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My 7 year old DS can be so negative about life...it worries me. How can I help?

(7 Posts)
PMTIsMe Sun 14-Apr-13 19:32:50

He seems to find the cloud in everything. His most commonly used phrase at the mo is 'This is the worst day of my life EVER.' Any minor setback, such as a tiff with his brother, misplacing a toy, not being allowed more telly, is cited as proof of the awfulness of his life. When everything is 100% going his way he can be a lovely sunny boy, but he just seems to lose any sense of perspective when stuff goes awry. I really don't want him to take this into adulthood...but I'm just not sure how to handle it. Kid gloves feels a bit too much like I'm agreeing that yes, his life IS shit. Not agreeing with him can make him worse (ie life is rubbish, and he is misunderstood too!) Tonight I lost the plot after endless unjustified moaning and yelled at him at bedtime which didn't really help anyone. Any advice very gratefully received.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 14-Apr-13 19:39:02

Aw bless him! He sounds sensitive and dramatic....if it's any comfort my nephew was JUST like that...he's 24 now and very successful! I clearly remember one day when he was about 7 or 8...he'd been naughty and mys sister said "Right...you're not going to football today!" and he threw himself on the sofa and said "You've RUINED my life!"

It's ok...quite normal I think for some kids.

YonestGov Sun 14-Apr-13 20:31:16

My 6yo DS can be like this too. He's the funniest, happiest little guy around, but when things don't go his way, similar to what you've described above OP, he becomes really doom and gloom. He'll say 'nobody in this family loves me' or 'I'm a terrible boy' and sometimes he'll hit himself. It really upsets me, whereas DH will say it's attention seeking.

When he does it I'll go and sit in his room with him and talk to him for ages until he calms down. I don't know where it comes from. DD is nothing like him, and I'm at my wits end.

IndigoBarbie Sun 14-Apr-13 21:18:56

I am wondering if there is someone he is being in the company of who also sees their life this way? Even the littlest traits of personality can be picked up by peers (unwittingly) and children are moulded into their experiences like that.
The whole 'worst day of my life ever' sounds like something that may have been heard on a tv show - or that perhaps someone at school has been saying?
I don't think you have to validate his feelings by either agreeing or disagreeing though - maybe just some form of distraction to another topic, or can he actually tell you the real reason why he feels that these things make for the worst day etc?
You've said re everything going 100% his way - how old is his brother?

FullOfChoc Sun 14-Apr-13 21:37:28

I wonder if reflective listening would help?

So you can't go on a promised trip to the park today because it's raining / the car's broken down or whatever. DS says "worst day of my life", you simply reply you are feeling frustrated that we can't go to the park, it's making you feel sad.

Just leave it there - you have "reflected" his feelings, hopefully making him feel like you understand. No need to say anymore. Of course you will have to keep on with this and see how it goes. Will take a while to get through I imagine.

Good luck!

PMTIsMe Mon 15-Apr-13 20:06:59

I do hope its not me Indigo blush I am peri-menopausal and a right grumpy moo these days!

I do sort of try reflective listening fullofchoc, but it seems to just indulge his sense of unjustness!

How can I have one such light hearted child and one so hard done by??

Wiggy29 Tue 16-Apr-13 11:01:33

My son is 8 and went through a phase of this, I found (accidentally) that seeing news footage of children who suffer real deprivation made him re-evaluate his 'tough life'; we had a chat about it and he realised that some children really do have a difficult life, that was a few months ago and it really seems to have stayed with him.

Other ideas could be to list the positives he has or try being quite positive about small things in your own life e.g. 'Oh, it's a shame we have to go to the supermarket but I'm really glad as I'm sick of the cereal and want to have a look for a nice new one, will you help me pick?'. Might sound daft but this also helped as I think it helped him realise that small disappointments are normal but that you can chose to find the positives. This makes more sense if it's modelled rather than just described as a concept.

My son is a bit older than yours though so they may not be effective but worth a try?

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