8 Ways to Tease a Boy Out of a Bad Mood

black and white picture of boy glaring at camera

1. Inform him that he needs all that negative stuff drained out and to be filled with happy thoughts instead. Suggest something he’d be appalled by, like painting pink daisies on his toenails.

2. Imitate the whining he’s doing and morph it into the whine of a race car. Rev the engine through a few gears, then make the sounds of a car screeching to a halt and crashing.

3. Tickle fight!!!

4. Give him pointers on how to make his pouting more effective.

5. Rate his pout on a scale of 1 to 10.

6. Throw your own fit. Make it big…really put your all into it. (note: this is more effective at home than in public).

7. Pin him down and kiss him all over his face until he starts laughing.

8. Initiate a quick “Who can jump the highest?” competition. Any kind of physical competition works, as long as you get him up and moving a bit.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents of boys in bad moods.

Image courtesy of BobvdK via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • Bob Younce March 19, 2008, 8:31 pm

    #3 is my personal favorite, though I have all girls…

  • Amy March 19, 2008, 9:23 pm

    Hi Bob,

    I spent a lot of time trying to decide if I should include girls and (obviously) decided against it. I have no experience parenting girls and I concluded that I wouldn’t do girls justice if I tried to come up with ways to tease them. Since, after all, the point isn’t really to annoy. Well…maybe just a little. πŸ˜‰

  • troubled teen March 20, 2008, 2:35 am

    i guess tickle fight is much better .. kids really like being tickled

  • Wendy March 20, 2008, 6:24 am

    Amy, wouldn’t a ride in the front seat of the van cheer them up?
    Great list!~Wendy

  • Amy March 20, 2008, 7:06 am

    @troubled teen: Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. I’m very glad you’re here. Yes, it sounds like tickling is the winner so far. Hubby and I use a lot of humor with the boys, which includes physical tickling and the bugging them about nail polish.

    @Wendy: ohhhhhh! You’re naughty! LOL.

  • Michelle (The Beartwinsmom) March 20, 2008, 10:39 am

    I’ve done #1 and #7 lots of times with my boys. I’ll have to try some of the others, especially the jumping contest.

    Great ideas, Amy!

  • Parenting Articles May 5, 2008, 9:22 pm

    #3 is my favorite habit whenever my child jump off into a bad mood. This is a lot of fun and creates an intimate relationship between you and your child. Ohh those cackles…


  • Amy May 6, 2008, 1:34 am

    Hi Jan, thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

    Is there anything better than hearing your child laugh?

  • how to draw August 4, 2008, 2:20 pm

    I saw my boss use number 6 on his nephew. It was great, he was 6’5 and over 300 pounds and man did he throw a fit! In front of 10 of his employees, but boy did it work, the little kid stopped throwing a tantrum immediately and viewed my bosses fit in pure wonder and admiration at a true professional (he actually told his nephew that he was an amateur and this is how the pros do it!) it truly was a work of art. and it really works, he followed him around and was totally well behaved for the rest of the training seminar he was putting on.

  • Modified Mummy November 21, 2008, 8:16 pm

    When my 4 year old is in a bit of a bad mood (or hell, even my husband) we call them out as a grumpy goo. Whether they admit grumpy goo-ness or not, we issue the remedy as quick as we can!

    The best way to stop a grumpy goo is…

    to pull funny faces. We pull funny faces at our son, and eventually he starts to giggle and join in πŸ˜€

  • Amy November 22, 2008, 11:34 pm

    Modified Mummy we say grumpy gus or pouty pete here. Lol. Funny faces is an excellent strategy. I don’t always remember that one. Thanks for the reminder!

  • annoying December 4, 2008, 1:15 am

    My mother used to annoy me like that and now I can’t stand being around her. Now everything she does annoys me. She doesn’t even have to try.

  • Amy December 5, 2008, 3:14 am

    annoying, I’m so sorry to hear that you’re not getting along with your mother. I do it to build the relationship with my boys, and they end up laughing and happy. I wish the same for you, and that you are able to repair the relationship with your mother in the future.

  • Taariq December 11, 2008, 10:42 am

    I wonder if this doesn’t teach him to suppress his real feelings and emotions.
    Bad moods, like good moods, come and go quite naturally.
    So maybe we can learn and pass on to our kids that like all else, “This too shall pass”.

  • Amy December 12, 2008, 12:59 am

    Taariq, I sincerely hope not. You’ve inspired another post on the topic. πŸ˜€ I’m off to write it now. Hope to see you there!

  • Doctorflix December 28, 2008, 9:17 am

    My nephew is quite moody -I tried a few things you have mentioned here, they worked very well….thats a good list thx

  • Jolly Martin December 29, 2008, 6:41 am

    i think 2nd and 5th one is the best idea.

  • hairbroker December 31, 2008, 1:40 am

    some of my sunday school’s students are so moody. 1,2,3 are works for me. sometimes, they so moody just to get more attention

  • Val Garner January 1, 2009, 4:08 pm

    Number 6 is hysterical, learn to draw, great story! Can you imagine being the other adults watching this? Wish I could have been there.

    We would tell them that a birdie might fly by and poop on their lip (because it’s sticking out so much in the pout), it always got a giggle out of them.

