Actually there are theories that contradict what you guys are saying. None of you are citing any sources for your theories.
For instance: children might exaggerate their plight since you won't listen to minor gripes.
Telling a tired, hungry and upset kid to speak in its normal voice... well, hasn't worked for me.
Do you guys want to know what has worked?
Mirroring. I reflect back what my children (only my eldest daughter speaks) say, confirming to them that I have listened. Then they might whine some more and I reflect some more. And then after a while, they figure a solution out themselves.
This also works with adults.
Actual example from today:
Daddy, I want to sit in the stroller (we were going to the playground and I have spoilt my eldest with the stroller for far to much) - said in a sad, whiny voice.
You want to sit in the stroller, I see, but we can manage the walk, I think
- But I have tired legs, I can't waaalk
- You have tired legs. How does that feel?
- I want to have my pacifier (she had lost it earlier)!
- You want to have your pacifier, I know. I wish I had it, but I don't.
- WAAAAAH, WAAAAH, WAAAAAH.
Ok, that didn't really end well. ;-)
It doesn't always, if by "well" one means no crying or whining. What happened was that I kept reflecting and made her walk along, keeping my temper - and hers. It didn't escalate and this is a kid that really is addicted to her pacifier and it was after dinner so she was real tired.
And after a while she was distracted since we were out on a walk. Cats passed by, there were flowers... everything worked out.
This whole evening started with her crying in bed from losing her pacifier. I just reflected that back to her, same as above, and instead of crying, all of a sudden she says:
- I want to suck your thumb!
So I let her. After a while she concluded that it was no pacifier, nor tasty, so we went and had dinner instead.
So, I don't give in to whining, this I agree with. But the whining comes from some kind of need and you as a parent need to confirm that your kids needs are at least registering.
I have been doing this for a while and THIS really works. I bet having your kids take timeouts might work, but that is shutting them out... I just don't really believe in that.
Try different approaches. I prefer the ones were my blood pressure is about level and my kids calm down.
Read more about it here: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2012/06/how-to-talk-to-human-beings.html
Also, not comforting your kid when it has hurt itself... I don't know. If my kids come to me for various reasons, I receive them with open arms. We sit down and I try not to make that big of a deal of their injuries, but helping them cope with the pain and telling them that it will pass. I don't feel that my kids are more whiny when it comes to getting hurt. I think it's important not to freak out yourself, not to make a big deal from a bump or a bruise, but also to NOT deny your children affection, human touch and being close. If you push them away when they need you near, they won't get tough. They will be sad and close up and hide their emotions. By making them feel secure after bumping a knee, you signal them that getting hurt isn't that bad, someone will comfort you, the pain goes away and you can go play again.
Oh, and also, don't feed them candy on a daily basis. ;-)