As a parent, I can wholeheartedly say that I am not perfect, and I am also not at all times prepared to deal with my daughter’s new tricks. And as I bid goodbye to her toddler years, lo and behold my preschool-aged daughter had more antics in store for me. After the challenges of weaning and potty training, she has now started whining.

Having surpassed her toddler years, the stage when kids are perceived to be “difficult”, I thought all along that I am better prepared to deal with more challenges ahead. This realization lasted only until my daughter has started to fill my days and nights, with whines whenever she wanted something. Of course, this may be an overstatement, but when your almost fluent young child suddenly becomes incoherent and whiny, it can really encourage you to dig deeper so you can find the root of the problem.

Many experts agree that whining in children is actually part of their developmental stage. A child, who used to depend on her parents to make choices on her behalf, is already starting to use language as a means of expressing her desires. Whining can be likened to a mild tantrum when a child demands to get what she wants, but in a different way.

Aside from that, some parents may also unknowingly encourage whining in a child. Whining is also a learned behavior, in which some parents may also be a part of the cause. A child may whine because as per experience, she may have gotten what she wanted during a previous whining episode. If parents give in to a child’s wants when she whines, they may actually just fuel the habit thereby making matters worse.

Since whining can really be frustrating and irritating for parents, it may help if you try to apply some strategies that may work. Remember, children whine not because they want to irritate you, but because they need your help on something.

Many children whine because they seek attention from their parents. You can try to observe your child’s verbal and nonverbal cues during instances when she needs attention. If you can identify these, you can then give her the attention that she needs. This will prevent instances when she has to whine just to get your attention.

Let your child know that you don’t want her to whine, and then you can teach her how to properly express her feelings. Let her know that she can only get the things that she needs only when she asks without whining. It may also be necessary to determine any physical cause for the behavior, which may be hunger, fatigue or even illness. Every time she whines, take it as an opportunity to teach her how to effectively state out her needs.

You can also effectively deal with your whiny child, if you happen to identify certain triggers before her whining episodes. If your child is whiny whenever you are in the mall, you need to clearly convey your expectations before going there. Let her know that you will be picking up a particular thing for her, and that you will not be purchasing other things for the time being. Give her options when choosing, so that she’ll still feel that she has some control over the situation.

Some children also resort to whining due to stressful situations. A child may still be adjusting in kindergarten, or she may still be coping with a new routine. Try to help your child have a smooth transition during big changes. Keep in mind that a child may regress when she’s in a very stressful situation. Try to limit frustrating circumstances, and make sure that your child’s activities are all age-appropriate

As for my daughter, there are still instances when she whines just to get her way. And while I have learned how to deal with it, it has also allowed me to evaluate how I have been as a parent to her. Through it all, I have learned to look at things at a different perspective. Her whines may drive me to the limits, but through it she has shown me that even in the most irritating of ways, she is trying to bring out the best in me.