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Thread: What do you do when your child is pouty/sulky?

  1. #1
    Melissa Kay
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    What do you do when your child is pouty/sulky?

    My daughter has always been pretty emotional, but lately her pouting and sulking is really getting to me. She will slump her shoulders, make sad puppy-dog eyes, put her head down, murmur an answer, walk SUPER slow, etc.... It's very dramatic.

    To some extent, it's a somewhat normal childhood thing to do, but she's getting to the age where she's a little too old for it, she is old enough to be able to use her words to communicate if something is wrong, and she is pretty good at it.

    I guess part of why it bothers me is that there are people in my family who are really passive-aggressive, manipulative, guilt-trippers, etc, so this kind of behavior really reminds me of that and gets on my nerves more than it should, because I see this behavior turning into that if she doesn't grow out of it. I am the kind of person who just likes to talk about it and get it out there if there is a problem, not put up with all this puppy-eyed stuff just to get someone to ask you what's wrong.

    Sometimes I ask her why she's upset, and usually she just says she's not, and plays dumb like she doesn't know what I'm talking about. Other times she will tell me why. And sometimes I just ignore it, because I figure she knows by now that she can talk to me if she's upset.

    I'm just curious how others have handled this. I've thought of just ignoring it completely and rewarding only her good behavior. On the other hand, she's just a kid, so maybe she just needs a little prompting to tell me what's wrong, I don't know?!?!

  2. #2
    Lionel Hutz
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    I've thought of just ignoring it completely and rewarding only her good behavior.

    I used to babysit my roomates son who is also my g/f nephew. They are smarter and more confident than you might imagine. Sometimes children pout or seem sad to get something, i.e. Ice cream, candy, toys, later bedtime. I ignored it, unless something was really wrong. So if they say no, believe it. I also taught him lessons in telling the truth about sad times. Like the boy who cried wolf. Eventually he grew out of it with me. His mom was still a sucker however.

    EDIT: I was also mindful that children can suffer from depression. This may not be the case but always be perceptive.
    Last edited by Lionel Hutz; 10-27-2008 at 07:25 PM.

  3. #3
    I'mThatGirl
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    How old is your daughter?

    I don't really have the patience for that behavior either. Call me Mean Mommy but man - it's like fingernails being dragged on a chalkboard.

  4. #4
    Melissa Kay
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    Thanks, Lionel. I do think I have had a part in this by questioning her so much when something is wrong, so from now on I should just believe her when she says "nothing."

    I'mThatGirl, she's 8. I probably have less patience with this than I should, just because it reminds me so much of how people in my family act. I want to be attentive to her needs if she really is sad or has something she wants to talk about, I just don't want her to learn that acting this way is the right way to handle things or the way to get attention.

  5. #5
    itsallgrand
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    I'm not a parent...to preface.

    I can relate to it being something that could get annoying - - especially since you've seen the grown up less appropriate version in your family! So it's a button for you.

    In my experience, kids have generally responded pretty well to a simple acknowledgment of how they are feeling, and giving them that chance to talk...and if they don't want to...just saying "ok, I'm going to go do X now, if you want to talk about it more, I'll be right there.".

    And you know, if the behavior gets out of hand and needs some discipline, doing that and letting them cool off and work it out in their brains that "hey, this isn't working anymore!!".

    She'll give it up when it doesn't work. If she gets a bunch of attention from it, whether it is you frustrated or not, I don't know...might feed it?

    But I think hearing the adult actually say "Oh, I see you are sad right now", whatever....can help a lot....sometimes they are still working out how the physical expression of a feeling and what to call it during certain situations goes together, if that makes sense. Physical is often more reflexive, easier and honest.

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