Parenting Eeyore

Hubs and I have generally cheerful dispositions.  We get cases of the blues every now and then, of course, but by and large, we’re glass-half-full, clouds-have-silver-linings people.  Our two older children inherited this trait, and they both tend to look for the best in a situation.

And then there’s Joseph.

Joseph inherited my Dad’s disposition.  Both of them are precious and warm and funny and affectionate, but they are also trailed by one of those little cartoon rain clouds that reminds them that the worst-case scenario is never far behind. 

Parenting a personality like this is a challenge for us, especially since neither Hubs nor I possess this kind of thinking, as a rule.  We’ve always made an effort to parent our kids based on who they actually are, not who we’d like them to be.  I get it that Joseph sometimes needs the space to work out his little melancholy moments on his own, and I don’t expect him to "snap out of it" just because it would be more convenient for me.

BUT.

This has to be balanced with the fact that there’s a family to run here.  When you have a personality that is often moody and gloomy, it does impact the rest of us.  This has all been magnified of late by the fact that Joseph (who is my bike-riding, tree-swinging, active boy) is feeling as cooped up as I am by this February weather.  AND, of course, he’s five.  I’ve always thought that (even for the most cheerful little people) five seems to be a hard year.  It’s the year you really learn that life isn’t fair.  Sometimes the teacher wants you to practice your letters when you’d rather play blocks.  Sometimes your older brothers get to stay up later.  Sometimes the cafeteria serves spinach. 

All these things taken together mean that my little guy is a funk that puts my own to shame.  I really think I could serve him chocolate cake for breakfast, while dressed as Anakin Skywalker, and he would find a reason to balk at the cruelty of this cold, cold world.

The point of all this (yes, there is one) is that I’d love to hear some feedback from those of you who have parented little gloom-and-doomers.  Or maybe you’re a gloom-and-doomer yourself, with some special insights to this personality.  I really want to find a way to give my little guy space to be himself WITHOUT allowing him to take it too far.  Any thoughts out there?

55 thoughts on “Parenting Eeyore

  1. Kari says:

    The key is (and it’s kinda hard to manage sometimes), find some way to make something fun, even if it’s a little something. Maybe some extra cuddles, or a new box of crayons and a plain package of papers to just color on for no reason?
    A favorite book reading session?
    and then… sometimes understanding goes further than anything else.
    As long as he’s eating right and drinking plenty of water maybe he just needs to mope.
    I get very Eeyoreish at times and the best thing I have found is an occasional hug and a lot of understanding and I can work it out on my own.
    Good luck!
    Hope you get some great workable ideas.

  2. Milehimama says:

    We’ve got a couple of those around here too.
    If you look back at our family photos, one of my sisters is always standing just slightly away from the rest of the family and NOT smiling. I’ve found several pictures of my daughter with the exact same expression!
    She doesn’t just think life is unfair sometimes, she thinks it is deliberately set up against her.
    One thing that you could do is accept his emotional attitude, but give him names for the behavior and ways to overcome it.
    For example, “I see that you are feeling sad because it is cloudy out again and you can’t go outside. Lots of people feel sad this time of year. Sometimes they like to color pictures of springtime so they can remember how sunny it is”. You’ll feel like a total cheeseball but eventually it will be a habit.
    Don’t underestimate the impact weather and seasons can have on kids! Seasonal Affective Disorder (getting the blues when there is not much sunlight) is very, very real (you might want to make sure he gets extra Vitamin D, that seems to help).
    My oldest sp. needs kid freaks out if there is a storm coming and the barometric pressure dips. Seriously, he’d make a great living as a weatherman!
    Mama Says

  3. Monica Smart says:

    I just love your blog and on this one I can relate. It is true that the weather has a huge effect. The best medicine is PROJECTS. Gloom doomers are “up” when they have something in the works. He could be in charge of the family newspaper (popular at our house) where he writes and illustrates the days events and reports them to the family at dinner. Also, finding projects that force them to look outside of themselves. Buying a gift for the elderly neighbor, serving at a soup kitchen, or taking flowers to a hospital. Just thoughts, but I really believe in projects and acts of unselfish service help lift the doom cloud.

