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Use a firm, yet gentle, hand 
to help children identify a whining voice.
Use a firm, yet gentle, hand
to help children identify a w
hining voice.


391 words


How To Tame the Whining Beast
by Dianne Roth


Dogs and grandbabies know how much power there is in a good whine. Years ago we had a part terrier, part basenji named Joe. The terrier made him care what we thought and allowed that we were in charge. The basenji made him clever. After an injury, we brought Joe home from the vet in a very weak condition. His back sagged and his head hung. My dad found himself reduced to accompanying Joe outside, assisting him to lift his leg.

We pampered Joe and worried over him, but days went by with no improvement. One day, through the window, I saw the old Joe jumping into the air to catch butterflies. I ran to the door to celebrate with him. Imagine my surprise when I opened the door and saw him in complete relapse! Joe was not yet ready to give up on a good thing. With a gentle hand and a lot less pampering, I am happy to report that he had a full recovery.

At nearly three years, my grandson had also mastered the fine art of whining. The more we tried to please him, the more he whined. He even worked up a whine when he got what he wanted!

My son and his wife asked for advice. I gave them a plan:

With love and tenderness, tell the little dear that his voice sounds like a tired voice. Avoid asking if it is a tired voice. Inform him, so he can learn what a tired voice actually is. Then, with hugs and kisses, take him to his room and tuck him into bed. Brush his hair gently away from his forehead, give him a kiss, and tell him you hope he gets rested so he can come back out and play. Then, you leave him in bed. Do not give in. Bottom line, he can come out when his voice sounds like he has had enough rest.

It will not take too many times of hearing, “Oo, that sounds like a tired voice,” before he gets the idea. He will protest, but just remind him, “Your voice tells me you are tired,” and put him to bed.

Dogs and grandbabies are also quick learners. With a gentle hand, a lot less pampering, and clear messages about what is expected, my grandson should have a full recovery.


Dianne Roth is a teacher, mother, grandmother, and freelance writer. She lives in Oregon.




Last updated on October 8, 2012