I used to like Rachel. Most days she was my favorite child - though parents are not supposed to admit to having one. Now she is three. It's probably my own fault that she is whiney. She used to change her voice level and tone when asking for things and it used to be cute. Now it's just whiney. And when whiney doesn't work, the tears turn on and she moos. So at the moment I am ignoring the current tantrum - it is the third one today.
I've come to the realization that I'm not very good at being a mean mom - at least not to the little kids. When they get older and are capable of rational thought I am better at being a disciplinarian - but not great. What is it about the tears, the sad eyes, the look of disappointment in a child's face that tugs at a mom's heart so that not only do you want to give them everything in the world, but you feel guilty for being the cause of such a sad state of affairs?
So I have no clue what the right answer is in dealing with whiners. Generally I don't give in - I've learned that rewarding the behavior means they'll just get whiney again. But I do evaluate my time being spent with them and at least for my children, they will get over what they thought they wanted if I sit and read a book or color a picture with them.