  4. Monica Smart says:

    I just love your blog and on this one I can relate. It is true that the weather has a huge effect. The best medicine is PROJECTS. Gloom doomers are “up” when they have something in the works. He could be in charge of the family newspaper (popular at our house) where he writes and illustrates the days events and reports them to the family at dinner. Also, finding projects that force them to look outside of themselves. Buying a gift for the elderly neighbor, serving at a soup kitchen, or taking flowers to a hospital. Just thoughts, but I really believe in projects and acts of unselfish service help lift the doom cloud.

  5. Monica Smart says:

    I just love your blog and on this one I can relate. It is true that the weather has a huge effect. The best medicine is PROJECTS. Gloom doomers are “up” when they have something in the works. He could be in charge of the family newspaper (popular at our house) where he writes and illustrates the days events and reports them to the family at dinner. Also, finding projects that force them to look outside of themselves. Buying a gift for the elderly neighbor, serving at a soup kitchen, or taking flowers to a hospital. Just thoughts, but I really believe in projects and acts of unselfish service help lift the doom cloud.

  6. trixie says:

    Hi Shannon,
    I am and have always been what I would call an optimist and shake things off pretty easily. But my dear husband, George is another story.
    He is much more serious, melencholy in nature and a real thinker. He is very sensitive and gets deeply hurt by what to me seems the littlest thing. This is a big learning experience for me as everyone in my family for the most part are optimists and usually quite cheerful.
    Of course to be fair– he can’t understand why I don’t get bothered by much and don’t take offense easily. Probably makes me seem like I just don’t care.
    He is very much like his Mom in personality, so THAT must have been a real challenge:) or, maybe she understood how he felt? George’s Dad and I are very much alike personality wise.
    Somehow God makes everything work out ok. He puts families together just how He sees fit and while it might be challenging at times and we jokingly think to ourselves “why did God make you THIS way????” we all still have a good time loving each other:)
    Take Care,
    Trixie

  7. Jeana says:

    Oh boy do I have one of these. I may get some flack for this but the thing we do most is the old, “Snap out of it”. I can respect a little upset but when it gets all woe is me I usually do one of the, “You think you have it bad? You don’t know what bad is. You have no idea how good you have it.” speeches. Just this week we had a fall-apart because someone didn’t get to watch a movie, then because I requested a chore get done. We talked about how when someone has too much freedom and not enough responsibilities they get spoiled, so this week there were a few more chores and fewer freedoms.
    The thing is, he/she really does seem to thrive on having more responsibilities! I think there really is something to the whole “being needed” thing. Now that I think about it, this has happened before and when we reworked the chores and bumped everyone up a notch, more responsibilities for a higher age, that seemed to help.
    And five is hard. Even my normally sunny Dawson told me one day, “Remember back when life was so fun? Now it’s just…BORING.”

  8. Mombo says:

    Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay says that it is valid to require that (apart from true grief) your child is fun to be with – not inflicting their mood on others. If they can’t do that then they need to be apart. It validates that we all have gloomy times, but we do not have the right to impose that on others. A good preparation for grown-up life. I highly recommend this book as a whole, not just this little piece of info. Projects, and all, are great, but may send the message that it is someone else’s responsibility to tend to my emotions, not mine.

  9. Brandy says:

    It’s so difficult to parent kids with personalities far different than your own. In my case, half of my kids are stubborn, resistant, type A kids while a couple are whiners. I can deal with the whiners OK, but I struggle to parent the type A’s.
    I used to be prone to depression, so I guess you can say I was a doom-and-gloomer. After I became a Christian, I learned to lay all my gloom and doom struggles on God, and now, when I feel the blues come on, I know I’m too far from God. I turn to Him in prayer or worship, and my depression-inducing anxiety leaves.
    Your kiddo may tend to feel overwelmed easily, or stress about stuff that’s wrong knowing he can’t fix it himself easily or at all. He may be only five, but he’s old enough to understand that God can help him with these things.
    When he’s doing the Eeyore thing, ask him what’s bothering him. Be aware that he may not be able to tell you what’s bothering him. Sometimes depression-prone people get so far removed from the original trigger that they can’t remember it anymore and can only see the feeling which they get stuck on. You may not be able to reach the trigger issue, but you can break him out of that blue feeling by pointing Him to the Hope Giver.
    Remind him God has everything under control, loves him very much, and will help him through whatever comes his way, be it homework or sibling issues. It may help to read such promises (paraphrased in your own words, if necessary) directly out of the Bible, like 1 Corinthians 10:13.
    Always offer to pray for him, asking God to help him overcome whatever he’s struggling with at that time. That way, he will learn to go for prayer when he’s bummed, and he may even begin to ask you to pray for him on his own accord.
    Best wishes with your Joseph. God made him this special way on purpose and has a unique plan for his life. Romans 8:28
    Brandy of The Building Brows

