How to Deal with Your Child's Negative Attitude: 4 Steps
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Don't let your child's negativity affect the entire family.

A negative child sulks and whines about seemingly everything and finds most things to be unfair. Oftentimes, a negative child can affect the mood of the entire house. When you see a negative mood creeping in, take your child aside and take action before it overcomes him. Your empathy, support and nonjudgmental ways will make life easier for your child and, in turn, yourself.


  1. 1
    Show your child empathy. Assure him that you understand that he feels moody and that it's OK to feel like that. Explain to your child that even the happiest person he knows has the same type of feelings. Let him know that his feelings are valid and that it is good he is able to express them. Don't take an attitude of "just get over it" with your child because it might teach him to ignore and suppress his feelings.
  2. 2
    Put a time limit on his rants. Set a timer for three minutes and let him say all the negative things he is harboring. He can write it down in a journal if that is easier for him. Give the time a specific name such as "complaining time" or "let it out time" and let him know that when it's over, he needs to stop.
  3. 3
    Show your son that you support him and take his feelings seriously by asking questions. Listen intently to his answers and reflect them back to him to ensure you truly understand. This step verbalizes his emotional reaction and leads to problem-solving conversations. Don't overreact or under-react to the situation. Stay calm and make your child feel understood, regardless of whether a solution is reached.
  4. 4
    Give you negative child space. Let him be alone for a bit after your conversation. He can decide whether he wants to quietly reflect or move on. As he grows older, this alone time will give him the opportunity to take a breath, make changes and grow.


  • If you think psychological or medical intervention is necessary, have your child assessed by a child psychologist or psychiatrist. His pediatrician can recommend someone nearby.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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