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Would You Like a Little Whine With Your Hike?

I have a child who will not stop whining. Said Child whines when s/he is told to do work. When s/he is told to stop whining. When s/he is told to do ANYTHING. I cannot seem to stop it. I’m ready to scream/whine/yell to make Said Child stop. I am a questioning every parenting philosophy I have ever held dear. Or even considered. Or read about. Or laughed at. I am trapped in a never-ending abyss of WHINE.

And on occasion when I manage to stop a whine, Said Child makes a snarky/sarcastic remark instead.


Apollo has recently taken up this tone of voice. Now he whines when asked to clean up. In fact, he whines when the other kids are asked to clean up. It is clear he is just trying out this newfound form of communication, but it is also equally clear that two such whiners will drive me over the edge. And fast.

Said Child is intent, it seems on driving me straight to Crazy Town, and since s/he doesn’t have a driver’s license, that’s a really bad idea.  On top of that, meals plans never happened this week due to Apollo’s sickness. And to make matters worse, Chuck still expects clean underwear for work every morning and kids still expect toilet paper. And snacks. And fires in our wood stoves. My lovely neighbor, by the way, offered to donate toilet paper if we ever found ourselves in such a frightening predicament, but unfortunately did not offer to loan me her sanity, which I clearly need more.

On the bright side, me and five of my favorite children went hiking Monday.

1526416_693868197330986_1401671683_nWe covered nearly six miles! We went with friends, which makes it all that much more fun. Especially when one friend brings homemade cookies. Apollo stayed at home with Tilly and Kalina, since two hours out in the cold didn’t seem like the best idea for him when he’s sick.


My legs were sore (no laughing, please). My eight year olds were tired, but let me tell you, a nice long hike doesn’t wonders for one’s spirit.

Too bad it’s raining today.






  1. Erin

    We had a child with a whining problem. We solved it with push ups. I think they had got into a bad habit, which they needed help breaking. So every time they whined they did 5 push ups. They don’t mind doing them, but when you have to do them for the 5th time in a row you quickly learn to adjust your voice. It was great because there was no tension around it, and it worked quickly. Plus it’s not bad for their health. We’ve used it for breaking other bad habits too, and it’s always worked a charm.

    • sarah

      Good idea. I have had very good success with push ups or running laps with my kids (ages 8 – 12). We also did the whole “no response” until they can ask without whining. I’ve left whiners at home before so they couldn’t enjoy the special treat….heck, I’ve let my other kids stay up and watch a movie on the spot just to allow a punishment of no movie for whatever the offense. I’ve told sarcastic children that going out (or whatever) is a treat and not a right. Keep it up and next time they can stay home……

  2. Kara

    We have a whiner right now too. She (our major whiners have always been she, the he’s just don’t have staying power when it comes to whining)pretty much refuses to use real words at all. If I don’t read her mind to know what she wants it’s UNNN! It’s driving me nuts! I have no advice at all, but lots of sympathy.

  3. Julie

    Oh gosh, Renee, whining drives me NUTS! I could tell you a couple of things we’ve done, but you’re probably way ahead of me.

    My sanity is stretched pretty thin lately too, so not much help there. I think a lot of it is the time of year… short, dark days. Hurray for you for getting OUT – that always seems to help.


  4. Ellen

    Just a thought – could said whiny child be getting molars? There have been times with pretty much all 5 of my boys that, at least occasionally, that was the source. They were uncomfortable, didn’t recognize it, and it came out as whiny. I always knew for sure if I gave them the (age / weight appropriate) dose of Motrin and the whiny ceased within a reasonable time, that was the reason. If that doesn’t work, give the next dose of Motrin to yourself for the headache it is invariably causing 😉

  5. Nicole

    Oh how I loath whining!!!! That is at the top of my ‘no tolerance for’ list. I go out of my why to put the misery I feel when they whine, back on the child. It varies with every child what that looks like. I would tell the child that whining will no longer be tolerated and if he/she chooses to whine they will be made to _______ (what ever they loath doing). Good luck my friend!

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      No trick photography 🙂 It really is that big and had fallen across the trail. I only had the camera on my phone and was really bummed I couldn’t get better photos!