  10. Trixie says:

    Hi Shannon,
    I am and have always been what I would call an optimist and shake things off pretty easily. But my dear husband, George is another story.
    He is much more serious, melencholy in nature and a real thinker. He is very sensitive and gets deeply hurt by what to me seems the littlest thing. This is a big learning experience for me as everyone in my family for the most part are optimists and usually quite cheerful.
    Of course to be fair– he can’t understand why I don’t get bothered by much and don’t take offense easily. Probably makes me seem like I just don’t care.
    He is very much like his Mom in personality, so THAT must have been a real challenge:) or, maybe she understood how he felt? George’s Dad and I are very much alike personality wise.
    Somehow God makes everything work out ok. He puts families together just how He sees fit and while it might be challenging at times and we jokingly think to ourselves “why did God make you THIS way????” we all still have a good time loving each other:)
    Take Care,
    Trixie

  11. motomom says:

    Boundaries. Let him know it is good to have emotions and ok to act on them. However this does not mean he gets ti inflict them on the rest of the family. My boy sometimes just needs a little time in his room alone to work through things. After a while I will wander in and hold him and we will talk it through or just sit quietly. When he was much younger I would “fill him up with sweetness” kissing his belly until he was rofl. Now that he is 10 I still sometmes just grab him and kiss him wherever I can. It still works to bring him out of the funk for a least a little while.

  12. Clemntine says:

    My #2, Pixie, is a physically active little Eeyore type. I agree that 5 is a hard year, for sure. When she was 5, we were realizing that #3, WonderBoy, really wasn’t going to be “okay”, so I didn’t have a lot of time or energy to entertain Pixie on her gloomy days.
    I have found that having a daily routine where there aren’t many surprises helps. When Pixie is anxious, she tends to get very grouchy and negative. When she was five, she had a velcro daily schedule. At night, we’d arrange pictures in the basic order of what was expected the next day: meals, playtime, school (we homeschool), chores, doctor appointments, play dates, and so on. When something was finished, she’d move the laminated square with that picture on it to the “finished” jar. She became more flexible when she saw that even when the things didn’t get done in the order we had placed them, there was still predictability.
    This comment is already long, so I’ll spare you the examples and details, but I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have about our methods.
    Pixie is 10 now, and is quite capable at managing her moodiness. She’s entering the early phases of adolescence and I must say that the years of building a common vocabulary and empowering her to manage herself, not to mention purposefully focusing on words, thoughts, actions, attitudes and motives that glorify God and bless our family have made a positive impact on our family life.

  13. Tara says:

    I have an Eeyore, sort of. He lives on the verge of a breakdown most of the time…and he’s three! He loves to feel needed. Yesterday he volunteered to clean the toilets because they were getting pretty gross! (I settled on letting him wipe down the bathroom counter, a little easier and less messy!) The kid was thrilled for the rest of the day because I let him feel needed.

  14. Jennifer says:

    I have one of those. We “excuse her from the room” so that she can be by herself to calm down. Even if she is tried and grumpy, she “may not talk to us with disrespect” and she is again “excused” from the room.
    We had tantrums in the beginning but we need to teach our kids that they have to display their moods in the right way at the right time. Imagine if you had a co-worker who acted moody and gloomy all the time. It just wouldn’t work.
    I also make sure my daughter does get down time’ I have found the moodiness tends to be when she is required to interact too much with people and she is definitely more of an introvert. We have some comfy lounge about pillows where she can sit and read, we have an art area that she can explore, and a bath is always nice to restore the mood. I also make it a point to try to rub her back and snuggle her to let her know that no matter what I love her.
    Good luck-
    Jennifer

