Help! My son is a Debbie Downer

Guys, I don’t know what the deal is with Riley, but he is one seriously negative dude lately. I mean he has always been prone to focusing his attention on what could go wrong, but it’s getting so much worse.

Riley has had his fair share of challenges, and he’s handled them all like a champion but I do worry that he’s had to grow up too quickly and it’s jaded him. Lately he’s been very argumentative and negative about everything.

Moody pre-teen or serious problem?

I mean everything and it’s breaking my heart.

I think it reached its boiling point this morning when we asked him (again) to find out about cricket at school. He wants to play cricket and we know the school offers it as an extra mural activity. We are so happy to help him play the sport he wants to and encourage that he does. I want him to play a sport because I’m a firm believer in active children being healthy children and it is a really great way to form friendships that go beyond the classroom.

Instead of being amped on being part of a team, Riley is constantly telling me why he can’t play and it is always riddled with negativity.

A few years ago we discovered that Riley has the worst reaction to sugar. It’s the same reaction that PC has when he has too much sugar and it’s one that most children and adults deal with. Riley gets incredibly emotional and depressed when he has too much sugar, so naturally we curb his sugar intake. The trouble with this is that he is just a kid who also just wants treats. We can’t control what he eats when he gets his tuck on a Friday. So, could this be what is making his negative behaviour worse? Are the early stages of hormonal changes in his body creating these unstable emotions?

Oh man, this was 5 years ago!

Is my kid just starting puberty or do I have something more to worry about? When I think of the possibility of Riley being medicated for depression and the tender age of 10, I die a little inside. As a parent, isn’t it my job to make sure that my child has the kind of childhood he deserves? One with happiness and fond memories? One where he isn’t seeing the worst in every aspect of his life? Was there a parenting course that I missed on how to keep your kids positive and happy?

We’ve decided to start a new approach to parenting with Riley. We’ve challenged him to find one positive thing and concentrate on that. Much like his XBox games that he loves so much, he has to complete tasks during the week now to highlight the good that happens in his day. These range from writing in a journal about a fun thing he did at school, to finding one positive thing to come out of doing any activity that he would typically be negative about.

So far, it is a work in progress but I’m persistent and hate to see Riley so negative. Have any other moms experienced this with their pre-teens? What did you do to change their attitude? Should I start looking at boarding school?

Until next time, I’m on social media here and here.





6 thoughts on “Help! My son is a Debbie Downer”

  1. Hallo – saw your post on SA bloggers. I have a just turned 12 year old daughter and honestly yes, the puberty stuff starts at about 10. What about boosting those endorphins with some serious exercise like swimming? She always says she feels so much better after swimming practice (but she does 1 and a quarter hour 3 times a week – so it’s rather serious exercise) . Or anything very pyshical?


    1. Hi! Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post. I love the idea of getting him active and as a really active person myself, it’s high on the to-do list. Thanks for the great idea! I’m definitely going to get him moving more!


  2. Helloooo….

    Gees, it’s like you could’ve taken the words right out of my mouth. It feels like all the Gung Ho Excitement over Trying New Things or Doing Something has disappeared. I try, really hard, to keep my mind separate from myself this situation, and approach it in a way that responds to my kid’s personality (which, while alarmingly similar to my own, is still a different and whole character on its own). Ultimately, the thing that worked for us was doing what you did – finding a positive and trying to focus on that, but also letting her walk away from things if she wanted to. If she said X no longer excited her, then she dropped X (obviously, unless it was a school subject or something important like bathing :P). Giving her more choices gave her a little more freedom, and stepping back (hardest part) helped her learn ways to find things she wanted to be excited about. I’m not sure if it’s worked, yet, because there are no grand solutions in this parenting shizzle, but I do know that, since I stepped back and focused on supporting new things, she’s taken on two new activities and is keen to do more.

    I’m worried about the same things you are though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a little comforting knowing that I’m not alone in this. I do like the approach of letting go of the apron strings a little more, but man that’s a tough one.
      All of these suggestions are incredible! Thank you!


  3. My worry is not just the negative, but also the sarcasm and eye rolling that my almost 10yo does. I cringe when I hear him say “They did ABC, I mean seriously who does that” with this annoyed voice, and I wish to shake it out of him lol…he’s an all round happy and active boy, but sometimes the negativity and sarcasm get to me!


    1. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I understand this all too well and am starting to think it is just a pre-teen thing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s