  • Amy January 7, 2009, 1:13 am

    DoctorFlix, I’m glad you had success.

    Jolly Martin, did you actually do the whine-car thing? I haven’t used it in a long time. I’ll have to try it on a boy tomorrow for fun.

    hairbroker yes, attention is a big factor. πŸ™‚ I sometimes ask a whiny boy if his love bucket is empty and does he need some hugs to refill it. That often does the trick.

    Val, oh yeah! I used the birdie line years ago but had totally forgotten about it. Way cool, I’m going to use that one tomorrow too. We’ve had a bit of grumpiness now that school has begun again.

  • claudia February 4, 2009, 3:42 am

    no doubt Amy, number 3 works in almost all cases. You just can’t hold yourself from laughing and then some one well said that Laugh drains out the tension from your mind πŸ™‚ Yeah even a child got a brain !don’t they?huh

  • offshore development February 5, 2009, 6:28 am

    My favorite is 7th

  • Amy February 5, 2009, 11:40 am

    claudia, yes #3 works for all parties involved. Wasn’t it Bill Cosby who said that children are brain damaged in his Fatherhood comedy routine? I remember it was hilarious.

    offshore development, I see that you like to go for the affection. πŸ™‚ great choice! It also works to just invite him to get his love bucket filled and then hold him for a while. Sometimes a boy just needs a good hug.

  • Sunny March 24, 2009, 9:27 pm

    I like to do razz on the tummy. That seems to work well lately.

  • Amy March 27, 2009, 10:48 pm

    Sunny, yes that’s always a good one! How old are your kiddos?

  • Badmom March 29, 2009, 11:26 pm

    How about tell him he can take his mood to his room and come out when he’s ready to behave in a more acceptable manner?
    smooches. gack.

  • December March 31, 2009, 12:11 pm

    This was really great! Im a mommy of three very interesting little boys and at least one of them is always in a pissy mood. Some of these I know work (my favorite is when I GET to throw the tantrum) and some of them I havent tried yet, but I cant wait.

  • Amy April 14, 2009, 10:30 pm

    Badmom, I do that sometimes. Generally speaking though, that puts me in a power struggle with the boy. Sometimes I’m willing to have a throwdown, but other times I’d rather help him get out of the mood more gently.

    December, getting inspiration from other parents is one of the big reasons I love being online. πŸ™‚ Good luck!

  • Hindu gods April 15, 2009, 1:27 pm

    But wont No. 6 give him bad examples to follow?

  • Amy April 15, 2009, 3:55 pm

    Hindu gods, yes there is that risk. You have to know your own child before attempting a tantrum. The point was to make him laugh.

    If you already have a relationship that’s got humor as a base, you can get away with throwing your own tantrum and not encouraging him to have one.

  • Mortgage Refinancing April 28, 2009, 1:55 am

    yes no.7 is work for me , my child is 1 year old when he laugh i really feel cool, it give us lots of relaxation. we have to take one lesson from child that we have to always laugh in each and every condition.
    Laughing child always encourage you to be happy in your life.

  • social networking philippines May 6, 2009, 4:01 am

    Re: 8 Ways to Tease a Boy Out of a Bad Mood

    I do prefer no. 3 and no.7…This will depends also the attitude of the child. Basically, if the child would feel the love and care of a parents they will be fine after that.

  • Cash Property Sale May 12, 2009, 11:40 am

    I think I’ve used most all of those at one time or another! They can all work depending on the severity of the mood I’ve found…

  • Diet Blog June 8, 2009, 2:38 pm

    Pure genius! I bet these tactics would work so well! I can’t wait to give them a shot. Thanks!

  • Jerry @ vintage t shirts October 20, 2009, 7:25 am

    I would like to go with 6

  • Secure Web Hosting Services February 1, 2010, 11:58 pm

    First of all the parents should be the role model. If child done anything wrong, the parental first role is they should monitor the child and analyze and think what’s the problem with the child. And rectify those problem from the child.

  • Chris May 18, 2010, 5:15 pm

    number 3 is my method of choice, but i like all them. great ideas to use on my three year old

  • James March 22, 2011, 7:16 am

    My 2 year old boy loves it when I tell him ‘I’ve just seen someone on your slide in the garden’ and he snaps out of his mood.

    • Amy LeForge March 23, 2011, 4:19 pm

      Awwww, 2 years old! They’re so much fun at that age. Enjoy it!

  • Paper cup machines April 20, 2011, 8:03 am

    Great tips. Thanks for sharing..

  • Paper cup machine coimbatore July 11, 2011, 7:07 am

    I would like to go with 4

  • Luke July 12, 2011, 3:53 pm

    I have developed a “You have 10 sec” method.

    Works great for most of the “bad moods”

    Basically am giving a simple command but i add “You have 10 seconds – 10,9,8….” He loves it!

    He loves it so much when hes on good mood, that he cant resist it when hes on bad mood πŸ™‚

    • Amy LeForge July 14, 2011, 12:07 am

      Way to go, Luke! How old is your boy?

  • Non woven bag machine October 8, 2011, 3:44 am

    Lovely work! I’m definitely going to visit the blog frequently.