  15. Megan says:

    We definitely have one of these in our family too. And my husband is the same way so it certainly helps to have a parent who totally gets her. She has *certainly* grown into learning how to manage it a bit more as she’s gotten to the ripe old age of 6. I mean I’m talking serious melt-downs in the YMCA lobby when her shoes came untied and I was in a hurry and so told her to walk with them untied.
    I’ve tried the whole “you just can’t do that around the family” routine and that just doesn’t work.
    Last week she was in a funk like she hadn’t had in several months and it was completely disrupting our schooling. I calmly told her I’d like for her to go get some alone time in her bed for a bit. About ten minutes later I went up and held her for another ten minutes (she really needs this – she’s needs to be touched and cuddled). I then said I wasn’t sure why she was in such a funky mood, that I didn’t expect her to tell me why she was in one either, and that I was giving her the morning off to do whatever it was she needed to do to work through it.
    She stayed in bed for another 20 minutes and then began playing with the two younger sisters. By lunch she was fine.
    I don’t know that there is anything we can do to fix this for them. But there is great wisdom in – as you said – parenting them with their personalities in mind, rather than the personalities we’d rather they had.
    Learning to love them as Jesus does… Man, that’s hard sometimes. Okay, all the time…

  16. floorplan says:

    I tend toward eeyore-ishness. My daughter is one of those sunny optimist types. I have often found myself praising God, because I call her “my tonic”, and she is such a gift.
    SO…if you are Joseph’s tonic, here are the things she does that help change my perspective:
    She says truth out loud. (“Oh, mom, there’s no perfect mom, but you are the best mom I ever could have had!” good theology)
    She hugs and smiles and keeps moving forward to the next thing.
    She forgives readily.
    I noticed yesterday, my aerobics teacher is the same personality. We just had a major snowstorm here in the Northeast, but she was going ahead with the class anyway. When I called to say I was coming she responded with a whoop and “You’re AWESOME!” very cheerleader-y. I felt like I could move a mountain after that simple thing.
    and get that boy some sunshine and fresh air. It is NOT as cold in the midwest as it is up here, i gar-on-tee ya.
    debbie

  17. floorplan says:

    i would agree with Tara, whose little guy cleaned the toilet. Eeyores THRIVE on being needed; in my case, I like to be needed, praised, but kind of in charge of the direction/vision of the project and NOT micro-managed. Because Eeyores tend to be artistic, visionary…tell me if i’m way off base, you other moms.
    debbie

  18. Rach says:

    the anakin skywalker bit has me in stitches.
    as a former gloom-and-doomer myself, my mom would always say, “Rachey, do you need to talk it out?” or, “Let’s go for a walk.” Just hearing those words and getting some physical exercise REALLY helped, even when I was 7.

  19. Rach says:

    the anakin skywalker bit has me in stitches.
    as a former gloom-and-doomer myself, my mom would always say, “Rachey, do you need to talk it out?” or, “Let’s go for a walk.” Just hearing those words and getting some physical exercise REALLY helped, even when I was 7.

  20. Michele says:

    I cannot speak to the overall “Eeyore Mood” your son may have but I can speak on the treatments for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). If he truly has SAD or the Winter Blues, light might be your answer. “God saw the light, and it was good!”
    Light therapy has been such a blessing to me over the past 10 years since I found out about the effects of constant gloom from being house-bound in winter months. I have found getting 15 minutes of light shining at the back of my neck to be most effective.
    There are expensive light-boxes made for this purpose but honestly, I use a simple everyday halogen lamp aimed directly at me.
    For information from a more reliable source than me look at the Mayo Clinic link below.
    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/seasonal-affective-disorder/MH00023

  21. Sheri says:

    I have one of those, problem is now he’s 12 and he’s even worse. Everything is something to get upset about. Even if he gets his way or we surprise him with something he really wants he acts like we have asked him to scrub the toilets. It’s hard, but hugs still work (even if he rolls his eyes and acts like he doesn’t like them) and making favorite meals tends to go a long way also.

