How to Improve a Teen Boy's Negative Attitude

By Tiffany Raiford
Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images

Few things are as irritating to parents as having a teenage son with a negative attitude. It affects his school work, your home life and his outlook on life and it is simply frustrating. Everything you say and everything you ask is met with a negative expression, maybe even rolling eyes and a definite distaste. You are not alone. Many parents with teenage sons wonder how to change this negative attitude to result in more pleasant, positive kids.

Step 1

Understand that your teenage son’s attitude is probably a result of his egocentric attitude, advises Dr. Paul Ciborowski, counseling professor at Long Island University. Your son is at an age when he is prone to wondering exactly how everything will affect him, which may cause his negative attitude. When you ask him to take out the trash, he might meet your request with a negative attitude. This is because he doesn’t view taking out the trash as beneficial to him, only a nuisance.

Step 2

Point out what his negative attitude is doing to his future, advises Megan Devine, parental support line advisor for Empowering Parents. If your son’s attitude toward school is that it’s not important because he’s never going to use French history or letters and numbers in math during his lifetime, it’s your job to point out what not doing his homework and failing his classes will do to his future. Regardless of whether or not he uses French history during his life, failing to get good grades will affect the colleges he’s accepted into or rejected from, the career he has, the income he is capable of earning and the future he will have.

Step 3

Make a list with your son of everything he has to be grateful for. According to Teri Brown's article "Handling Your Teen's Bad Attitude" for Disney Family, asking your son to make this list will help him see a tangible reminder of everything he has to be positive about. It might be the catalyst that helps change his negative attitude and make him a more appreciative, more positive teen.

Step 4

Ignore your son’s attitude and focus on his behavior instead, advises social worker James Lehman for Empowering Parents. You may not be able to change his attitude but you can change his behavior, which can lead to a more positive attitude. If you can change his behavior by getting him to focus on his schoolwork and apply himself, his attitude toward it may begin to change as his grades rise. He may feel more confident in his learning abilities and that might make him more positive about schoolwork.