No one wants to be around a negative person. Sure, it won’t hurt for a child to complain once in a while but as they grow old, habitual complaining may be toxic for the people around them. Values are learned while they’re still young so it’s best to be on the lookout for signs that make your child a chronic complainer this early on, and act on it. Make your child see the beauty in different situations and teach them ways to say their frustrations without having it sound like a complaint.
Here are some ways you can avoid raising a complainer and how your child can turn a negative situation into a positive one.
#1 Don’t make them feel like you’re judging them
Kids will complain if they find something they don’t like. Don’t be defensive right away. Instead, show them you understand how they feel. For example, instead of saying, “Stop complaining all the time,” when they tell you they don’t like the food, say “That’s unfortunate. Why don’t you like it?” This way, you’re not judging their reactions but you’re showing genuine concern for how they feel. Notice the question asking them for the reason why—this will teach them to justify their concerns and not just complain for the sake of complaining. Next time they find something they don’t like, they’ll be most likely to think of a good reason first before airing their concern.
#2 Model the desired behaviour
Demonstrating a behaviour you want your child to learn is important to effectively teach them certain values. If you don’t want them to be complainers, avoid letting them hear you complain all the time. When they complain, validate their feelings and respond as calmly as you can by encouraging them to see the different sides to the situations. When kids feel validated, they tend to listen to you more.
#3 Don’t be afraid to correct them
There may be instances where kids’ view of things seems askew. They may have had a bad day at school, complained about it, and took it out on a younger sibling. Don’t be afraid to call them out on this attitude. Letting you know about their feelings is good but too much complaining without reasons, as well as unnecessarily involving other people in their anger, need to be corrected. Be honest with your child; otherwise, they’ll be criticised by the people around them as they grow up behaving like this. It might also seem to your child that they can get away with anything.
#4 Teach them to see different perspectives
A chronic complainer only sees things from their perspective. Make your child understand that every situation has different sides which may be valid in their own right; hence, they should avoid looking only from their own vantage point. Once your kid realises this and turns this into practice, they will most likely weigh their opinions first before complaining out loud.
#5 Gratitude is key
Teaching your child how to be grateful can stop them from complaining all the time. If they learn to see the good in every situation, they will most likely appreciate the beauty in it first before they look at the bad side. In the long run, adapting the practice of gratitude will make them happier individuals as well.