  22. Suki says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t have a tip, just some sympathy. I was a mix between little miss sunshine and eeyore as a kid. I was, and still am, by and large a happy go lucky person. But sometimes, wow, the funk could get me and it still can. But my funk got really complicated as a kid because I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone about it, like I HAD to be this happy, cheerful kid, like I couldn’t burden my family with my problems (there was a lot of other stuff going on in my family over the years that I felt was causing enough drama that I didn’t need to add to it). So over the years I tried to push those funky tendencies down, but it doesn’t work, it can’t work and eventually I had serious anxiety issues that were manifesting themselves physically because that was the only negative feeling or emotion I couldn’t ignore and just push down. With therapy, introspection and great support, I am getting better at dealing with all my emotions, including the negative ones.
    I guess my point is this: you are doing such a good thing by recognizing this in Joseph, accepting that it is part of who he is and working together to deal with it. I can tell that you are not this sort of mom, but please, please don’t make him feel embarassed, guilty or like he has to hide himself or his emotions. Also, I agree that he shouldn’t impose his bad moods on the family, but don’t shun him or push him away when he is sad, or he may start to think that he is only lovable and acceptable when he is happy. I guess a key is making him realize that his feeling are okay and are not something to be ashamed of, but that he must learn to control his behaviors. It is not the feeling that are bad, but the behaviors that result from them.
    And I am in no way trying to slam the “snap out of it people” but as someone who has suffered from anxiety and depression, wow, I can’t tell you how hard it is to hear something like that, because honestly when you are anxious or depressed, you probably say that to yourself 100 times a day. There is nothing you want more than to “snap out of it” and be your “normal” self, but sometimes it’s just not that easy.
    You, Joseph and your whole family will get through this!

  23. Kahri says:

    Thanks for writing this..I am enjoying everyone’s tips! I have an Eeyore hubby and 5 year old. I try my best to stay sane, but sometimes they drive me crazy! I, who am usually sunshiney, get a bit eeyore-ish myself when dealing with them. I am going to keep an eye on the tips you are getting!

  24. Shalee says:

    Going out on a limb here… My Mr. Right is on anti-depressants not because he’s depressed, well he is but it’s not because he hates life and all there is in it, but because he discovered at 35 that he has a chemical imbalance. He had NO control over his moods… these same moods that make him want to just crawl into bed to sleep for – oh 20 hours a day. He is a glass half-full guy, but he was combating a body that said “Just break the glass and forget about it.” He’s medicated now and his only regret is that the imbalance was not discovered sooner when he was a kid so that he didn’t feel badly when he couldn’t just “snap out of it.” So I guess my recommendation is that you actually have Joseph tested because it may not be an emotion thing to be “cured”, but rather a chemical one that just needs some readjustment.

  25. Kai says:

    No experience parenting an “Eeyore”, but 28 years experience being one. The key for me is carving out quality alone time. Though that’s hard to do because of his age, perhaps carving out a place in the house that is just his where he knows he could go and not be bothered, a special chair or rug in a quiet room? For me having a creative outlet was key too. Does he draw or paint at all?

  26. elizabeth says:

    Well, Dan, Moo and I are a family of first- borns. And then there is that 3rd grader who lives with us. LOOOOONG story short, we ALL know the words to the old Hee-Haw song, “Gloom, Dispair, and Agony on Me”. Just last week Dan’s phone was accidentally left on and my mom heard me sing it at the top of my lungs as we loaded into the car to head out for dinner… We laugh lots.
    I’m thankful that I am allowed to have moods and still be around my family, so he gets to have his moods, too. Otherwise we might never see how great he is, because he’d always be in his room.
    I guess we just love him anyway.

  27. Goslyn says:

    Tom is too little to be an Eyeore yet, but SuperHubby has many, many gloomy moments. I’ve found what he really needs is space and time to himself, and the knowlege that I’m here to listen and support him when he’s ready to talk about it. I try to encourage him to work on whatever his current project is or to take time to goof off on the computer when I see a down mood coming on. Good luck with little Joseph.

  28. jaime says:

    My daughter gets this way sometimes, too. To help cheer her up a little, we try to give her a little time alone with either myself or her dad. Sometimes we just play in the yard, or take a short walk. Other times a trip to McDonalds and the play place. On occaision I have taken her to the nursing home where her great grandpa is staying. This cheers her up especially well, because she is showered with affection by ALL the residents- not just papa. And she in turn cheers the residents up too!

  29. Emily says:

    Hi Shannon!
    I am a former Eeyore turned major sunny-side-up… who can still lapse into Eeyore-like tendencies.
    Things that help:
    1- Counting my blessings. Maybe having him make a list of things he’s thankful for/lucky to have? Sitting and thinking for a minute on how lucky I am can really pep me up on days when I can only see the gray.
    2- Thinking about other people’s feelings. Whoever said turning to those outside can help is right. Both for needing to feel needed, and for being more concerned with how someone else is doing than how you are- kills self-pity! Maybe if he’s getting in a gray mood have him think of someone who is having a hard time or who means a lot to him and have him sit and pray for them or write them a card, etc?

