him different ways, but I guess he prefers to cry. And telling him he sounds like a baby, and he's too old for crying that much doesn't do a it of good.

Sometimes toddlers will whine and cry because they want to see what they can get away with. So if you can figure out what triggered it, you'll know how to prevent it, or if you should just tell them to stop.

0
737 0

It depends on the age of the child and why they're whining. If they are overstimulated, remove them from the situation, it's not their fault. If they are tired, hungry, in pain, etc, address the issue. The child is probably just frustrated, if they have an issue and can't verbalize it, that's not their fault either.

0
70 0

If your child is on the autism spectrum the whining is probably caused by a meltdown. Telling her to "dry it up" will make her spiral out of control and she will probably rock back and forth or try to hurt herself.

0
492 54

Scolding is a loose term, if you mean correct them by teaching, than yes. However, I do not think any discipline action should be taking for crying or whining (unless it turns into full blown tantrum). Crying is a form of expressing one's emotional or physical pain: Both are legitimate reasons to cry. However, if a parent responds to the emotional pain of "not getting what they want", as appose to what the child needs, then this is negative reinforcement. Teaching them that this method works as a means of getting what I want, and so the behavior continues. Ignoring the behavior works only if the child has been educated in advance that is going to be the consequence of the inappropriate behavior, otherwise...they will think they still might have an opportunity to gain control of the situation and continue whining or crying. Other methods I used with my boys (I had one crier, and one whiner) were stating:
"I can not understand you when you are crying or whining. Please use your words in a "big boy" voice. If he did, I gave positive reinforcement by saying, Thank you, and address his needs appropriately. If he did not, he was ignored until doing so.
If the crying or whining was to get something he wanted, but COULD NOT have. I would first acknowledge his feelings: I know you are upset, (sad, angry, hurt...whatever) but my answer is still no. If you think this behavior is going to help me change my mind, you are sadly mistaken. In fact, if it continues you won't get "such and such" until ____.
We all know how long some of these toddlers fits can last... If it continued after the ultimatum (which it rarely did) I then asked them to "finish in there room because they are distracting the rest of the family". By this point, they usually just fall asleep due to sheer exhaustion.
The key is to remain calm, and consistent with whatever method of teaching you choose.

0
10 0

My 2 y/o and 4 y/o have a big problem with not getting their way. They both will throw a fit over practically nothing. But as most of you have said the easiest way to get them to calm themselves down is a short timeout. I keep mine at about a minute, and repeat over and over in a neutral voice "when you calm down you can come out". It never takes long for them to calm down and once they are calm we will sit down and snuggle and talk about why they got a timeout. The tantrums get fewer every week, and we are actually having days now where there are no tantrums at all!

0
12 10

obviously wining at different ages is different as they get older wining over what they want changes aa my two yr old wines alot of the time esp wen ive gone to have a bath n dress or need to do summit round house i tend to just tell him to stop the noise or go out the room toll he has if i was to jump out bath everu 2secs not only would it drive me nuts itd delay my proper time to take him out or sit n have a snuggle infront tv or play, what hes realy waiting for, if my four yr old winged id b stricter, i wiuldnt expect it to b ok in my house at that age regularly

0
0 0

if my son whines or cries,I'm trying to explain why I never allow him to do a certain things, or sometimes I'm using a reward system.

0
4 9

I usually try to figure out why my soon to be 3 year old is whining or crying most of the time it is his meal time and in that case I feed him and he goes right back to being himself. If he is throwing a tantrum then I put him in time out and when he calms down he tells me what he really wanted and if I feel that it is ok to give it to him I do if not he does not get it.

0
0 0

I think it is important to consider where the whining is coming from. Some of the other moms mention that whining comes from emotions toddlers can't process and that is true but it is up to us to determine what is under it. If you determine that the underlying cause is that you kid is tired, overstimulated or hungry then you can easily solve the problem and worry less about the whining. Basically, can treat the real problem instead of the symptoms. :-)
However, if you child is like mine, some will whine just to get attention or to express mild displeasure. I personally feel this is unacceptable. Generally I will gently tell my daughter that her behavior is not acceptable and suggest other ways she can communicate the same thing (or sometimes ask her for suggestions if she isn't too far gone). If that doesn't work I just let her know that until she can speak to me properly she will not be able to get what she wants.
I've said this in other answers and I'll say it again...You must stick by your word. My child is very willful so I know how incredibly hard this is but it will pay off. However, as with all things, if you notice her spiraling completely out of control it might just be time for a really big hug, and I love you, and some nice deep breaths before going back to sticking to your guns. Sometimes they just need a little love. :-)
Mom Strong Ladies :-)

