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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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I have a 10 year old son that never seems happy. He always

Customer Question

I have a 10 year old son that never seems happy. He always has something negative to tell me about his day, never anything positive, he always seems look at the bad in everyone and everything. Its like he doesnt want to have a good day or be happy like all he knows is how to be miserable. He complains alot. I am wondering if i should have him see a counselor? Or do you have any suggestions on what i should do. I have tried talking to him. He is an only child also. I just want to see him happy and little motivated for life.

Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Bonnie replied 7 years ago.
Sorry it has taken so long for an answer. But I have some long has he been this way. Is there anything going on in his life that he may be angry with? Is he oppositional (argues, defies rules or adult requests, is touchy, annoys others, blames others)?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I dont think he was always this way but it definitely started when he was young i want to say around 5 years old, kind of like maybe he is very spoiled and not used to not getting his way, but he craves so much attention my attention. There wasnt before when he was yonger but now there have been a couple things with that he has expressed to me that he is angry and sad. For one his father and i have seperated but his father was never consistent in his life to begin with, but i know he was happy when we were together and not we are not. But even before that he acted this way. He doesnt argue with everyone but he does talk back to adults and doesnt care of consequences, but then again maybe im not hard enough on him. He is does get annoyed very easy, frusterated with simple littlle things in life, hes not touchy. He does annoy others, kind of like hes bored. He does blame people but his father is like that never taking responsibility for their own actions. He doesnt get in trouble in schoole yet he does ok there, no notes of bad behavior.
Expert:  Bonnie replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for the information. Your son is displaying the symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (although it seems mild). But at least this gives you something to look up and there are recommended interventions.

First, there is usually anger underneath this behavior. He may be hurt, sad and angry about lack of father's involvement. So if there is any way to change that situation, it would help. If not, he may need some short term counseling to learn to verbalize his feelings instead of acting them out and accept the disappointment.

The best book dealing with this behavior is written by Dr. Russell Barkley called Defiant Children: 10 steps to Better Behavior (I may not have the name exactly correct). In a nutshell, the interventions are:
1. Special time with parent regularly and scheduled. It does not have to be an extensive amount of time and the activity should be fun for both. It would be nice to have Special Daddy time too have no control over that.

2. Parent is taught to respond positively to good and pleasant attitude and behavior. ALso parent should role model this positive way of looking at things.

3. Behavior management program such as rewards systems, etc.

I hope this gives you a start to findings ways to change his thinking and behavior. But it seems to be an inborn temperament thing so it may not resolve completely.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Expert:  Bonnie replied 7 years ago.
Sorry I was unable to be of help; will OPT OUT allowing someone else to answer.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
ok thank you
Expert:  Bonnie replied 7 years ago.
Your welcome. I have to post last or it stays in my reply box.