My son is the least grateful person every

Modern Parent

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I have a 9-year-old. He is constantly complaining about something. I mean literally every single day it’s something new. He’s so negative all the time. He was like this pre-pandemic also, but I don’t know if it’s because I’ve literally spent every single minute of the day with him for the last year (virtual schooling + WFH), but I’m about to lose it. I can’t deal with so much negativity anymore. 

I did not raise him like this. I talk ad naseum about positive things, to look at the bright side, “glass of half-full” stuff. I mean we’re constantly talking about it and I try to lead by example. But it does not click in his head. My husband is also a negative person, and it grinds my gears, but he’s nowhere to the extent my son is. I also can’t control my husband’s outlook in life and I do ask him to chill with the attitude around the kids. I told my son the other day that if he continues like this he will grow up to be an adult who is never happy. He won’t have friends bc no one wants to be around a person who isn’t happy, who is always complaining. Talking to him doesn’t help. I’ve taken toys and electronics away…but that doesn’t help either because he’s not particularly attached to anything.

The complaining can be about anything, so it’s not just tangible things. I understand some of the concerns…he can’t see his friends, he can’t hug grandma. So he will spend hours and days talking, complaining, and crying about it. I spend hours listening to him (just letting him get his feelings out and acknowledging it) and then ask him to try to look at the bright side. I will tell him…let’s be grateful that we got to spend a month with grandma for Christmas (we quarantined and WFH). Not many kids had that. So I try to talk to him and be cognizant of the fact that it’s hard we can’t hug her now, but at least we can see her every day (she will come and wave to them through the window) and we got to spend a month with her. But he will just focus on the negative. He’ll cry (sometimes it’s real, sometimes I feel like he just wants attention) that we can’t hug her and he will go on and on and on until he finds something else to complain and cry about. 

I have him write in a gratitude journal every day, but he’ll just write the same things he’s thankful for: food, water, family, etc. but nothing more than that. Today after a particularly tough day I told him to find 3 things that happened today that he’s thankful for and not just things like food, water, etc. He couldn’t do it and after 30 minutes I told him to just go to bed. I’m seriously at my wit's end. I can’t hear daily complaining, daily crying about something he wishes he had or could do. It’s affecting me negatively and I feel like I’m going to lose my mind. I try so hard to acknowledge, listen and talk about the good things, but nothing works.

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