Q: If a child whines in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it actually make a sound?
A: Yes, and parents everywhere will never not hear it.
Preschoolers are a specimen of nature, and hell hath no fury like them. They can go from one extreme, to the next, and then back again within a matter of seconds.
They know exactly what they want, without having any idea what they actually want.
They do what the fuck they want, when the fuck they want, and for why the fuck they want.
They cry about everything, and over nothing, which when added together, equates to infinity.
You also never know when, or where, or why they may be set off, but you can be sure as shit they will, and it’s going to be at the least convenient time possible.
They are fully insane. But they are also smarter than you, and dealing with them will cause you to question your intelligence, your sanity, and your basic existence on this earth.
Interacting with a preschooler is a never-ending mindfuck, but there is one primary intolerable experience that most parents can agree upon as the absolute worst: whining.
With preschoolers, not only is whining a constant occurrence, but it’s also a never-ending cycle of psychological warfare, designed to decimate your emotional well-being. Your kid will mess with you on levels that the Devil himself would recoil at.
Unfortunately, no matter how you chose to deal with whining, your child will remain one step ahead of you, ensuring your method is wrong. In fact, you will probably try multiple different approaches because of this, praying your next tactic will actually make them stop.
But don’t get ahead of yourself. The system is rigged, and each approach will always lead to the same end: an increased level of whining.
So, parents of youngsters, buckle up, because you’re in for one hell of a ride. Below is a list of five indisputable reasons, confirming there is nothing worse than when your preschooler whines.
Reason #1: Whining consumes a torturous amount of time from your day.
This is reflected in two areas:
1. The total number of daily whining occurrences.
2. The length of time each whining occurrence consumes.
With your preschooler, you can count on them to whine approximately every 10 – 15 minutes, or within every 1 – 3 activities they experience (whichever comes first). It’s non-fucking-stop. You can also expect each whining session to eat up anywhere between 3 – 30 minutes, though they can easily extend this time limit if they feel like it.
Reason #2: Whining causes an excruciating noise to come out of your child’s mouth.
When parents hear this sound, they actually welcome the idea of divine intervention, but in the form of their own death. It’s that bad.
The noise your child makes is worse than all the bad noises that everybody, everywhere, hates, combined.
Below are some other terrible noises that every parent would prefer to hear:
Fingernails on a chalk board (child’s play).
A mosquito that’s made its way inside your ear (not even a problem).
A dentist drilling a tooth, within your own mouth (yes, please!).
The physical sound of the whine is high-pitched, abrasive and wail-like. It’s comparable to a cat-like mewl that is neither animal, nor human, but it’s disturbing on a level that will make your skin crawl.
It sounds as though they’re on the verge of crying, but can’t quite get there, and everything falters in pitch and tone. Also, the first and last word of each sentence are drawled out into extraordinary and excruciating lengths.
It’s the black plague of noise.
Reason #3: When your child whines, they use rage-provoking words and logic.
Just the sound of whining, alone, is enough to make parents want to stab themselves in the ear. But, what really propels it into the realm of extreme torture is when the auditory “sound” of the whine is combined with the actual “words” of the whine.
You see, when toddlers are in this mode of being, it’s as though they’ve gone feral, and the pea-sized sense of reason they had is erased, and replaced with an intense and irrational anger against you, the parent (AKA: useless subordinate nuisance).
They will sporadically cycle through a repetitive list of complaints/demands/insults against you, and they will do so with the determination, candor and clarity of a ranting drunk.
You will never get anywhere, it’s literally impossible to progress. In fact, you will go no where, and neither will they, since all they do is repeat themselves.
They also won’t listen to a motherfucking word you say.
In short, your blood will boil, and your brain will want to explode.
Reason #4: Your child’s whining will cause you to question your base-level intelligence as an adult.
While your child is whining, they will repeat the same things over-and-over-and-over again, and no matter how rational you are with them, their arguments will always lack even the most basic components of reason.
But, don't let this fool you. As you advance through the interaction, you will begin to wonder whether their emotional instability is actually an innate aptitude for psychological manipulation against you.
Firstly, they will lead you through so many conversational circles, that there will be sub-conversational circles within the conversational circles. You will eventually become tangled in a knotted web of them.
With complete effortlessness, they will ignore everything you’ve said, while simultaneously managing to use your own words against you. You will become confused, and wonder how they just lead you through an intricate maze of dialogue, which somehow cajoled you into contradicting yourself?
With ease, they will continue to make the exchange longer, harder and more complex – all the while, somehow doing this through simple repetition.
You will wonder if you even have an IQ.
Reason #5: Your child’s whining requires exhausting mental engagement.
As your child whines, it will be tempting to just ignore them, or stoop to their level and use the same evil tactics they do. But unfortunately, that will only work against you. When your child whines, you can’t go over it, you can’t go under it, you can’t go around it, so you have to work through it.
It will consume every ounce of your mental capacity – as in, you better say exactly the right thing, at exactly the right time, and in exactly the right tone – otherwise, you will only make it worse.
In fact, interacting with your toddler while they are in this state is basically just a game of intellectual Russian roulette, and if you don’t handle it properly, you are only pulling the trigger for something far worse: a full blown tantrum. DO NOT fuck it up, or all hell will break loose.
As you continue to suffer through these whining encounters, I’m sorry to tell you: you will feel increasingly hopeless. With each confrontation, it will become more evident that it doesn’t matter what you do, or what you say, because in your young child's eyes, everything that comes out of your mouth is not only wrong, but stupid.
What’s even worse, is you will realize they derive their energy through watching you suffer, it actually invigorates them.
Adding to this disheartenment is how easily it all ends. It will be as though an imaginary switch flips off, and your tiny, raging tot will snap back to their usual, adorable self. It’s both admirable and enraging – how do they transition from A to Z, and back to A again so seamlessly?
Meanwhile, you will be shook beyond your own comprehension, and on the literal verge of punching yourself in the face (because that will seem like the easiest form of release).
Thankfully, preschoolers don't stay on cloud-whine forever. Once they transition from constant-whiner to almost-constant-whiner, you will have gone through one of parenting's most intense rite of passages.
You will also learn a neat little parenting hack! It's a displacement exercise, of sorts, in which the parent can take the child's whine, and simply displace it with something that is exponentially better: actual wine.
In parent talk, there's even a phrase for it: a whine for a wine (ask anyone). Because, hey, if you can't beat 'em, might as well join 'em. Just drink up while they throw down.