  30. traci says:

    WOW..what a HUGE response. I dont have a doom and gloom but I do have an IN CHARGE, STRONG WILLED sweetie. I am very low keyed, calm, easy going, quiet kinda gal so I have really had to call on God for positive ways to handle my daughter who thinks VERY differently than mommy. I think many people are right in letting them be in charge of something that means something to THEM. If his mood is not weather related but like this all yr. then just allow him to be who he is and focus on what he thrives on or what makes him feel peaceful. A friend told me she took her grandson to McDonalds to just spend quality time with him like she did the other grandkids….she took them all seperately to focus just on them. All the others were happy, talkative, giddy, the whole thing. Ryan was very calm, somber and once he got his hamburger he lifted the bun and was APPALLED that “those people couldnt even put HIS meat on straight!” She was ticked he wasnt seeming to enjoy this and could just find fault with such a little thing but this was “HIS PERSONALITY”….. She met him where HE was and he realized granny was interested in HIM ,….. this was not a compaint on his time with granny but simply the way he is wired…..

  31. Kara says:

    Well, I’m not parenting a doom-and-gloomer, I’m married to one, but that’s almost the same lol ๐Ÿ˜› It is hard. I really don’t have any advice though. Sometimes I think my hubby actually likes to get in those moods, cuz no matter what I do to try to make him feel better he comes up with something to moan about.
    And now I keep imagining you serving chocolate cake dressed as Anakin Skywalker lol.

  32. Jenny in Ca says:

    I have one of those, she is 10 right now. And I honestly don’t know how to help her. She reminds me of my sister..who has finally as a grown-up mother grown out of it, but not before she went through a real cynical stage, this scares me and I spend much time on my knees for my daughter. I would say to hug alot, I didn’t, I guess, and it is hard to hug her now, she is all angles and shies away. She faces life as if everything is set against her, everything is always unfair towards herself. We do not allow her to run away with the complaining, because that does impact everyone else. I try to praise her on things, genuine things that are praiseworthy, not empty praise. This seems to please her. I honestly don’t know how to reach her, birthday and christmas I don’t know what to buy her. She doesn’t exhibit any passions or strong likes, it is really, really hard. She likes to take walks with me, and I try to do some one on one things with her. The only advice I can give is to always be praying for your eeyore.

  33. Jenny says:

    Hi Shannon, I just wanted to stop in and say hi. I found your blog a few months ago and have been hooked ever since. Your How-to blog has been very handy to have around! I enjoy reading!

  34. mopsy says:

    Shannon, I am the Anti-Pooh.
    I have Eeyore tendencies and so does one of my sons. I have no advice, other than be patient. If he is a born-Eeyore, then any attempts at changing him will be an exercise in frustration for all of you. We aren’t exactly barrels of monkeys to live with, but we have our moments. This may come as a surprise but Eeyores aren’t necessarily unhappy.
    Eeyores bring an interesting and vital balance to the world. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  35. Robyn says:

    We have a little 5 year old Eeyore too and I frequently “ruin everything” because “this is the worst day EVER!”. To be honest I do feel like the worst parent in the world sometimes so I don’t know if you want this advice! ๐Ÿ™‚ I let her vent her negativity to a point, I figure that her feelings are real even if her perception is skewed so she kows that I want to listen to her BUT when she’s especially negative I get her to tell me the positives too, generally we aim for 3 positives for every negative so if the day has been a “disaster” I ask her to tell me 3 good things that happened, if she complains about one of her friends then I get her to tell me 3 things she likes about them etc.For my little Eeyore it helps, however we aren’t cooped up inside in the bleak midwinter so you guys have my sympathies.

  36. Jenny says:

    Hi Shannon. I just had to comment on this one since my hubby and one of my children are the same way. I can get so easily frustrated and angry that their moods influence the rest of us. But, I am quickly reminded to ask the Lord for wisdom and insight into my child. He usually gives me the extra love and ideas I need to help her. That being said, the worst thing my husbands parents ever did for him was to allow him to wallow in self-pity. That is not of the Lord and He can give us His joy in our hearts. I long for my daughter to know this. Practically speaking, I find that exercise and music does wonders. You cannot praise the Lord and grumble at the same time!! Hope this helps! Take care.
    Jenny

  37. Sarah's in the Midst of It says:

    We have a rule in this house–you’re welcome to be as grumpy as you want, for as long as you want–as long as you do it alone, in your bedroom. No grumpiness is allowed to spread to any of the rest of us.
    Since everybody but me in this family is generally ALWAYS happy, that means I get to spend a lot of time in my room.
    It’s a fantastic system ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. HeatherW says:

    I know you’ve already heard from all the weather folks, but I just have to reemphasize it. I’ve had a couple of conversations this week with friends who live with Eeyores and they both said February is the hardest month. They’re trick for getting through it: close their eyes, cross their fingers, and repeat “March is coming! March is coming!” But I guess that would only work for you, not Joseph.