0
1 3

My son is 26 months old, he doesn't so much cry, he squeals and I can tolerate it but not many others can, I've found the best way to deal with it is to distract him, if were on a bus ill point out trees and birds and cars etc, after a while he calms down and gets excited about what he see's! I try and stay calm, if I shout so does he, once he's calmed down I tell him that there's no need to squeal like that & he's finee :)

0
0 8

I feel like this is a dumb question you know your child and you should react accordingly. If my 3 year old is throwing a fit over not putting on his avenger shoes (because they were in the washer). Then I Try and explain that he needs to calm down and if he continues with this behavior he is going to sit in time out until he calms down. Second time around goes a lot smoother because of the time out. I try not to to get too angry when it's one of those awesome (I say with sarcasm) days. Emmett (my 3 year old) is very opinionated and will let you know if he doesn't want something. I don't think you should strait up just yell at a child but honestly time out is working wonders with our spirited little man.
Oh and obviously if he is crying because he hurt himself I make sure he is okay and kiss his boo boos but I would never scold him for crying if he or someone else hurt him.

0
492 54

First of all, there is no such thing as a dumb question...Second, your kids "tantrum about his avenger shoes" is due to disappointment, and sadness...it's not behavior that deserves the threat of a time out! Second time around goes smoother because you taught him he can not express his emotions of disappointment or sadness because it makes mommy upset and he ends up in the time out chair. My point is, Maybe you should know your own kid before you judge others for questioning techniques on how to handle there own. Of course the "Physical pain is obvious to you...it's the emotional pain that is not so obvious. Well, now it is. Your welcome :)

235 30

I guess it depends on the reason. First I try to determine the reason for the crying and try to help my child with whatever is wrong. If the crying or whining is because they didn't get their way then I ignore it and if it goes on too long they get sent to their room until they can calm down.

0
6 23

Megan (5 years old) started this crying and whining mess. But she does it because she wants something she can't have which is usually candy! The kid will follow me and say "why" over and over again. I just keep walking away and doing things. If it's goes 10 minutes, she gets to go to her room.

I have an 11 year old daughter too. She would be sent to her room and throw things at the door. What to do? I'm so exhausted between the two of them.

0
0 20

Good ol' fashion spanking...not hard and with the intentions to hurt them...but to scare them. Guarantee they'll get the picture and quick enough so you don't feel guilty about being THAT parent who spanks. lol That is what is wrong with the teenagers now a days..they were never spanked! lol

3 0

If my kids are just whining to try to get there way , I tell them that is no reason to cry like that you only cry when you are hurt or something serious . If that doesn't work i tell them if they are gonna cry like that over nothing they have to do it in there room . When they are through they can come out . If they are hurt i love on them and comfort them .

0
5 22

If the child cannot talk then i wouldn't scold them, but if you are able to talk then you need to use your words.. its really a case by case thing . Besides Crying and Whinning are 2 different things

0
0 0

I'm in limbo about that because I feel like that it depends...I feel like if it is after a lengthy amount of time then it should be considerate if there is nothing that you can see that is wrong and you are offering that child attention than you the child could be doing it deliberately.In that case I may have to take a sterner form of discipline. Sometimes enough is enough!!But normally, time will usually calm a child down.

0
34 13

I only get on to my child if she is whinning to get her way. I explaining dont get it and she can ask me like a big girl. if she is hurt and crying of course I comfort her. If she is crying from a fit I tell her to dry it up and when she is done she can ask nicely or talk to me about it.

0
10 23

It depends on what they are crying/whining about!
If it's just general whining, ie they want something, then i tell him off and say tell
me what you want

I don't discipline tho. Unless it's getting hysterical then i'll take him to his room until
he's calmed down.

0
70 0

Telling a toddler to "dry it up" doesn't work if he/she is really stubborn and persistent or if he/she is autistic and in the middle of a meltdown, that will only escalate it.

View More

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms