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A Bold New Way to Nurture Close Connections, Solve Behavior Problems, and Encourage Children's Confidence

 

 

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"Hi Dr. Cohen,
I have shared this story with a few people, but realized I never shared it with you. Towards the end of your book, you have a suggestion for dealing with whining by asking a child to speak in a regular voice. I must say that it sounded entirely too easy and thus like quite a ridiculous suggestion. But my 2 year old daughter was just starting to get in a whining habit, so thought I'd try it. I'm amazed and incredibly pleased to say that it worked and is now a fun game! At first, when my daughter would whine, I would say in a happy voice, 'Please talk to me in your big girl voice. I love your big girl voice.' For a while she would just stare at me, which at least stopped her from whining and was much better than the reaction I got when I said, 'Stop whining.' Then a few times when she was talking in a regular voice I would say 'Hey! There's your big girl voice. I'm so glad you found it. Thank you for talking in a big girl voice.' It only took her 3 or 4 times of this to really 'get it'. Now it's become a game. If she whines, I stop and act silly with a 'Hey? Where did the big girl voice go? Is it lost? Let's find it!' Sometimes she'll actually start searching around the room for it. 'Is it under the couch? Is it in the high chair?' and so on. But at least 80% of the time she will restate whatever she said in a regular voice, followed by a resounding 'There it is!!!' I am really amazed that it has worked, but it has. Now the only time she continues to whine is if there is something really wrong- like she's overly tired or hungry."

[My commentary on this great story is that I think when children whine they are feeling powerless. If we scold them for whining or refuse to listen to them we increase their feelings of powerlessness. If we give in so they will stop whining, we reward that powerlessness. But if we relaxedly invite them to use a strong voice, we increase their sense of confidence and competence. And we find a bridge back to close connection.]

 

Larry Cohen
phone: 617-713-0568

email: larjack@playfulparenting.com

 
Larry Cohen
1680A Beacon Street | Brookline, MA 02445 | Tel/Fax: 617-713-0568

email: larjack@playfulparenting.com