How to console a really upset 10 year old

(14 Posts)
mumwithtwokids Mon 17-Oct-11 10:24:52

Hi all,

DS has been going through a really tough time lately as one of his friends passed away early this year but the grieving didn't hit him until late August early September. Went to speak to his teacher as for the past 2 months he's been unconsolable, constantly complaining of tummy ache when bedtime approaches, hasn't been sleeping well, constantly sleep walks and is terrified he's going to pass away. He went to see a councillor and things started to improve.

So far he's sat two grammar school exams and the first was good news but received news of the second this Saturday which wasn't as good. He missed out by 4 point but I'm so proud of him. I wasn't sure whether to tell him or not as I was worried he'd relapse but decided that he should know as a few other children in his class also sat the exam.

He was really upset by the news and started crying and being really hard on himself despite my DH and I re-assuring him and stating we were very proud of him. He seemed to improve as the day went on but last night was awful. His tummy hurt all night, he didn't get any sleep whatsoever and he's now talking about death again and how scared he is. He also didn't want to go into school today as he didn't want to have to tell the other boys that he didn't make it in fear they would tease him. I just felt like crying when I left him at the school gate.

I'm beside myself with worry and don't know what to do anymore. I feel so bad putting him through this all and starting to think that maybe I should pull him out of his last entrance exam. I just really don't know what to do anymore. Would be grateful for any advice.

Tortington Mon 17-Oct-11 10:27:21

in your shoes i would pay for counselling
leave the exams and not pile on any more pressure
buy him something nice and maybe let him have some time off school
praise him for soething other than academia which he is good at - musical instrument - the arts?

just take the rpessure off a bit, so he doesn't do it now - so what - life is long and educatio never stops

DeWe Mon 17-Oct-11 10:40:50

On perhaps a practical note, have you told the school you're sitting the exam for that he has "emotional" problems atm? I would expect them to be able to take that into consideration.

Ask him whether he wants to do the exam.
My gran was expected to die over the time I was doing 11+ (she didn't as being a stubborn old lady managed to live another 10 years) and there was a lot of stress in the family including going to visit her (200 miles away) most weekends. Even so, I wouldn't have wanted to not do the exams I'd been preparing to, but I can see that some children would feel better for not doing it.

Remind him he passed the other one too smile

mumwithtwokids Mon 17-Oct-11 10:58:03

Hi All,

Thanks for your messages.

No we haven't told the school that he was having emotional problems as we didn't want them to think that we are just wrangling for appeal which is not the case. In the essay he wrote about the things he wanted to do before he died which did surprise me but it was at the time it was really on his mind.

Before applying for entrance exams he was fine no problem. We spoke to his teacher and advised we were thinking of grammar but wanted to know if she thought he was capable as I know these exams can sometimes do more harm than good. She encouraged us to go for it as she was certain he would do well. He's always been top of his class and never not done well at anything. We didn't tutor him just gave him an extra hand here and there as we didn't want him to feel any pressure.

What's worrying me too is that my MIL has terminal cancer. DS doesn't know anything about this but I'm really worried how he'll react when the inevitable happens.

belledechocchipcookie Mon 17-Oct-11 11:06:30

Winston's wish do some very good work with children who have lost someone/will lose someone, www.winstonswish.org.uk. You really need to tell the school what's going on, he needs more support then you are able to give and they will be able to help.

mumwithtwokids Mon 17-Oct-11 11:17:56

Hi belledechocchipcookie,

His current school know the situation as I spoke to his teacher hence the councillor seeing him and a few other children in his class.

