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Help! My Kid Complains Constantly!

All kids complain. Truly, all adults complain too! Sometimes you just need to let out a little negative energy, right? Whether you’re looking for validation or solidarity or just wanting to release some pent up frustration, a little complaining isn’t a big deal. However, persistent and pervasive complaining is not good for anyone – particularly teens.

kid complains

Teens are in a unique position. They are growing independently enough to make their own choices, evaluate their own life, and even notice and compare the lives of others. You could even say “comparison” is their forte, because they it’s a significant part of most of their arguments. Have you noticed?

As a dad I’ve heard “Well SHE gets to…” or “It sucks that everyone else…” and “Why am I the only one who…” and of course the ever-popular “It’s not fair!!!” Some complaining is normal, but when it grows constant it can become a real problem.

Complaints are obnoxious to us as parents, but you may start to grow concerned that their worldview will be enduringly negative as well. We all want our teens to develop healthy ways to deal with disappointment and negativity, so how do we get the complaining to stop?

5 Ways to Help Stop Complaints in Your Home

  1. Listen.
  2. The most annoying, but effective way to address complaints is to just stop and listen. We often want to solve their problems or change their minds, but it can lead to more complaining and bad feelings. Instead, use all your best listening techniques to listen to their complaints and try your best to understand their feelings the best way you can, because sometimes all they really need is to vent.

  3. Don’t Let Them off the Hook Too Easily.
  4. Victim mentality is incredibly dangerous, especially for teens, because they start to believe the rules shouldn’t apply to them.

    “This teacher hates me and is gonna fail me anyway! No use doing my homework!”

    It can help to acknowledge that yes, sometimes life is unfair or people aren’t perfect, but you STILL have to do what you have to do. Having a parental backbone is key.

  5. Help Them Learn to Problem Solve.
  6. Instead of telling them to stop complaining or fixing the problem for them, ask them what they plan to do about it.

    “Yeah, that sounds tough. What are you going to do about it?”

    This helps them realize they are in control of their life. Proper problem solving is a large part of helping your teen learn self-esteem.

  7. Be Honest.
  8. This one is tricky, because you need to have careful timing and come from a place of love. Share with your teen that you feel drained when they’ve complained a lot, or that you start to kind of tune out or ignore complaining when it happens all the time. Be sure to communicate that you love them and you’re happy to listen, but that’s a natural consequence of too much complaining – for you and their friends!

  9. Teach Coping Mechanisms.
  10. For some, complaining is a defense mechanism for depression. If you feel your teen is overly negative, or cannot see things positively, they may need some more serious help.

It may seem counter-intuitive to listen to complaining rather than trying to turn them into a positive ray of sunshine, but it’s more effective to help them tackle their own problems and complaints – that’s the mark of a great a parent.

Tyler Jacobson

Tyler Jacobson

Tyler Jacobson is a father, husband, and writer, with experience as a content writer and outreach coordinator for HelpYourTeenNow. Tyler has offered honest advice and humor to struggling parents and teens. Tyler has researched and written on education problems, disorders, the world of social media, addiction, and pressing issues with raising a teen today. Follow Tyler on:
Twitter | Linkedin | Google +

17 comments

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  • Sometimes it’s easier said then down. My son is a higher function autisic and making him understand something is a bit on the difficult level. These are great tips and I will be trying doing these more so then I have.

  • Great tips you have. I’ve seen my niece grow and I sometimes complain because my mom spoiled her so much that she grew up stubborn and doesn’t listen. This will be helpful

  • I definitely agree on listening and not trying to just solve the issue right off the bat. It’s important to acknowledge their feelings without letting them use it as a clutch.

  • This is all wonderful advice. I’ve always noticed that if you really stop and listen, it prevents children from going overboard so to speak. Teaching them to problem solve is also such a great tip!

  • These are really great strategies. As a mom and teacher, I appreciate you recognizing this in children. We definitely need to do something about it.

  • I honestly have no experience with this as I don’t have children (and this is one of the MANY reasons why I chose not to have them). This post was a great reminder that I made the right decision. (LOL)

    You gave some excellent pointers for those who are experiencing this with their children. One day those kids will grow up and if they aren’t taught to “suck it up” they will have a long hard road ahead of them! “Be the change that you want to see” is my number one motto!

  • I am over this phase of parenting because my kids are now all grown ups. Guess what? I survived. I had to deal with the “whine-bulance” almost everyday and it drove me up the wall. But of course, the usual heart to heart talk was done and I did it in such a way that it was like I was speaking with an adult. No sugar coating, just straight to the point issue identification and problem solving.

  • I don’t like the idea of complaining, it sounds an awful lot like whining and you’re not going to hear that from me especially when I’m facing a challenge. I taught the kids the same thing. Time is much better spent thinking of a solution than complaining, right? These are great tips to eliminate that!

  • I have tow kids and i can easily co-relate the post with my kids. Kids complains a lot and sometimes its difficult to handle them. I like tips and i think that these tips will help me.

About Author

Tyler Jacobson

Tyler Jacobson

Tyler Jacobson is a father, husband, and writer, with experience as a content writer and outreach coordinator for HelpYourTeenNow. Tyler has offered honest advice and humor to struggling parents and teens. Tyler has researched and written on education problems, disorders, the world of social media, addiction, and pressing issues with raising a teen today. Follow Tyler on:
Twitter | Linkedin | Google +