  6. Maddy

    I work in special education, so i have a smidge of expertise when it comes to eliminating a habit. Every behavior can be replaced with another behavior. You can’t just eliminate something completely. A good example would be trying to quit smoking, some people start chewing gum, or eating tons of celery, something that replaces their need for a stress reliever.

    This can work for any behavior at all, but I feel that for whining it would be pretty simple. Another reader suggested push-ups and said they work like a charm, that is because they are replacing a behavior with another. Eventually making it so neither behavior is required. Whatever you choose it shouldn’t be a form of punishment, it should just be a replacement that they find less pleasant therefore stop doing either.

    I know you like to keep your kid’s privacy in check but if it is one of your special needs children you are welcome to email me some more info or just if you want some solid suggestions on what to do.

    This is literally all I do all day, retraining unwanted behaviors such as: hands constantly in their pants, smearing feces, spitting EVERYWHERE, or little things such as: saying a certain inappropriate word or biting/sucking on their nails (one little one would suck so long her nails would come off, we fixed it though). Anyway if you need some more tips or advice especially if it’s one of your spec. ed. kids then send me an email!

    Good Luck, and good for you to get out hiking. Hope Apollo gets well soon, cold’s are nasty!

  7. Elizabeth

    I’ve just begun having my child with the whining problem write sentences when he whines (I will not whine or complain). It’s amazingly effective at stopping the whining since he hates to write–but it’s improved his writing too! If only my two year old who has also picked up the behavior knew how to write!

  8. Melpub

    Well . . . although I have screamed and almost thrown things and done some whining myself, I usually laugh when my children whine, or imitate the whine. Sample:
    Child: “How much longer will my breakfast take?”
    Me: “You know, the tips in this place are lousy. I’m gonna work somewhere else.” I can’t image saying, “Drop and give me five!” so I’m probably a lousy disciplinarian, but I have usually resorted to taking things away. One kid kept going out in his T-shirt in freezing whether until I removed his computer and made it clear he’d lose it every time he did not wear the nice warm coat that HE chose. He wears it. Or he carries it under his arm. This morning I didn’t check, but I’m reasonably sure he wore it at least as far as the tram stop.
    I think no matter how old the whiner is, you should read him or her Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, especially “The Fighter-Quarreler’s Cure” in the original Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald:
    Read it out loud to the whole family . We love it. When they were younger, it got us through four-hour layovers at airports. It’s the kind of book all ages enjoyed.
    And when you have a little whiner, consider wine as a fifth food group. Red wine.

  9. Margery

    My whiner is 7 ( age for whiners around here is 6-9), and the standard response is I think you need a nap, he gets sent to his room and when he can talk nicely he gets to come back out. 1/2 the time he falls asleep. It has gotten to where he starts whining and I say you are whining and he answers I guess I need a nap. Older kids get sent to bed early when they whine as they must need more sleep then they are getting.

    And to make you laugh one day I whined about something, I had six kids look at me and say I think you need a nap, I smiled agreed and let them watch a movie while I napped. whining also drives me nuts, I can stand just about anything else they can come up with, but whining is ugh.

  10. Tabitha

    I detest whining and it soon gets me down and short tempered, so I understand how you feel. What has worked for us is if they whine or argue about a job they get another one, then another one and then another one till they learn it is easier and less work to listen to mum. As soon as a whine starts to come out, it gets added so sometimes they have quite a list before they start. They have cried and carried on about it, but have soon realised they still have to do it. Or sometimes with our youngest one (10) he has to go back to where he was and start over again and come and talk to me properly. What works for one kid doesn’t always work for another as you will know. It is hard to do and if life is feeling rather tough at the time, I sometimes have to wait to implement it till I am up to the challenge and ready to stick it out. I suppose as with all things whatever you do constancy is the key to what ever you use and sometimes that is the hardest thing of all.
    From reading your blog in the past I know you will get there and then be ready to meet/survive the next challenge. There’s one thing after another with kids, you get something sorted and then something else crops up just when you thought life was getting orderly again.

    Hope it resolves soon for you

  11. Sarena

    I think I am going to try the push-ups. I will correct a child and have them repeat back to me what they should have said. But for those who make it a habit, I will give them a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. It tastes aweful but is very healthy for them so I do not feel bad giving it to them.

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