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Anyone else's child react like this?

(16 Posts)
chegirl Sun 05-Jul-09 23:22:51

Had an upset with DS this evening.
It has happened before and its heartbreaking. Its not always easy to predict/avoid.

'The Royal' was on tv. There was a storyline about a unmarried mum who was being asked to give newborn up for adoption (this bit passed DS by). The thing that really upset him was that the mum ran away with the baby and ended up hanging of a cliff. Baby was rescued but mum plunged into the sea.

I wasnt expecting it or I would have switched tv over/off. DS started crying and asking 'what happened to her, how will she get back to her baby? How will she see him again?' etc etc. His little face was so sad and it breaks my heart when he gets like this.

It has happened with several tv programmes and DVDs. I can avoid the obvious ones about adoption and bereavement but some things come from out of the blue. The first time it happened was with 'Hook' when you see the newborn Peter being carried away by Tinkerbelle. DS just started crying and was inconsolable. It was all so sudden and he was only tiny. He was about 3ish when it happened.

He is aware that he had another mum before us, that she didint always feed him and pick him up when he needed it. He wasnt aware of this the first time he became upet though. It seems to come from somewhere very deep inside.

He has been with us since he was 8 weeks (as fosterbaby). We adopted him when he was 2. His first 2 years were very disrupted due to the assesements and contacts.

I was wondering if this has happened to anyone else? Its so sad.

chegirl Sun 05-Jul-09 23:24:13

Sorry if that wasnt clear. He gets upset whenever he sees a baby on its own or a mum leaving a baby somewhere. IYSWIM.

FluffyBunnyGoneBad Sun 05-Jul-09 23:25:05

sad Poor thing. Just keep reassuring him that he's loved and wanted by you.

fortyplus Sun 05-Jul-09 23:29:19

I think maybe you are being oversensitive that there's something 'different' about the way he reacts. My ds2 is incredibly sensitive about this sort of thing. When he was younger there were many occasions when he would cry huge big tears dropping into his dinner over something he'd seen on the news. When he heard about the Chinese earthquake a few years ago - the one that killed school children at the start of the day - he sobbed so much he shook and went up to empty his money box to send for the appeal. He was only 9 or 10 at the time.

ConnieComplaint Sun 05-Jul-09 23:30:30

Aw the poor wee dote.

Not the same thing I know, but my 7 year old got very upset watching The Royal too... She made me promise if we ever had another baby I wouldn't go near a cliff..... She was crying for ages afterwards.

I suppose the only thing you can do is reassure your ds that you're not going to leave him, never going to go away...

Beautiful pics by the way, they're both adorable.

chegirl Sun 05-Jul-09 23:38:52


He doesnt get upset about other things on tv though. He wouldnt notice if there was a disaster or the fire in the tower block for example.

Its only babies without their mums.

He has LD so tends not to concentrate on things for very long thats why its so apparent that he does latch on to these sort of storylines.

PortAndLemon Mon 06-Jul-09 00:01:41

snickersnack's DD had a similar reaction to Ice Age on this thread (Ice Age another one to avoid with your DS, by the way). I have no idea whether her DD is adopted, though.

chegirl Mon 06-Jul-09 00:09:44

Yep, we had the ice age thing too.

I am sure a lot of kids get upset, its their worst fear really. It just seems extreme in DS particularly as he doesnt tend to notice much else.

elderflowercordial Mon 06-Jul-09 00:36:58

Golly mine were inconsolable when Bambi's mother died! But how absolutely wonderful for you to have adopted a little boy and it is absolutely tragic that the system means those crucial bonding months were lost. It's happening time and time again and babies should not have any disruption in those crucial first 3 years otherwise the damage can be irreversible.

Can I suggest seriously limiting watching dvds, tv etc?

Young dc are better off exploring and using their imagination which would help his emotional and physical development after all the disruption he's suffered. Especially as he is upset a lot by them.

Reading lots of books together is much cosier and happier especially when it is interactive, asking him qs about what he thinks will happen next etc.. You can also control content to what suits and libraries are very helpful in this.

Good luck!

PlumBumMum Mon 06-Jul-09 00:43:54

I agree with fortyplus, as my dd will not watch Ice Age because the mummy drowns at the beginning and the baby is left by the side of the river,
I tried to tell her thet the mum didn't die and got out further down but the thought of the baby being left really upset her, shes 8 now so it would have been a couple of years ago and she still won't watch it

Just noticed PortandLemons post blush

TEJQ Mon 06-Jul-09 07:47:07

Yes, yes, definitely.

The loss is deep, its pre-verbal, and they really do know about it and feel it at an almost iological level.

I'm sorry but anyone who says you are being oversensitive may not be up to date with the ever growing knowledge of early years trauma and its lasting impacts.

I think on Adoption UK you will find many parents who have had children from a young age who can empathise with these portrayed experiences because they touch a damaged part of their psyche.

