What To Do If One Of Your Children Is Always Unhappy
One of your children seems to have a good outlook on life, has an easy going temperament, and gets along with everyone. Your other child is moody, seldom smiles, and always looks at the world with a glass half empty outlook. How can two children who share the same parents be so different? Children are born with a tendency to react to people and events in a certain way, and no two children are alike. Your challenge as a parent is to help your unhappy child develop skills to get along in life in a better way. Here are some tips to help your child have a happier outlook on life.
The first thing to do is assess how long your child has been like this. If he or she has always been sad, cried a lot, and been difficult to deal with, it may just be the way it is internally wired. If this is a fairly recent development, and your child seems moody and can’t get along with anyone, something else may be going on. If this is the case, take it somewhere where it is comfortable and ask if there is anything troubling it.
Ask your child about its friends, the school, and how it feels about you and the rest of the family. If it opens up and tells you there is a problem, you will need to address that before it can improve. Assure your kid that by working together, you will try to solve the issues it has. If it is unwilling to discuss what is going on in its life that is making it so unhappy, you may need to set up appointments with teachers, coaches, and your partner to see if you can get a handle on what is going on, and take the necessary steps to take care of it.
If your child just seems to have a temperament that seems to stress the negative, try to get it to react to situations that make it feel a little better. One thing the two of you can do together every night is to go over five things it was grateful for that day. It can be as big as getting a great grade on a test or as small as finding a coin on the sidewalk on the way home. Try to have it focus on the positives in its day, and to celebrate them. Keep regular conversations going on about its day and about anything that is bothering.
Teach your child problem solving skills and how to constructively cope with being disappointed when things don’t go its way, like keeping a journal to write the emotions down instead of moping or crying. Never compare your kid to a sibling that has a better way of dealing with life. Saying things like, ‘I wish you were more like your brother’ will just compound the problem and just have it resent him.
With some foresight and some gentle guidance, and by recognizing that two children with two different temperaments need to be treated a bit differently, you can create a more harmonious family.