What To Do With the “ Negative” Under-7 Child?

We all know this child, the negative child who seems to have less joy than the other children, the one who is already not sure if Santa Claus exists, the one who tends to look at the glass half empty and the one who just seems more like a jaded teenager than a five year old.

Sigh.  That is so hard, so challenging, and so heart-wrenching for so many parents.  Parents really wonder what they did to make their child feel the way they do….  Here is an article from a parent and anthroposophic medical professional’s experience in healing children with physical and emotional challenges that may be of service:  http://www.anthromed.org/Article.aspx?artpk=702

Here are my suggestions to help this child:

1.   Pray about this child, meditate over this child at night whilst they are sleeping,  and practice visualizing a smiling, laughing child in your mind’s eye.  Try to re-frame your very thoughts about this child.

2.   Look carefully at the media diet and adult conversation surrounding this child.  This is most important in so many ways.  As much as possible, this child really does need to be shielded from adult worries and concerns as they are already “adult” enough.  Cut out media if that exists.

3.  Look for physical causes – this is a child who may very well benefit from Flower Essences and homeopathics.  I cannot tell you which ones, but your local homeopath or naturopath should have ways to test and figure out what essences and things would be best.  I have used Flower Essences and homeopathics  to great effect with my own children.

4.  As much as possible, go out of the whole” head”  part and into the body.  Massages, foot rubs, wrestling games, singing games, all the things that really nurture the lower four senses are so important.  It is easy to try to “talk” them out of their negativity, and yet this rarely works!  Work with their body instead!

5.  Model joy for this child as much as possible in your own work.  And show them real work and give them real work to do.

6.  Don’t react strongly to the negative words and such, ho-hum, ho-hum.  You are not responsible for your child’s feelings.  Their feelings are theirs, but at under 7 they should still be very connected to you, so your modeling of emotions is very important.

7.  This is a child who needs to be outside A LOT.  Walking trails, biking, swimming, picking apples and berries, just being, watching birds, hunting for bugs, looking for tracks, building fairy houses, digging in the dirt.    I would shoot for four hours outside a day if at all possible.

8.  This child needs a diet of food close to its natural state that are warming, and please make sure this child is wearing enough layers as well.   See the “warmth” tag on this blog for ideas.  Give this child a lot of emotional warmth. 

9. Do things with this child as a family that are FUN!  Go hiking, roller skating, ice skating, berry picking, apple picking, play games together, go to the park, fly kites. 

10.  This is a child that needs warm and cozy routines for rest and bed times.

It is a challenging situation, but I believe one that a parent can work with if they have the right tools.

Many blessings,


14 thoughts on “What To Do With the “ Negative” Under-7 Child?

  1. just wanted you to know that your blog is changing my life! i know that putting these things into practice doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s giving me hope….as so much of this is EXACTLY what i need to hear. thank you thank you thank you.

  2. My little daughter is pretty much exactly as you’ve described here on most days! (Maybe she’ll grow up to be melancholic like her Mother?) It really is a challenge and is so easy to think that it is all my fault and it shouldn’t be this way. I’ve recently really started to focus on making sure I follow through with our daily rhythm – it is such a great support, and even when she’s having a particularly teary day, I can tell that this is soothing for her (and for Mumma!) Another very timely post 🙂 Thankyou xx

    • I think either, because really under age 7 we get some indications of temperament but we don’t really pinpoint yet…So that’s why I think the overall term “negative” is okay at this point to use as a term 🙂

      Hugs, Carrie

  3. Thank you for this. I have been struggling with my son for some time now. Walks in the forrest seems so sensible I can’t believe I didn’t think of it myself.
    I really appreciate this.

  4. Thank you for these tips – I am trying to really pay attention to how much emotional warmth I provide for my child with negative tendencies. I have also increased our outside time – as much as I can with the weird weather, although we’ve had some really nice days lately – and being out for two hours in the afternoon seems to be helping her really blossom out there!

  5. Pingback: “Negative” children - Platt Discovery Cottage

  6. Hi Carrie,
    I have just discovered your blog and have been reading back-posts. What an amazing resource.

    This post particularly stuck out to me as it really fits my 5 year old son.

    We recently pulled him out of the Waldorf Kindergarten he was attending for a wide array of reasons which I won’t take the time to get into here (but I am sure as a homeschool Mom you would understand completely!). But I am trying to find gentle fairy tales and/or nature stories to do with him. Do you have any suggestions for stories appropriate to really support a child like you describe is this post?! I feel like many of the ones with strong-ish moral messages he will interperate to be negative somehow…but at the same time I would like to support him with some subtle meaningful messages as he really works through discovering “good/bad” etc. But I really could use help with story ideas that emphasize in particular the goodness in our world!
    Thanks so much,

    • Sarah, Welcome to the wonderful world of Waldorf homeschooling! Your little five year may do well with the nature stories from Suzanne Down or the nature stories one can find on http://www.mainlesson.com. I also like the book “Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviors” by Susan Parrow to learn how to create stories that will heal him best. Suzanne Down has a newsletter that comes out by email, if you go to her Juniper Tree Puppetry Website, you can sign up for it.
      Keep us posted as to how things are going,

  7. Carrie,
    Thanks so much for your suggestios. I am going to order the Healing Stories book right now…it looks fantastic! And will be researching your other ideas as well.

    Building stronger and healthier rhythms in our home is going to be key for everyone…amazing how the simplest things can be so challenging for me though! But I know there will be huge rewards for everyone in terms of thriving.

    Looking forward to reading more on your blog…past and future entries!


  8. Just wanted to tell you that we have done two stories from the Healing Stories book in the last couple weeks…I am so grateful for the suggestion! What a profound book!!!
    In gratitude,

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