OurLadyOfPerpetualSupper Mon 06-Jul-09 07:59:26

I agree with elderflower re. TV, DVDs etc.
Much as programmes like the Royal are a testament to human strength, courage, endurance and so on, so many if the situations are heart-rending for us hardened adults -children can't distance themselves from the TV as we can.
Likewise the news - we just don't watch it when the kids are about.
I have memories of being deeply distressed by items, and often still am.
Whether it's due to his early experience or not, you've got a lovely innocent little boy and his innocence needs to be nurtured.
Sorry you've seen him so sad.

Kewcumber Mon 06-Jul-09 14:07:47

agree with TEJQ - you are not being oversensitive at all.

A child getting upset at the idea of a baby being abandoned by their mother isn't the same kind of reaction (IMVHO) to a child who has lived through the reality of being abandoned by their first mother.

Some people subscribe to the theory of a "primal wound" that cannot be healed when a child is separated from their mother and whilst I don't agree with it fully (I think it varies depending on the personality of child, their resilience, circumstances etc), I think that it is a deep seated and long lasting scar.

Saying its the same for any child who is sensitive is like saying that watching the "Towering Inferno" was just a scary for me as it would be for someone who has bad burns from being in an office fire. Its not comparable.

Sorry to jump on those who disagree, because I don't want to be precious. But too right he's upset - what is every other childs worst nightmare actually happened to your DS. I think its normal for him to be upset about the idea of it.

o practical ideas as to how to deal with it though, other than what you're doing now. I think he's similar age to my DS isn't he 3.5? So diffiuclt at that age as their comprehension is so limited about concepts. DS does understand that he grw inside someone elses tummy but that she couldn't look after him. But he doesn;t like it one bit.

THe only thing I do which you may find helpful is to distinguish real life from pretned - eg babies being left on their own is "only pretend", in real life someone would look after them.

Kewcumber Mon 06-Jul-09 14:23:22

on reflection, I think you need to allow him to be sad - it is sad. "isn't it sad that baby's mummy couldn't look after them, aren't we lucky that we could look after you and you weren't ever alone." for example.

I think (My opinion only) its a legitimate source of sadness for him and not one to be brushed off lightly with "oh every one feels like that" (not that you do!)

misspollysdolly Mon 06-Jul-09 18:54:45

Hi Chegirl, like TEJQ and Kew, I don't think you are being oversensitive at all. Our children are different, their earliest life experiences were different to the norm (whatever that is) and their reactions do often come, therefore from that different and inconceivably painful place. It's really hard when things like this happen - DD has had some fairly extreme reactions to TV/film scenarios - and you almost start to dread some programmes or films (my DD seems almost drawn to stories of suffering and abandonment - I think its almost an attempt to keep their own experiences real and legitimate).

If you can bear it though, they can be useful for facilitating talking about difficult areas that you may not otherwise just start out of the blue. I also hold with Kew's point that being sad - though hard for us as parents whose desire is to make it all OK for our hurting children - is OK. As long as he can be reassured of your love and helped/held while he experiences those extreme emotions. It's important to show him you are comfortable facing uncomfortably sad scenarios so that he knows he can bring things to you when he needs to talk or explore them himself.

It's not comfortable for us because it's a chapter of their lives that a) we were not a part, yet which b) we live with still on a day-to-day basis and basically cannot escape because it is so significant to them. Atleast he is able and safe enough (emotionally, I mean) to express how watching things like this makes him feel. It is hard, though, when we can see fairly transsparently (and pretty tragically) why they react so strongly, but they cannot see this for themselves yet. I feel like I'm the key-holder for my DD - once she's older - to understand more about herself and why and how she reacts to the world around her...IYKWIM... I'm also often taken by surprise by the buttons both the programmes and DD's reactions to them press within me.

chegirl Mon 06-Jul-09 22:46:57

Hi all and thank you for all of your comments.

I do not think I am overreacting or being oversensitive either. DS2 is one of 4 children. 3 are birth children. So I have a lot to compare IYSWIM.

I do believe strongly that children are deeply affected by the things that happen to them even when very very young. I wasnt so sure a few years ago but parenting a traumatised child has taught me a great deal.

(BTW, its hard to get this across on a forum but I am not cross or defensive here smile).
TEJQ I wouldve posted on Adoption UK but its been down for a few days.
Kew you are right, I do allow him to be sad. Its hard but I know its something that has to happen. It allows him to explore these difficult feelings in his own way. Its heartbreaking to see though.
misspolly thank you for your post. I can see that you have thought about this deeply. Its interesting (though sad) to hear that other's children display these behaviours too.

elderflower thank you. I take your point about DVDs/TV. DS2 does watch more than my others ever did. He has learning difficulties and language delay. I have found DVDs and certain programmes really helpful in allowing him to express himself. Its hard to explain but if you saw him watching you would probably get what I mean. I also think that although they bring up difficult emotions they are important (used properly) in helping him address his fears and fantasies. I do read a lot with him (he cannot read) and I have lots of books that address issues around loss and adoption directly as well as more 'fun' subjects smile. He is coming on although he is still quite a way behind his peers.

Thanks again.

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