Why Does Your Child Sulk All The Time?

4 min read

Written by Pradeep


Why Does Your Child Sulk All The Time_

The only thing most of us parents want is for our children to be happy. We slog day in and day out, in the office, in the house, in the park, and even in the sleep, planning and doing things that we believe would result in our child’s short-term and long-term happiness. Despite all these efforts, when your child starts whining and sulking about a very small thing that did not go their way, it can be very frustrating and look very ungrateful. Wondering why does your child sulk all the time?

Although we say “child” here, it is not just children who resort to sulking, even your teenager can be the king of sulking times! Why do they do it? How do you stop it? Read on.

In This Article

Why Does Your Child Sulk?

Whining, pleading, shouting, and sulking are the most insidious methods that a child uses to drive the parents crazy. A small thing that did not go your child’s way can be something really hurtful after all your attempts at keeping them happy.

Here are a few reasons why your little one may sulk.

1. They Cannot Express Though Words Yet

Smaller kids have not developed a strong enough vocabulary to express the frustration or displeasure they are feeling. So how do they express it? By sulking.

2. They Are Afraid to Communicate

Sometimes the child does have the vocabulary to express their feelings, but is afraid to do so because of the repercussions they might face from his strict parents or caretakers. They would then sulk because they feel that is “safer” than cribbing.

3. They Lack Emotional Intelligence

Children, and even teens, often lack the emotional intelligence required to express their negative feelings in a healthy way. Sometimes they do not even recognize their emotions and sulk for no apparent reason.

4. They Want Attention

For many kids, any attention is good attention. So even if a negative behavior like sulking will attract your (i.e., the parents’) anger, your child does not mind it, as long as you are reacting.

[Read: Understanding A Child’s Attention Seeking Behaviour]

5. They Want to Manipulate You

If you are a parent who gives into those sad curled lips and lets your child have his way, then you have given your child a very powerful tool to manipulate you!

What Can Be Done To Reduce Your Child’s Sulking?

What Can Be Done To Reduce Your Childs Sulking_

We give here a few tips on how to react to your child’s sulking and also to reduce it altogether.

1. Do Not React to Sulking

The biggest mistake parents can do is to react to sulking. If your child still sulks, it is probably because they know they can get their way through it. You need to teach your child other ways to express their feelings. However, once you do that, the best thing you can do is to ignore the sulking altogether. Do not give your child more power and add meat to their behavior by punishing or giving in. Both those reactions will only reinforce your child’s attitude towards sulking.

2. Help Them Express Their Emotions in Other Ways

Sit down with your child (when he is not sulking) and discuss alternative ways to express his feelings without so much drama, sulking, and whining. Tell them to speak about their feelings rather than pouting. Communicate to them clearly that you are not going to respond to sulking under any circumstances. They will simply have to find a better and constructive way to express their frustration.

[Read: Communication – the art of connecting]

3. Give Your Child Freedom of Speech

We mentioned earlier how some kids are just scared to speak up. To check this, create a positive and open atmosphere in the house where the child is free to speak his feelings, albeit in a non-aggressive way. Tell your child that sulking is a passive method to let others know of their feelings. Speaking about it is the active and more appropriate way. Assure them that they are safe to speak their minds.

4. Help Them Communicate

Help Them Communicate

While it is easier to teach older kids to express themselves constructively and through words, it is a very difficult task for your preschooler simply because they lack the vocabulary to communicate. Again, sit down with the child and help them learn a few keywords, like sad, angry, etc. You can also bring a positive attitude to their lives by teaching them how to deal with these emotions. Distraction works best when they are that young.

5. Both Parents be Consistent

Whichever method you employ to react to your child’s sulking, the most important thing to remember is that both parents (and anyone else dealing with the sulking, like grandparents and nannies) must be consistent in their approach. Even if both parents do not react to the sulking, if one grandparent resorts to pampering the sulking child – it is not going to work. This is mostly the reason why many kids do not sulk in school (where teachers do not feed the sulking) but do so at home. It is the responsibility of the parents and the caretakers to establish certain house rules and stick to them, without giving way to sulking.

Happy parenting!!

[Read: How to Effectively Say ‘NO’ to Your Child?]


1. Do All Babies Sulk?

All children go through this phase. This happens when they are unable to communicate clearly. It is just a matter of time.

2. When do Children Stop Sulking?

It depends on the child. Some children cross this stage early. Encourage them to communicate better and they will get over the sulking phase sooner.

3. Can be Sulking an Attention-Seeking Behavior?

Yes, it can be. When children are unable to communicate well, they sulk. They also do it when they don’t feel heard.

4. How Can I Help My Child to Stop Sulking?

You may not be able to stop it completely. We all sulk at some point. Just help them communicate better, it will reduce the sulking.

Read Also: Tips To Prevent Temper Tantrums In Kids


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