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Super sensitive 7 year old

(12 Posts)
sittinginthesun Thu 15-Sep-11 19:11:38

Just after a bit of advice/support.

I have a gorgeous, but mentally exhausting 7 year old boy, who is currently sitting in his bedroom in tears, because a sport teacher was a bit abrupt and "told him off".

DS is a child who ALWAYS follows the rules. He is very black and white, has a huge sense of right and wrong, and is simply never naughty. Bright, very good at school work, self motivated and basically a delight, but hates change, hates change, hates it if he isn't successful at what he does and cannot cope if he sees injustice!

So, every so often, we have these awful moments where something happens - a teacher misunderstands something (today's event), or ge can't follow a rule because it is impossible for some reason, and he just goes to pieces.

School are fantastic and have been working with him to deal with these meltdowns. It is usually the main topic of discussion at parent's evenings.

At home, I have been trying to teach him ways to handle this, but I find it so hard. I have tried to jolly him out if it today, pointed out that the teacher said one very small comment which she will have forgotten about in seconds, and have left him to play whilst I bath his brother (use MN!).

Any suggestions? I obviously blame myself and my DH, as we are lawyers by trade, and it's probably in his genes, but I just find it emotionally draining. (DS2 is so laid back, it's unrealsmile ).

exoticfruits Thu 15-Sep-11 19:21:31

DS1 was the same-not in all ways but he was a perfectionist, couldn't bear making mistakes and everything had to be fair. It did cause meltdown at times. September was always difficult with a new teacher and then it settled down as they got used to him. He used to play football as goal keeper and if he let too many goals in he lay down in the goal mouth and cried! Not good when aged 9yrs! Luckily it wasn't obvious and the manager had a good way of handling it.
I can't give any advice-all I can say is that he did gradually grow out of it and having been such a difficult DC he was great as a teen. Although I remember even when he was about 16yrs and getting frustrated with the computer and me having to say 'just stop-on a scale of 1-10 how much does it matter'.
All I can really say was that as he got older he got ashamed of outbursts and he didn't want to explain the unexplainable and he didn't want to discuss it.

joshandjamie Thu 15-Sep-11 19:41:53

my son is super sensitive too (7 year old and eldest child) but while he does meltdown about things you have mentioned, it's less of an issue than other things. Like having to do anything new that he isn't used to or having to meet new people. He lacks independence and cries often. At the moment they're doing this thing at school where they have to massage their temples as part of some brain warm up exercise. And he is freaking out about it because 'it gives him a headache'. I eventually had to go into school and ask if he could just pretend to do it. It's exhausting. I'm now spending some money of a life coach for kids so that she can help give him the tools he needs to cope in a world that just isn't made for sensitive souls like him.

I just found this test http://www.hsperson.com/pages/test_child.htm - that helps you determine if you do suffer from a highly sensitive child. Your son sounds to me that he's more of a perfectionist

sittinginthesun Thu 15-Sep-11 19:46:52

Thanks, Exotic, that helps. I am hoping that he will learn how to handle it, so I am trying not to wade in and sort things out, particularly now he is getting older. I also find September tricky. School has been ok, as he had his class teacher for some classes last year, but it is the clubs he is struggling with - it takes him a while to settle.

Just keep reminding myself it is easier than when he was a toddler - he once had a meltdown that lasted from 6pm until 10am the next day (he fell asleep in the middle, then woke up and carried onsmile)

joshandjamie Thu 15-Sep-11 19:49:12

just re-read what I wrote - I didn't mean that 'you suffer from a highly sensitive child' but rather that the child is a highly sensitive child, although on some days, it does feel like we suffer smile

sittinginthesun Thu 15-Sep-11 20:01:01

Hi josh. I just tried out the test and scored 15 (they say that anything over 13 is highly sensitive). He isn't at all sensitive about physical things - he's very robust, loves physical things, doesn't mind noise etc, but it's the mental stuff he is sensitive about.

I just keep worrying that it is me, and that I am not handling it right.

All my friends describe him as a "character", the teachers love him, and he is popular in class - just been voted in as class rep and one child, who isn't his friend, told her mum it was the right choice because he is a child who will get things done.

It's just me who gets the heartbreaking tears when things don't go right. I am so proud of him, but just wish that he had an easier life.

sittinginthesun Thu 15-Sep-11 20:05:11

Hmm, just tried the test on me, and I am well over the score as well - he MUST get it from mesmile

mamalovesmojitos Thu 15-Sep-11 21:17:39

Dd got 20 on that test- I'm not surprised. I'm extremely sensitive myself. Am considering buying the book featured in that website. No real advice except to say it's tough isn't it? We need to be patient with them even if I feel she is overreacting.

exoticfruits Thu 15-Sep-11 21:55:51

I wouldn't worry too much-he has lots of positives. I think that he will get better with age and more experience. I was very sensitive as a DC and would cry easily-I improved with age!

yawningmonster Thu 15-Sep-11 23:25:50

I have a 7 year old boy who has Aspergers and is hyper sensitivity both situationally and sensory. When it is situational there are a few strategies that we have been taught that are slowly making a difference for him. The first is what he calls milkshake breathing. When he was first taught this he needed the props which is a cup of water and a straw. He starts off blowing big huge bubbles and then slowly makes the bubbles smaller and smaller until he has a handle on the emotions and situation. He can now do this with out the props and takes huge huffing breathes slowly calming them down to slow normal breathes. This has taken time to practice and there are still situations where he is too wound up to do it but I am noticing that he can do it more and more and calm himself. He has also started to identify situations that he might react to and make a Coping Plan. We break it down together to work out strategies so for example if we know there is going to be a change like he is getting a new teacher due to his current one being pregnant. We have made a calendar so he knows when his teacher is due to leave. We have talked about what might happen if she leaves earlier than this. We have made a special meeting with the new teacher. We have made a deal with last years teacher that if he is feeling stressed and not coping he can spend some time with her as she is familiar and brilliant with him. We have the plan written out in simple bullet points and he carries it around with him so he feels like he has something concrete to help him cope. Not sure if these strategies will be helpful or not but they are making a huge difference to my son and his ability to cope with the world.

joshandjamie Fri 16-Sep-11 11:55:35

I have ordered the book on highly sensitive children and am hoping it's got some tips on how to help him. I am almost certain that because I'm not highly sensitive and neither is DH, we have been handling him wrong all along. Which makes me feel like a rubbish parent but hopefully this book will help. Yawning monster I might try that breathing exercise with my son

sittinginthesun Fri 16-Sep-11 15:56:42

Better day at our end. DS was taught a similar breathing exercise in reception, and the main thing is that he is aware when he is about to implode. Sometimes, he still can't help it, and other times he bottles it up and it comes out later.

It is such a relief to talk to you all.

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