  39. Jenifer says:

    I have an 8 yr. old Eeyore. I also have Eeyore tendancies ๐Ÿ˜ฎ The best advice I can give is not to indulge that side of his personality. Let him express it to a point but after that he needs conseqenses (whatever you use in your family). It’s just not good for him to indulge in negative thinking because there’s no end to it! He won’t suddenly start thinking good things.
    We want to give our Eeyore tools to help him with this negative aspect of his personality. Just as the sanguine needs to learn how to let someone else have the spotlight from time to time the melocholy needs to learn control over his thoughts (don’t we all?!). A couple things we do…
    1. Put Philippians 4:8 on his cork board in his room. “Finally, brothers whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable- if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise-dwell on these things.” We put blank paper under the qualitites (true, pure,etc). Anytime in his day to day life he notices something true, praise worthy,etc. he writes it under the quality. If he has a bad attitude and keeps complaining we’ll sometimes have him think of something to write down on cork board. It’s a way to redirect his thoughts. And there is ALWAYS something to list!
    2. My husband made him a “Bad Attitude Buster” index card that is also on his cork board. He wrote three steps on it that dear son is to follow when he’s stuck in a bad attitude. (1) Find the card (2) Ask God to forgive him for his bad attitude (3) Thank God for 3 things
    I’ve noticed too that I can usually redirect his complaints by scripture- the Truth. Well, I’d continue but hubby it taking me out!!!
    Hope this helps!!

  40. The Preachers Wife says:

    My number 2 boy is the SAME personality of your Joseph. He is 9. I just asked him what someone could do for him to make things better when he feels life just isn’t fair…He said, “Just buy me a PSP (video game thing)”. Yeah, whatever. Really though, his love language is affection and a little extra TLC always seems to work for him. BUT, there are times when he takes the moping and whining way too far. This is when I use the “you could be living in Africa, playing in your own poo and eating out of a dumpster” talk. If he isn’t in therapy by the time he is 10, I’ll assume it is working..:) It is the good mom who isn’t afraid to ask the question and see what works for her. You will be fine..!!

  41. Jeana says:

    After my “snap out of it” comment, I wanted to clarify something: It seems there are two very different issues being discussed here. One is clinical depression, the other is a melancholy personality (like one of the four main personality types: sanguine, phlagmatic and choleric being the other three.) I would not tell a child who was struggling with depression to snap out of it.
    When I say I have an Eeyore child I mean he has a melancholy disposition, and Jenifer said it perfectly: The sanguine will have to learn to let someone else have the spotlight, the choleric will have to learn not to be so bossy, the phlagmatic will struggle with laziness and the melancholy will struggle with always thinking he got the short end of the stick.
    When my child has been happy all day and suddenly his life is ruined because he didn’t get the biggest cupcake, I say, “Suck it up and snap out of it.” If he consistently had the blues, I might think it was more depression-related. So I guess, Shannon, before you decide what to do you need to figure out what you’re dealing with.

  42. Aunt Murry says:

    Didn’t read all the answers so this may not be new. Nephew 3 of 5 is very much like this. He has seemed to deal with it better as he has gotten older. He is now 13. He is actually the 4th of 5 and was very young when his parents divorced. Leaving him be has always been the best solution for us but then we are not his immediate family. We usually just set him up in the bed room with videos when he is in that “mood” To some extend he is like his Aunt with SAD. I bought a light that simulates sun light and it has helped alot. You are correct in thinking that the “Snap out of it” approach does not work. Being gentle when inquiring about his mood and the reason for his “mood” has always worked best in my opinion. Talking helps and lots of cuddles.

  43. Lei says:

    I think melancholy times are a good opportunity to go out serve someone else. Involve him in something charitable… a toy donation, a visit to a rest home, a card for an ill friend or family or neighbor, bake cookies together for a neighbor, go shovel someone’s walkway together… teaching him to get outside of himself when he’s withdrawn or down is the best medicine.

