Wednesday, December 10, 2014


There is probably nothing more annoying than being around people who sulk.  Yes, it is true.  Sulking is not just a child behavior, we see it everywhere.  I must admit that I have sulked a time or two when I couldn’t get what I wanted.  And that is about the root of the problem, right there.  People often resort to sulking because things are NOT going their way. Yes, I, I, I; me, me, me!)

Never a grumpier person could you meet than a sulker.  Their face is completely devoid of expression or they are scowling.  They refuse to speak to whomever ‘crossed’ them and they suck the life out of the atmosphere by their frosty silence, thus causing discomfort all around them.  Silence can be just as controlling and powerful as shouting or physical attack.

From an objective point of view, all that negativism is using up a powerful lot of energy.   Research shows that it takes many, many more muscles to create a scowl than it does to smile.  It is worth observing people walking along the street sometimes to see how many glum faces there are around.

1.  Look at ourselves and ask the burning question.  Do we sulk?  If we do then we have to
     consider a more effective way of dealing with our negative feelings so we can teach our
     kids to do the same.  We can’t always have a win/win outcome.  Things are not always
     going to go our way and if they are, then they are certainly not going someone's way.
     When it comes down to it, does it really matter in the long run who wins?  We don’t always
     have to be right.

2. We need to look carefully at our kids' general behavior.  Do they always want the biggest and
    best toy, the biggest slice of cake, or to be first in the line for ice cream?  Of course they do.  It
    is natural.  However not everyone can have the biggest and best.  Children need to learn to take
    turns, to share and to do things that will please others rather than be self-serving all the time.

3. Is sulking an unusual behavior for this child?   If so, then perhaps there is something going on
    that really needs to be addressed.  Are they troubled or afraid?  It is important to explore
    possible causes, rather than just jump on the exhibiting behavior.

4. Ask the child directly why they are sulking.  If they won’t say and you are confident there
    is nothing sinister going on then you can say that a grumpy face is not going to get them what
    they want.  Explain your behavioral expectations and boundaries for their behavior.  If it
    continues you can remove them from the room until they are willing to express themselves
    respectfully. You can choose to ignore the sour face, but praise them when they do behave as
    you expect.

It is a very important lesson to learn that it is not all about ‘me’.  Jesus was right when He made it clear that we are here to serve others and not just our own needs.  We all need to learn how to channel our frustration effectively without reverting to pouting, grumbling or throwing a tantrum.  Sulking is
not acceptable at any age.

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families LLC

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