For many parents, having a daughter can be very life-enhancing and fulfilling. However, parenting isn’t always easy since there are no how-to guides that can give step-by-step instructions for every possible problem that might be experienced. Fortunately, most parents do just fine and their daughters (and sons) grow up to be happy and responsible adults. If you have a daughter whom you love very much but is always sulking, then you aren’t alone. Perhaps your daughter is frequently unhappy and seems to sulk on a regular basis. If so, then here is a guide that can provide you with some useful information as well as tips to reverse this type of behavior:
Definition of sulking
First of all, you may need to know what sulking means. Sulking means to behave in an ill-tempered and pouting manner. A person who sulks may be withdrawn and refuse to talk to others. If the person is forced to talk to others, then he or she may appear to be aloof, depressed and disinterested. If this describes the manner in which your daughter has been behaving in lately, then you have chosen an accurate term to describe it.
What causes girls to sulk frequently?
You might be wondering why your daughter sulks on a regular basis. Not only can sulking be annoying, but it can have a negative effect on your relationship with her. Many children, both boys and girls, sulk or pout because they have not yet learned to adequately express their emotions. Sulking occurs in both younger and older children, usually in response to not getting their way or being reprimanded for wrongdoing.
Puberty and monthly menstrual cycles could cause a teenage girl to sulk more frequently. Hormonal changes can cause her mood to become sullen or even angry. You will know that her menstrual cycle is responsible for increased sulking if you notice that it happens more often during certain times of the month on a regular basis.
How to manage a sulking daughter
How do you manage your daughter’s sulking behavior when it seems to be occurring more and more frequently and you feel as if you could pound your fists on the table? Despite the fact that it can be very frustrating, you don’t want to give in to frustration and start yelling at your daughter when she sulks. This will not help the problem, and in fact, it will only make you both feel worse. While managing your daughter’s sulking will take time, patience and effort, there are effective solutions for sulking. Here are some more effective management techniques that you can use instead of letting it get under your skin:
- Communication – Communication is the key to making any relationship work, whether the relationship is a marriage, parent and child, or even employer and employee. If you aren’t able to sit down and really talk to your child on a regular basis, then you will never make any progress. Of course the age of your child is important, too. If your child is old enough to be reasonable, then you can sit down with her and discuss her sulking. Be sure to explain what sulking is and assure her that you’re not angry with her. Also, make it a priority to explain how behaving in a pouty and sulking manner only makes the both of you feel worse. You should also explain that you don’t want her to feel bad, which is why you want to help her to stop sulking. If she is receptive, then that is good and you can make progress quickly. If she isn’t receptive and refuses to respond or even listen, then keep trying. Eventually she will listen.
- Teach/educate – While children learn at school from their teachers—and other children—they learn first and foremost at home from their parents. Even when you aren’t aware, you daughter and any other children are learning from you and picking up habits—both good and bad—from you. This is why it is important that you manage your own emotions appropriately. If things don’t go your way, then you shouldn’t go on a tirade, especially if your daughter is around. You should handle the disappointment positively, even though you won’t feel so positive at the moment. If you don’t control your emotions when things don’t go your way, you’re only reinforcing your daughter’s sulking behavior. She will learn from you that it’s ok to pout and sulk in response to not getting what she wants. However, if you handle all disappointments positively, then your daughter will be less likely to sulk as often.
- Quality time – It is important that you spend as much quality time with your daughter as possible. Even if you have other children, you need to take the time to spend one-on-one time with each one. Children who feel loved and supported by their parents are often able to mature at a more rapid rate, enabling them to manage their emotions appropriately at younger ages. You should also show affection towards your daughter and tell her that you love her often. Some children need more reassurance and attention than others.
If your daughter is a toddler, then you may have to use other techniques to minimize her sulking. You could still sit down and communicate with her, but it, of course, has to be on a level that she can relate to and understand. Play games and participate in activities that can help her to express herself. Not only can these games be fun and enable the two of you to strengthen your bond, but it can help to minimize her sulking episodes, which is your main goal.
Sulking & other behavior problems
If your daughter not only sulks on a regular basis, but she also exhibits some other behavioral issues, then you need to monitor her closely. She could be suffering from an underlying condition that is causing this negative behavior. Here are just some conditions that your daughter could be suffering from:
- ADHD – More and more children are being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Luckily, there are effective treatments, including medications, behavior modification and therapy.
- Mental illness – There are numerous mental illnesses that could cause your daughter to exhibit sulking and other behavior problems on a regular basis. Depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder are just some of the possible causes. If you suspect that your daughter could be suffering from a mental illness, then you need to make an appointment to have her evaluated by a licensed psychologist. Your daughter’s pediatrician may need to provide you with a referral.
- Bullying victim – Growing up can be difficult, and some children experience more challenges than others. Your daughter could be bullied at school, which could explain her negative behavior and low moods. During your talks with your daughter, make sure you inquire about how school is going. Ask about her friends and how her day was every single day. If you suspect that she is being bullied from your conversations, then you need to take action. Contact the school and set up a time to meet with the counselor, teachers and even the principal. Bullying can have serious consequences, so you shouldn’t take it lightly.
As you can see, sulking is normal among children of all ages. However, if your daughter seems to sulk on a regular basis, then you might want to start monitoring her more closely. If you suspect that she might be suffering from an underlying condition, then you need to have her evaluated as soon as possible. Once she has been diagnosed, then she can receive treatment, which should minimize her sulking and any other behavioral problems. This will not only help your daughter, but it will help all other the other members of the household as well.