Q: My five-year-old daughter whines whenever she doesn't get her way. How can I get her to stop?
A: Children who whine do so because it works for them. The secret is to respond in a manner that makes it less attractive.
For instance, don't cave in to whining if your daughter asks for an ice cream. Instead, pick a one-liner like, "No, sweetheart, you can't have an ice cream now -- it's too close to dinner." Just keep responding in a cool and neutral voice with the same one-liner. Be careful not to get into deep discussions, arguments, or a debate. Just respond to whining respectfully but with a neutral short and sweet message, and eventually your child will get the message that whining won't help her cause.
The beauty of this approach is that the whining will resolve without yelling matches, punishments, or lectures and therefore you'll fix the problem without hurting the person!
TIP: Whining will generally get worse before it gets better because the child is going to double her efforts to wear you down. If you can keep your cool, the habit will gradually disappear. Believe in your child's ability to make positive changes!