A child who constantly whines might have learned it’s the best way to get his parents to bend the rules. “Sometimes whining happens when children think there’s room to negotiate,” says Solomon, adding that parents need to set limits with toddlers— gently, fi rmly and consistently. “I see in some parents a reluctance to really be the parent.
They’d rather be their child’s friend.” But this doesn’t serve toddlers, who thrive when they know who’s in charge and what the limits are. Whether it’s no candy before dinner, no throwing food or no jumping on the couch, whining won’t be an attractive option for a toddler who understands that when his parents say no, that means no. If you sometimes give in to the whining about a particular rule and other times you don’t, that’s confusing to a child and will not help her make good choices, says Lerner.