How to Deal with Children's Negativity?
Living in a family where children’s negativity reigns isn’t a good thing for anyone. Having to deal with a negative child day after day can become a difficult task. In this article, we’ll tell you how to deal with children’s negativity.
There’s no specific age for negativity in children to appear, and there are many children who display it. In fact, negativity can accompany them until adulthood. Therefore, in this article we want to give you some keys to combat children’s negativity so that it doesn’t become a prolonged condition.
“There will be no change if people are determined to think negatively.”
— John C. Maxwell —
What causes children’s negativity?
When children are steeped in negativity, they think there’s no other way of thinking but their own. They believe that what’s negative to them can’t be changed, and that there’s no other possible way of thinking. Some of the causes that can provoke negativity in children are:
- The type of attachment with their family. Attachment forged during the early stages of development will affect children’s personalities and how they relate to the world around them.
- The type of education received. Adults act as role models for children. In fact, most of the behaviors that children adopt are learned through vicarious learning or modeling. If adults show an authoritarian and violent upbringing, children are more likely to develop negative behaviors and thoughts.
- Genetic factors. Sometimes, there may be a deficit in some of the neurotransmitters responsible for regulating emotions. Consequently, this causes their behaviors and emotions not to be regulated normally. If this is one of the causes, medication is necessary and, therefore, consulting a specialist.
“Intense negative emotions absorb all the individual’s attention, hindering any attempt to attend to something else.”
— Daniel Goleman —
Signs to detect children’s negativity
If at any time we detect some of the personality traits presented below, we’re probably dealing with a negative child.
- They’re grumpy most of the time.
- They believe that everything they do will go wrong.
- They’re often complaining.
- They often play alone because they think no one will want to play with them.
- They use magnification bias, i.e., they exaggerate the negative aspect of a trait, situation, event or person.
- When they’re doing homework, they think they won’t get it right and won’t know how to do it.
- In the most severe cases, they may even present hostile behaviors towards others.
“To always complain is the non-acceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you turn into a victim. When you speak out, you are in power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.”
— Eckhart Tolle —
How we can remove negativity from children
It’s not always easy to cope with the situations that come our way. Sometimes it’s hard for parents and other family members to live under the same roof with a negative child. Therefore, if we’re in this situation, we must be very patient and calm and try to understand why the child engages in this type of behavior.
Regarding this, here are some keys that could help us to eliminate the negativity:
- The main thing is to be a good example for them because children are prone to imitate behaviors. We, the adults, act as their direct models. Thus, it would be good for them to see in us more optimistic behaviors, with no room for negativity.
- Not paying attention. We shouldn’t pay more attention than necessary at the negative thoughts of children. Otherwise, we would be encouraging children to have this type of thoughts.
- Increase their self-esteem. We have to foster a positive attitude in children and prevent negative thoughts from continuing to form a fundamental part of their repertoire. So, we have to make them see how much we care about them and that we take them into account. We must also show them that we care about what they think and how valid they are to perform their tasks.
- Show affection. We have to make them feel loved and respected as well. Show them how much we care about them and tell them from time to time: “I love you, just the way you are.”
- Practicing sports on a regular basis. Engaging in physical activity brings us numerous benefits such as the release of endorphins, which are related to well-being. Therefore, children are less likely to have negative thoughts. Also, more positive thoughts are more likely to appear over time.
- Transform their thoughts. It’s a matter of changing those negative thoughts for others that are more in line with reality.
- Discovering an array of possibilities. Teach children that things aren’t black and white, that there can be many points of view, and that this doesn’t mean that they’re less valid than ours.