The Whiner

Hi. My name is Happiestdaddy and my kid is a whiner.

It’s as if he secretly enrolled in the John McEnroe School of Whining. He whines when he wants something. He whines when he can’t do something. He whines when he doesn’t get his way. He whines when we ask him to stop whining.

Don’t get me wrong. I love wine. But I HATE whine. Even Paul Giamatti wouldn’t drink this whine.

We can’t figure out why he does it. Neither my wife nor I are whiners. He didn’t grow up in a home filled with whining. (Ok, maybe I whine a little when the Orioles blow a 9th inning lead or my new favorite character on The Walking Dead gets devoured by a zombie, but that’s it. I swear.)

Unfortunately, there’s no National Whiners Institute to turn to for help. There’s no wristbands being worn for Whining Awareness. At last check, there’s not even a 12-step group for whining addiction. And trust me, our 3-year-old is addicted to whining. Sometimes it happens first thing in the morning — like the world’s worst alarm clock. We hear a subtle “ihhh” emanating from his room. Upon investigation, we’ll hear an “I can’t doooooo iiiiitttt,” referring to a). getting dressed, b). getting out of bed, c). getting dressed while getting out of bed.

On many mornings, it’s a full-on whinefest. Whining about not having the “right” cup for his juice. Whining about not being able to find his favorite train. Whining about us not doing something at the speed with which he demands it.

My wife and I wonder if we’ve failed him in some way. Have we reinforced his whining by giving in to his demands? Should we have taken a harder line? (This aggression will not stand, man). A therapist friend of ours gave us a simple, workable tip. She told us to tell him that when he whines, we’re taking a time out from him. We walk away and tell him that we cannot fulfill his wish until he uses a calm, grown-up voice. Shockingly, he usually does it on the first try. (Faker.)

So that’s our plan. We’ll keep using the time out method, boosting our patience to Mother Teresa levels in order to teach our son to quit whining. And at the end of a day filled with whining, the only thing that soothes our tired, weary ears is wine — the alcoholic kind. Preferably by the bottle. Or the gallon drum.

And an industrial strength set of earplugs.

Ya got a whiner in your house? What’s your antidote?



The Beginning
About Happiest Daddy

Two boys, one wife and a ton of material. I live for family and I'm one of the most blessed people you will ever meet.

3 Reasons to Read Sherlock Holmes…

Uncle Irv gave me a copy of The Junior Deluxe … [Read Article]

Dads Are Like Moms…

The other day a family member made a comment that … [Read Article]

Has Homework Become an…

Homework was not my thing in school. I typically … [Read Article]


  1. The vote on the antidote is still out with our 3yo. We’ve tried stern, we’ve tried compassionate, we’ve tried walking away, we’ve tried it all. And it’s not really just whining with this one, it’s screaming. It’s him telling us NO without a moment’s hesitation. The thing about this kid though is that he is so affectionate. He is a big time snuggler and very free with the hugs. He is a charmer, he is hilarious, and pretty much everyone loves him. Yet underneath it all is this volcano waiting to erupt. Volatile is the word we use all the time.

    We’ve made some progress with trying to head these episodes off before they even start, but oftentimes the stern voice is the only thing that gets him to check himself.

    I’m really hoping he grows out of this.

    • Happiest Daddy says:

      Thanks Brad. We’re dealing with similar issues. The word we use is explosive. Like you, we haven’t found a workable solution yet and the longer it goes on, the more frustrating and draining it becomes. It’s funny because our son is also extremely affectionate and charming but he has two sides — maybe it’s because he’s a Gemini!

      Promise me that when you find a solution, you’ll let me know.

  2. do we somehow have the exact same 3 y/o?? I have been dealing with this for a few months now out of my son. His baby brother is 9 months old. I thought maybe this was his attempt to get our attention, but he has reverted not only to constant whining and “no”, but he baby talks too. at least I am not the only one. I will give the “time out” thing a shot. hell, I will try anything. and for the record, there is nothing wrong with whining when Jim Johnson blows another save.

  3. Happiest Daddy says:

    Thanks for the comment! I suppose a lot of us deal with this behavior and it’s surprisingly difficult to admit, especially when I see other children NOT behaving in his manner. We’ve recently started reading some books on the topic in hopes of discovering a method of punishment/assistance to help him deal with it.

    It could also be that he is 3 years old and this is quite normal.

This is what I think...