The Over-The-Top Pout

Sometimes, when E starts a new class/activity we enrol him in, he complete shuts down, starts pouting, refused to take part, stands by a wall/on the sidelines, and just shakes his head while repeating “no” anytime someone tries to get him to participate.

Notice how I say sometimes. He does not do this with outdoor soccer, and not when he knows someone else (so we try to do that when we can). He usually does not start out this way. Instead, usually a game of tag or something will send him into this state.

Both DH and I are at the end of our ropes with this behaviour. When it happened when he was 2 or 3, we just assumed he’d grow out of it. But, he keeps doing it as he gets older, and it gets more annoying every time (and embarrassing too!).

We’ve tried positive strategies (talking it up before hand, getting him to choose  the activities, being super encouraging, offering rewards, etc.), neutral strategies (ignoring behaviour), and negative strategies (time outs, lecturing, taking away privileges).

Sometimes he’ll eventually and reluctantly start participating, but with an over-the-top-pout, continually looking at us (to make sure we know he’s not happy?), faking like he’s hurt, etc.. NOTHING seems to have the desired affect of getting him to participate in a positive way.

Any thoughts or tips?? HELP!!!


Comments on: "The Over-The-Top Pout" (4)

  1. Are these activities something you feel he must do, or are hoping he’ll just like? If it’s the latter, maybe you can hold off and try again at a later date when he might be able to handle it better. Sort of like getting kids to eat a wider set of food—keep offering, but don’t push. If it’s a must-do, good luck! My kid is only two (and only just barely) but is STUBBORN AS F***. He has refused to eat meat for about a year, but then bit the head and tail off a whole fried fish a few weeks ago. Go figure. We are constantly trying to negotiate around things we consider musts (brushing his teeth) vs. things we’d like him to try but won’t insist upon (meat, button-down shirts). It helps us to try to think about how the world looks from his perspective, although we are not always so empathetic when we’ve spent 5 minutes trying to wrestle him down to brush his teeth!


    • Yes – we definitely try to use this strategy when appropriate. It’s odd though, because these are activities he CHOOSES to do (like a sport or class).


  2. Is your child an introvert? My child is a bit like how you describe yours -it may be a built-in fear of something new or different. Or he may be overwhelmed by so many other kids, or kids invading his space. The book Raising your spirited child has a section on introverts and it helped me understand my child’s behavior better and how to deal with it.


    • He is an introvert – just like both his parents 😉 I’ve heard of that book from many people – I’ll have to check it out. Thank you!


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