  44. Lei says:

    And another idea for a quick pick-me-up… bringing the outdoors in. Have an indoor beach day – let him take a long bubble bath, eat ice cream cones, adapt favorite outdoor activities for inside play…

  45. Lei says:

    And as a quick pick me up – bring the sun inside. Have an indoor beach day – let him hang out in the bathtub, make snowcones, adapt whatever other favorite activities he has for inside play.

  46. HolyMama! says:

    i’m a recovering eeyore. as a kid, what helped was my mom’s empathy. i knew SHE didn’t see it the way i did, but it meant so much that she was willing to understand how the world was for me.
    then i married The Most Optimistic, Positive Man On The Planet. That helps too.

  47. HolyMama! says:

    i’m a recovering eeyore. as a kid, what helped was my mom’s empathy. i knew SHE didn’t see it the way i did, but it meant so much that she was willing to understand how the world was for me.
    then i married The Most Optimistic, Positive Man On The Planet. That helps too.

  48. roxanne says:

    i am Joseph all grown up. i believe i am a word in progress if that gives you some hope. and i too am married to the most optmistic person know to the planet! it really does help. perhaps you could pray this as a characteristic in joseph’s furture wife. oh i read joe’s comment about the lemonaide and loved it! my daughter won’t take tylenol because she says it gives her a headache………. what do you say to that!?

  49. Cathy says:

    I agree with those who say that perhaps he should be tested for depression. Maybe he is just a glass half empty kind of guy, but if he is truly depressed, think of all the years of grief you’ll be saving him if you get him help now! My roommate finally got help for his depression at the age of 25. He literally did not remember a time in his life that he had ever been happy, and his parents had never done anything except tell him to “snap out of it” because he “had always been that way.” A few weeks of anti-depressents and he said it was like he was alive for the first time in his whole life. He also goes to talk therapy to deal with the concept of life feeling okay for the first time ever. He was on the verge of suicide before he got help. Please get your son tested. If he has a chemincal imbalance, all the positive talk in the world won’t help him.

  50. reed says:

    I really believe the best way to handle Joseph is to grab him by the scruff of the neck and tell him he “better cheer up or you will kick is @%&* so hard he will have to take his pants off to eat!” (That is the version I remember.) I can’t remember if my sunny-dispositioned father tried that with me or if I read it in “Shepherding a Child’s Heart”. Either way, I am sure he would really respond to that. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Good luck. -rsd

  51. Just Jana says:

    “Raising Your Spirited Child” by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I’ve read all the parenting books suggested so far, plus more, and this one takes the cake. Whether you think your child is spirited or not, this book will revolutionize how you related to each one of your kids. This book helped me to have a peaceful, meaningful, and successful relationship with my Eeyore.

  52. Susan G. says:

    Shannon – My oldest is an Eeyore and I am reading a book that I am finding very helpful -“The Temperament God Gave You. The Classic Key to Knowing Yourself,Getting Along with Others and Growing Closer to the Lord” by Art and Laraine Bennett (availble at Amazon).
    It goes through the four classic temperaments other commenters have mentioned (choleric, melancholic, sanguine, and phlegmatic) plus it explores parent/child and spousal relationships using different combinations of the temperaments. (The book is written from a Christian persective.) This book is not only helping me with my son – it is helping relate to everyone in my life.
    I am not doing the book justice (my 4 kids have all had the stomach flu for a week – I am tired!!). Feel free to email me if you want more detail.
    Hoping I make sense….
    Susan G.

  53. Kristin says:

    I love this post! I am an Eeyore and our firstborn is also (we have 4 plus 1 due in all.) I can agree 100% w/ some of the posts here. We had a tough 3 yr old year w/ our son, and a tough 5 yr old year. Suggestions: more responsibility of his OWN not shared, offer him the ability to look forward to projects that need to be completed, and have adult-type conversations w/ him about what to expect next. I found that my son’s moods got worse when he was thrown off guard. Also, it hit me one day when he was about 5.5 – he has the weight of the world on his shoulders b/c he knows he cannot control everyone and he’s not in control. I repeated the phrase that year about a million times, “The world does not revolve around you, now get over it.” or “You are not in charge of this – this is my job not yours – give it up.” Then by offering distractions for him he was able to refocus. HAVE FUN WITH YOUR EEYORE!

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