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One Parenting Hack to Stop Whining in its Tracks

Updated: Apr 5

One big concern many parents bring up in counseling is how to deal with whining, back talk, and fresh language. When children are tired, hungry, bored, overstimulated, or aren’t getting what they want, they often resort to whining or using language that is not respectful. For many parents, this can be a trigger for anger or frustration.

Often, I hear parents say things like, “Who do you think you’re talking to like that?”,

“Stop whining”, or “Enough”!

These situations often escalate quickly to anger, yelling, and meltdowns.

This escalation can be easily avoided with a simple strategy called recasting.

Recasting is a technique where parents tell their children what to say, rather than telling them what not to do. It is a form of modeling and what is said by the parent holds the same meaning as what the child said.

When your child has an unmet need, it may be hard for them to control their impulses and emotions enough to phase what they need in an appropriate way. With recasting, parents do it for them.

To practice recasting, ignore the child’s initial statement/request and instead state back what you think the child actually wants or needs. Say the statement the way you would like them to say it. 

Whining “I want juice” turns into “Mommy, juice please”

“I don’t want the red one” turns into “Can I have the blue one please”

“Stop! Let me do it” turns into “I’d like to do it myself, please”

For this technique to work, once you’ve recasted the statement, wait for the child to repeat the statement back to you before you respond.This reinforces using the more appropriate/respectful statement.

Although this is a simple technique, it is remarkably effective. Give it a try!

Interested in more parenting tips?

Ask about Worrywell's Parent Management Training today.

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