Best Way to Deal with an Unhappy Child

No child is happy all of the time. Like adults, children have ups and downs. There is a difference between a child who is momentarily sad in reaction to a partic­ular occurrence, for instance, because someone has broken her favorite toy, and a child who is regularly unhappy, for instance, because she is unable to make friends, no matter how hard she tries. This latter child is so affected by her sadness that her self-image and her relationships with others suffer. This severe degree of dissatisfaction is quite different from the brief tearful moments that are a normal part of every child’s life.

Unhappy Child Best Way to Deal with an Unhappy Child

Young children demonstrate their unhappiness in many dif­ferent ways. One child may show it by being passive and with­drawn, while another may express her distress in the opposite way, by turning her inner turmoil into outer turmoil. At first glance, a child’s underlying worries may not be obvious, but the picture becomes clearer when the troubled behavior persists.

The most important aspect of your child’s early life that is necessary for later happiness—though by itself will not guaran­tee it—is the affectionate relationship your child has with you. The quality of this bond determines many of your child’s emo­tional characteristics, including her feeling of inner happiness. A child who has not forged secure emotional relationships with at least one adult before the age of four may be in a constant state of unhappiness and despair, and will find future personal relationships difficult.

Childhood does have its moments of stress, and the way you help your child through these periods will affect her level of con­tentment. For instance, a first-born may have problems adjust­ing to a newborn brother or sister, but sensitive and thoughtful handling by her parents can help her through this experience. Similarly, a child whose parents separate wants to remain loyal to both, even though the adults themselves do not get along together. Handled badly, parental antagonism causes the child deep-rooted sadness; but if it is handled well, the child can learn to accept her new family circumstances. Another stress point that some children have to face is the death of a close relative; if the child’s grief is ignored or if it is relegated to second place, her unhappiness will deepen.

Unhappy Child 1 Best Way to Deal with an Unhappy Child

Temporary unhappiness is an inevitable part of growing up. But if your child is allowed to express her distress as it arises, and is not ignored or made to feel guilty about it, then it will ease in time. Do everything possible to make sure this happens.

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