Anti-advice / Gotta stop sobbing

Transform your child’s whines into the fulfillment of your own Inner Hobgoblin


You guys. I may have developed a technique to revolutionize parenting by unlocking empathic power of the preschooler whine.

OH YES. I am talking about The Dreaded Whine. It’s the next stage up from toddler tantrums: less physical, more vocal.

It might rank among the worst aesthetic portions of daily human experience. But, as anyone who’s revisited beloved childhood candies can attest, the tastes of 3- to 5-year-olds are under-formed. I can only surmise that their own acoustics can’t fully register to their tiny human ears. All they know is the delicious sensation of their own pure, unfettered sonic tot-wrath.

But there is a way to reconnect with the original glory of your own, pristine Inner Hobgoblin squall. To let it soar free, without moving a muscle or — get this — even making a sound.

Because sure, as adults, we all lose it sometimes. We cry, scream, and shout, and break things that we immediately regret breaking. That’s not what I’m talking about.

See, at some point, we (almost) all decide that the horrible noises we delight in as extremely disgruntled preschoolers are insufferable, even as they emerge from our own throats. So we pack them away in a little safe, lock it up tight, and bury it deep, deep down in the solar plexus of our discontent, thus cutting ourselves off from the great Cosmic Caterwaul. (Then we find new ways to terrorize our loved ones.)

But it’s down there. It lives and seethes within us all. Oh yes. And it wants to be free.

So the next time your precious little one makes that face that you know precedes the whimpers and screeching, try something:

Take a deep breath. And another. Close your eyes. And welcome in the snivels and wails. Do not resist. (And don’t join in, either.) Just quiet your mind and allow those sounds of petulant preschooler grief to wash over you and merge with your inner-most core.

Channel that sh*t.


Allow it to express, by proxy, all the strident, grating obnoxiousness you forgot you had. Reclaim the bawling cacophony that socialization has robbed you of.

Make it your very own.

If you catch the waves just right, you will be amazed. You can turn that jagged, rusty lead scraping across a chalkboard into outsourced cathartic GOLD. Suddenly, the grimalkin howls of your cantankerous 4-year-old will scour the blight of your own embittered grown-up soul like nothing else can.

Of course, much like hypnobirthing, this is a tenuous synergy of discord. Opening to outrageous pangs takes much patience and practice to master. (Don’t worry, you’ll get lots of opportunities!) But if you breathe deeply and persist, one day you’ll find yourself sinking into the the serenity of screams.

Then, for a few, fleeting moments, you can become a true whine connoisseur, genuinely appreciating the unctuous complexity of the sobs, the tart acidity of the shrieks, the rustic hints of tannin and exploding dumpster fire.

You’ll emerge feeling refreshed, with an earthy finish on your tongue that pairs as well as anything with leftover chicken nuggets.

It’s either masochism or enlightenment you’re gaining on, but either one is liable to help you on this path of parenthood.



Inner Hobgoblin




2 thoughts on “Transform your child’s whines into the fulfillment of your own Inner Hobgoblin

  1. Totally loved this,as I’m revisiting this with grandchildren.I often say “Are you whining” to let them know I hear them,but much look foreword to your method.Stop don’t look but breath it in sounds challenging but a new approach. Thank you! Also the pairing of day nuggets is perfect!!!

    • Glad you like it! Obviously I had fun with this post, but I sincerely do this (when I have the luxury of relaxing into the whiny moment, which is not always). I just realized one day how ANNOYING those sounds were, and how agitated they made me, and then I realized: I bet that feels *good* to her. I wish I could make those noises right now, and I decided to just let her whines “express” my own annoyance. At some point, I caught myself thinking, “Is that all you got? Whine harder, girl!” 🙂

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