Creative Child

Simple Solutions for Your Child's Negative Attitude

by Rebecca Eanes

A negative attitude can really put a damper on family activities and even negatively affect the entire atmosphere of your home. Unfortunately, it can also be contagious. Have you ever absorbed someone else’s negative energy after spending considerable time with them? Everyone has bad days from time to time, but if your child’s negative attitude is becoming a problem, check out these five simple but effective solutions. 

Don’t get pulled in. 

For some parents, the tendency is to pay too much attention to - or overindulge - the negative attitude. Often, this comes from good intentions, such as wanting to validate the child’s experience or show compassion, both of which are good things. But when parents consistently give lots of focus and attention to a child’s negative attitude, you can expect that negative attitude to grow. The key is to acknowledge and empathize, but not to get pulled into the negativity yourself. As much as you are able, maintain your own good mood and positive attitude and continue having a good time yourself. Eventually, your child will see that it’s no fun to always be a downer.\

Change the environment.

Your child’s environment can influence his mood. Several research studies have shown that rooms with bright light can improve depression and agitation, so let in that natural light in the morning! As evening approaches, start dimming the lights to cue your body to unwind. Clutter has a negative effect on mood as well as too much noise. Look around your home, and particularly your child’s room. Is it cheerful, comfortable, and inviting? How can you positively engage your child’s senses? Good smells, cheerful posters, upbeat music, and fuzzy pets can all raise the vibe in your home. 

Check the mirror.

I recall a time when my children both had lousy bad attitudes. I was so frustrated as I was practicing positive parenting and doing everything “right” as best I could. One day, I suddenly realized they were mirroring me! I had a lousy bad attitude, and they were just absorbing my energy and mimicking my behavior. Stresses due to work, relationships, finances, and duties can get us down and sour our own attitudes. Hey, we’re only human after all! But if your child is displaying a negative attitude lately, check the mirror and make sure it’s not what you’ve been modeling. If it is, work on improving your own attitude and perhaps they’ll follow suit.

Work on connection. 

We all need connected relationships to thrive, but sometimes life gets in the way, and our connection with our loved ones can dwindle. I can always see the effects in my kids’ attitudes and behaviors if I haven’t spent enough quality time with them. Quick ways to boost connection: Play, laugh, listen, and talk. Sometimes we get so caught up in the busyness of checking off our lists that we forget to look, acknowledge, and listen. We can spend countless hours in the same house and still not make a meaningful connection if we aren’t mindful of it. So, if your child has a negative attitude, but in a little extra time to connect heart to heart and watch that do it’s magic.

Guide them toward joy

One surefire way to stop a negative attitude in its tracks is obviously to enjoy life more! That means doing things that bring us joy and mastering skills that make us feel more competent and confident. If your child is in a rut, encourage her to find what makes her feel alive and passionate. Help her try new things, like sports, painting, drama, cooking, or music. Give her responsibilities around the home that make her feel like she is contributing positively to her family, and encourage her to hone and master something that she’s good at. As her joy increases, so will her energy level.

Rebecca Eanes is the bestselling author of multiple books including Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, The Positive Parenting Workbook, and The Gift of a Happy Mother. She is the grateful mom of two boys. 


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