According to our counselors here at Focus, a common motivation for a child’s negativity is simply to get attention. If you suspect this is your child’s goal, there are a few ways to teach him or her not to complain.
1. Don’t reward his negative behavior: When he starts to grumble, tell him you’re sorry he feels that way. Then go about your business.
2. Reinforce a positive outlook: If your child shows the slightest enthusiasm, give him a smile, praise him, and let him know how much you appreciate his upbeat attitude.
3. Dig Deeper: If attention doesn’t seem to be driving your child’s mood swings, you’ll need to start asking questions. It could be he’s experiencing the normal ups and downs of childhood. Or he may be learning his negative attitude from friends or an older sibling.
There could also be a significant life change influencing him, such as stress in the family or trouble at school. If none of these issues seems relevant, you may need the insight of a professional to see if depression is playing a role.
To speak with one of our counselors please call us at 1-800-232-6459.
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About Jim Daly
Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family and host of its National Radio Hall of Fame-honored daily broadcast, heard by more than 2.9 million listeners a week on more than 1,000 radio stations across the U.S. He is husband to Jean and father to Trent and Troy.
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