our everyday life

How to Deal With Kids Who Are Negative and Confrontational

by Karen Kleinschmidt, studioD

When dealing with your child's negativity, accept that her basic personality cannot be changed, but positive traits can be encouraged, according to HealthyPlace.com. When the negative energy causes your child to become confrontational with you, three strategies, according to EmpoweringParents.com, can help you deal with her effectively.

Negative Kids

Avoid giving your negative child attention for being chronically unhappy because that might increase his pessimism, and you might unknowingly teach him to manipulate others with his negative attitude, according to HealthyPlace.com. Accept his personality and build your own patience and tolerance levels so your child will feel accepted and loved, which can contribute to decreased negativity.

Change the subject if your negative child complains excessively or becomes argumentative. Allow her to express her feelings and intervene, if necessary, by asking her to tell you one positive occurrence that happened today.

Find the likable traits and focus on them. Although he is unlikely to naturally respond to circumstances from a positive perspective, remind yourself that he has positive traits that he brings to your family. Remind him of these traits occasionally because it likely will encourage him to behave that way more often.

Confrontational Kids

Curb your emotional response to your child. By now you might have noticed what buttons your child is pushing that cause you to behave in a reactive way, according to the article, "Dealing With Oppositional Behavior," published on Your Family Clinic.com. Stay calm, in control and focused on the topic at hand.

Discuss issues in a calm, supportive manner, and consistently enforce rules in a firm but kind way. Avoid fighting with your child just because she confronts you and tries to start an argument; it doesn't mean you have to take the bait, according to EmpoweringParents.com. Once you've responded to your child, tell her the conversation is over and leave the room.

Give your child a choice if the confrontational behavior is in regards to the desire for control over his responsibilities. For example, you can tell your son he is allowed to play video games for an hour each day. An appropriate question would be, "Would you like to play video games from 4 to 5 p.m. and do your homework after dinner or do your homework after school and play video games from 6:30 to 7:30? Let me know what you choose." This gives him the ability to schedule his own time after weighing his options, and increases his sense of autonomy.


  • Spend time away from your negative or confrontational child to recharge, release tension and reduce your stress levels.

About the Author

Karen Kleinschmidt has been writing since 2007. Her short stories and articles have appeared in "Grandma's Choice," "Treasure Box" and "Simple Joy." She has worked with children with ADHD, sensory issues and behavioral problems, as well as adults with chronic mental illness. Kleinschmidt holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Montclair State University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images