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Ever since he was a toddler, my oldest son had a HUGE pouting problem. It seemed that, no matter what I did, he always had a reason to pout.
More than half the time, I had no idea why he was pouting…and neither did he! He’d wake up in the morning and, for no reason at all, be in a bad mood that carried on for hours.
All it took was the smallest things to set him off.
I remember one morning in particular, everything was going great until he went in to use the bathroom.
I’d put a cleaning tablet in the toilet the night before so, by morning, the water in it was a deep dark blue.
Within seconds of walking into the bathroom, my son walked out crying hysterically and said, “Mom, I can’t use the bathroom because the water is blue!”
Up until that moment, everything had been fine and he’d been happy. I looked up at him stunned and asked, “Are you really crying like that because the water is blue?”
With tears streaming down his face, he nodded his head.
I explained to him that the tablets were cleaning the toilet and it was still ok for him to use the bathroom. It certainly wasn’t a reason to pout or cry.
After I talked to him, he went back in to use the bathroom. Then he spent the rest of the morning pouting.
I couldn’t believe it. His pouting was bringing everyone in our home down and I had no idea how to help him.
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Nothing Could Stop His Pouting
I looked online and tried everything that other parents recommended to stop kids from pouting. Here is what I found.
- Ignore the Behavior – If your child doesn’t get any reaction out of you, some will stop pouting
- Send them to their Room/Timeout – If there’s a negative consequence each time they pout, they’ll eventually see nothing good comes from it.
- Don’t Bribe them to “Make them Happy” – If you try to bribe your kids with candy or a prize to stop the pouting, you’re actually reinforcing the bad behaviour and they’ll pout again to get another bribe.
- Understand Why the Behavior is There – If you understand why your child is pouting you can fix the problem. (I sat down with my son several times to ask him what was going on and more than half the time he’d tell me he didn’t know why he was pouting).
- Make Sure they Get Enough Sleep – Many kids will wake up ornery and upset if they haven’t gotten enough sleep.
- Make Sure they’re Eating Enough and Getting a Well Balanced Diet – If kids are hungry or not getting good, healthy food, it can make them more prone to having a bad attitude.
Some of these suggestions did seem to help temporarily but, none put a stop to the problem.
3 Things I Did that Finally Stopped My Son’s Pouting
One morning, my son was in one of his bad moods again. He was pouting as usual.
I looked up at him as I was dressing my youngest son and couldn’t help laughing. I asked if he knew how silly he looked sitting there pouting and he sulkily replied, “No”.
As he answered, I got an idea and grabbed my phone to take a couple pictures of him.
After taking the pictures, I showed them to him and tried to mimic his sulky face. As I talked to him, I added an exaggerated whine to my voice.
Slowly, a smile spread across his face and he burst out laughing.
“Those pictures do look funny,” he admitted.
I laughed with him and took another picture of how he looked when he was happy.
Again, I showed him the picture and smiled at him. “Doesn’t it feel so much better to be happy?” I asked him.
He nodded and I gave him a hug. Finally, I felt like we’d had a breakthrough! I’d never seen his mood turn around so quickly.
1) Add Humor to the Situation, Get Your Son/Daughter to Laugh
After that, I knew that once I got one smile, his sulky attitude would be gone. Anytime his pouting started, I would either show him the pictures I’d taken or mimic his face and/or whine. I was careful not to do it in a condescending manner, but to make my expressions exaggerated in a way that would make him and his brothers laugh.
I wanted to get the idea across that pouting was silly and it was so much more fun to be happy!
As I did this, all my other boys would burst out laughing and my son couldn’t help laughing with them.
2) Say Thank You When Their Attitude is Positive
I started paying attention to when his behaviour/attitude was positive.
Instead of waiting for another pouting session to come up before I encouraged him to be happy, I recognized every time my son was happy.
I’d give him a hug and tell him thank you for his positive attitude. I’d also tell him how happy it made me seeing him and his brothers happy.
When situations came up that usually triggered a pouting session, I’d praise him every time he chose to stay happy. I’d say something like, “Sometimes you don’t always get what you want and that’s ok. I’m really proud of you for still being happy about it.”
Every single day as my boys got ready for the day, I’d say to them, “Isn’t it so awesome to be happy! I love having happy kids!”
They’d all smile excitedly and soon they started saying it back to me.
3) Explain that Pouting Doesn’t Help Anything
The last thing I did to stop my son’s pouting was, I explained to him that if he wanted to guarantee that he’d get never get anything he wanted, he should cry and/or pout for it.
I talked to him as if he were an adult and told him. “If you want anything, you have to do what it takes to get it.”
To help him understand what I was saying, I told him if he wanted to be strong and healthy, he had to exercise and eat well.
He couldn’t eat a bunch of food that wasn’t good for him and never exercise then expect to be strong and healthy.
I’d laugh and say, “That doesn’t make sense at all does it?”
He’d agree and respond, “Ya, that really doesn’t make sense.”
“It’s the same with anything else you want,” I told him. “If you want to be happy, you can’t pout. If there’s a specific thing you want, you should figure out what it takes to get it and do that. The worst thing you can do is pout for it because then you’ll never get it!”
My son thought about what I told him and, as different situations would come up, he started asking how he could get what he wanted.
Every time he asked, I’d help him find a way.
A Couple Months Later My Son Is ALWAYS Happy
It’s been almost a year now, but it still amazes me to see the difference in my son’s attitude. It didn’t take long at all after I started doing the 3 things mentioned above before he stopped pouting.
Not only did he stop pouting, but he’s now one of the happiest kids I’ve ever seen! It seems no matter where he is or what he’s doing, he always has a reason to smile and laugh.
Of all my boys, he is now the least likely to start crying and/or pouting if things don’t go his way. Instead, if he wants something, he’s always asking, “What can I do to get this or do that?”
His positive attitude has worked wonders to relieve stress in our home and help the rest of my boys to be just as happy!
Do you have a son/daughter with a chronic pouting problem? Have you tried any of the 3 things I listed above? Let me know about it by leaving a comment below!
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