Problem is that any bit of news which isn't great is having an effect.

belledechocchipcookie Mon 17-Oct-11 12:20:30

It sounds as though he needs more help then the what the schoool are able to offer at the moment and it is going to take time. He's going to be feeling pretty low, to lose 2 people is going to be hard on anyone, especially a child. I really would contact winstonswish and see if they are able to help him as well. His current school should have notified the grammar school of any difficulties your son is facing, there's no way he can perform at his best with all of this going on.

funnyperson Mon 17-Oct-11 20:45:45

mumwithtwokids I think you should chat to your GP about this as perhaps your DS needs trained help because this has now been going on for a while and he sounds a bit depressed.
He has done really well to get into one of the schools hasn't he so at least he has somewhere good to go for secondary, and you might want to all emphasize that at home. He will find when he goes into school that he wont be the only one who doesn't have all round good news so its good for him to be with his peers and not stick at home.
You haven't mentioned this, but yours and DH and sibs response to how your DS does in these exams is important. So many parents think they have failed if their children fail grammar school exams and that isnt good for the children. So there's my twopence worth hmm And yes, perhaps school could put in a gentle word on DS behalf to the places he is applying to. No harm in specifically asking DS school's advice and then asking them to contact the grammar schools if they think it sensible-personal communications between the two schools are better in these circs.

hackneyLass Tue 18-Oct-11 00:08:19

mumwithtwokids – sounds familiar: my 10 year old has big mood swings, fragile, tummy aches, very worried about death (we have a couple of ill people in the family) etc. He is also doing a grammar school exam soon and periodically gets very upset and talks about us wanting a perfect son (not at all).

I think it is partly to do with their age, hormones, the whole secondary school malarkey, different expectations as they get older and a growing realisation that life is not all wonderful - a whole load of things. I think life just feels a lot more uncertain to them.

What seems to help the most are: his friends; seeing a counsellor at school; talking about death when he wants to; making sure we have fun when he feels more upbeat; and a certain amount of distraction mainly through physical exercisesmile

fasn8tor Tue 18-Oct-11 15:45:46

I don't think this behaviour sounds at all normal or to do with their age :-( it sounds like the behaviour of people who are very stressed.

Can he not just go to the grammar that he got in at? If I have read your post correctly OP he has managed to get into one? Can you not send him there and cancel the third exam?

He definitely sounds as though he needs counselling. Have you considered that in fact a highly pressured grammar environment may not be the best place for him in September?

aliceliddell Tue 18-Oct-11 15:52:24

Appeal the decision on grounds of emotional distress, you have evidence. We did this with dd (long story) and they reversehd the decision immediately. Good luck. Also, try youngminds.co.uk

mumwithtwokids Tue 18-Oct-11 16:08:23

Hi All,

Thanks for your messages.

DS hasn't a place at grammar school. We've also spoken to his teacher to organise further counselling. She also informed me that there are other children in his class who are also experiencing the same problems since their friend passed away earlier this year so it seem that it's not just my DS who has been affected by it. He's happy as larry during the day but it's just at night that his mood changes.

I spoke to DS again last night and all this still stems from his fear of dying. What hasn't helped is that this weekend one of our chickens died so that's upset him too, plus he's getting worried about secondary school. I agree with hackneylass in the sense that he sees change coming and think he finds it quite daunting in particular as he's worried he won't make new friends.

He still wants to sit the third exam but we'll see.

funnyperson Tue 18-Oct-11 19:23:10

mumwithtwokids your DS needs a bit more than group counselling at this stage from what you have posted I think you should go to your GP : I once had to treat an 11 year old who got a peptic ulcer from 11 plus entry and was very ill with it. Stress can cause significant damage to mental and physical health and should not be underestimated, and while I hear about the other children in the class it is your DS you have to put first. And definitely tell the schools concerned. You might not be able to treat this by yourself with gentle chats as its gone on for too long- he might need professional help and he needs it soon before every chicken dying puts him in a flap.

Most children going through the grammar school entry process don't get stressed out to the extent that they think of dying all the time. Lots might get tummy aches, anxiety, not wanting to go to school etc and this is where the exercise, good food and laid back parental attitude as well as ongoing home and extracurricular routines like cubs etc are absolutely vital.

Anyway your GP can make a judgement as to how ill your DS is and a GP letter would help with an appeal and also with further treatment if needed or with reassurance if thats appropriate

belledechocchipcookie Tue 18-Oct-11 20:33:56

I agree with funnyperson. I have worked with a lot of children, I trained as a paediatric nurse for a while. He does need more support then the school are able to give. I would either contact Winstons wish or contact your GP.

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