Solutions For Parents

Toddler » Discipline and Guidance

Two Year Old Whining

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Dear Dr. Susan:

We have a 1 ½ year old who likes to push her limits. She whines even when there seems to be nothing wrong with her. I think she does it just to get a reaction out of me. I am a single mom back in school, and the whining needs to stop!



Dear Ruth

Thank you for contacting us. You are not alone in thinking that your child is whining just to get attention. You are exactly right to want to correct the problem now when she is just 1 ½ years old. The secret is to let her help you do all your chores around the house. To her, helping fold laundry or play with pots and pans while you cook are just fine play times to share with the person she loves – you!

Always try to praise and compliment her when she is not whining – catch her being good and reward her with a hug or a nice compliment. When she does beg, whine cry, scream or pull on you and demand attention, just calmly ignore her words and distract her with another activity. You can say something like, “I can’t believe everything was going so nicely and now Janie is acting up; oh well, I bet she will stop soon, so we can have some fun.” Just “play act” that she is going to stop her whining – you are in charge of her behavior but you have to understand her personality, too. Work with her personality and organize her schedule around that. There can be no time outs to spanking or punishment at her age, because she will only imitate the yelling and hitting and just do more of it, instead of less. Be positive, use substitution and redirection, and do it all as “play.” You’ll do fine, I’m sure.

Write again if you need more help,

Susan H. Turben, Ph.D.

Ask Dr. Susan