Little Girls and Melodrama


I was just curious and wanted to ask all of you who are raising/have raised little girls if you recognize this kind of behavior.  I am hoping and assuming it is normal, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

My three year old princess has been mopey and whiny lately.  Anytime we tell her to do something that she doesn’t want to do, or rebuke her for doing something she shouldn’t be doing, or deny her something she wants, she is going all serious on us.  No screaming, rarely crying, just whining.

She has this droopy and sad face that kinda looks like “I want you to die” and then kinda looks like “I am pitiful and sad.”  I hope to get a picture of it some day.  (Well, well, well.  How convenient.  She just wanted her brother to play with her and would not let go of him, we told her to let go, and I snapped this foto.)

what a face!
what a face!

In addition to the faces (which I try really hard not to laugh at but they are cute), she wants to be held.  The other day while the wife was holding her, she was still mad and wouldn’t look at or talk to her mother.  We are trying to find the balance between being sensitive to her sensitivity and not allowing her to be spoiled and get her way every time she responds this way.

I have intentionally not held her when she was moping this way.

Anyone else familiar with this? Got any stories?  Any ideas?


11 thoughts on “Little Girls and Melodrama

  1. Ellen

    Yep. I think every little girl goes through some form of this phase. You can control the duration.

    I myself am a softie. I still carry Stella (4 1/2) around sometimes. It helps that she only weighs 35 lbs. I can’t not love on them. But The whining will stop when it doesn’t work. I tell my kids that I can’t understand them when they whine and if they can talk in a normal voice about it we can discuss whatever is bothering them. That’s not to say that they never do it, but they know what whining is and they know that it will not get them what they want. They may not get it anyway, but whining will definitely not turn things in their favor. Hope that helps??

  2. Maryann

    Knock on wood, Sam hasn’t reached this stage yet. She’s still in the “pleasing” stage. I just have to look at her with the “Are you supposed to be doing that?” look and she’s practically in tears and saying “I’m sorry Mommy”. I’m sure it’s coming. I doubt you are spoiling her. I know you way too well. This too shall pass.

  3. Monica

    I don’t think it’s just a girl thing. My boys did that at about the same age, and sometimes still do. I never don’t hold them. I feel like that’s withholding my love from them, and that I will not do. They need to know that “Yes, I still love you. But no, you’re not always getting your way.”

    Basically, she’s testing your limits. Hold firm and don’t give in. Hopefully she’ll out grow it. This too shall pass.

    Also, Ellen had a good point to. Telling them you can’t understand them when they whine, or cry, and they have to talk in a normal non-whiny, non-crying voice so we can discuss it. It helps them learn to talk out their problems, and not whine and cry about it.

    But, hold her, Brian. She needs to know you still love her. Hold her when she whiny and crying and pouting and tell her to calm down and talk to you. Not holding her tells her “I only love you when you’re good.” And that’s not true, is it?

    p.s. I think it’s a Daddy thing not to hold them. I have to tell Michael to hold the kids when he gets on to them and they cry. Otherwise, they come to me. And then they learn “Daddy gets on to me, so Mommy makes it better.” And I feel that if Daddy does the “getting onto” he needs to do the loving.

  4. Brian

    I think I usually do hold her if I was the one to get on to her about misbehaving, but when she is begging/asking for something she can’t have, I won’t hold her.

    don’t know if that is a legitimate distinction or not.

    I do often hold her after she gets in trouble. lately, though, she has been mopey to get her way, and I didn’t want to encourage that…

  5. I would hold her all you can. I still hold my daughter and she is 14. j/k. I know my only daughter (now 4) will eventually hit 14 and that those precious moments will be gone. I’m soaking them up. Never rewarding a behavior I don’t want to see is the secret. We all work harder for praises than for anything else, so I praise all I love in her.

    Keep it up, and don’t worry, in 15 years she will be gone anyway.

  6. Monica

    Is she begging or asking to be held? If not, then why withhold it from her?

    Let’s say she wants a cookie before lunch. (In my house, that’s a no-no.) And you tell her no. And she whines and pouts and cries, and begs for the cookie. You tell her no. (You’re standing firm!) She wants you to hold her. And she still wants a cookie. She wants you to hold her because she wants to know you still love her even if you won’t give her the cookie. Let’s say you pick her up and you hold her. And she whines for the cookie again. Don’t put her down. Keep telling her no. And offer her another solution. Is it time for a snack? Offer her a better alternate snack. Or if it’s too close to lunch time, offer her lunch. Maybe, if you are so inclined, you can give her the cookie after she eats her lunch.

  7. wjcsydney

    Been there, done that, Brian. In fact, we are still dealing with it (MissN is 14!) She sounds like MissN – wonderful dramatic abilities and a very strong need for the assurance she is loved. MissN still sits on my lap (she is bigger than I am!) and gets many hugs a day. Be firm, ignore the whining and keep the cuddles coming.

  8. Ellen

    Plus, when you’re holding them, you know they have your attention and it’s a good chance to look them in the eyes and make sure they are listening to what you’re trying to teach.

  9. Rebecca

    It doesn’t matter if it’s girls or boys, they all go through this stage. Be strong and firm and never cave not matter what. We got to where we nicknamed Michael Tazmanian Devil or just Taz because his faces mimicked Taz. Especially when he was mad. I still have his shirt that has all the pouty mad goofy faces of the Taz. He thinks his mother is crazy for hanging on to it. It will pass, promise.

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