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Does anyone else have a very sensitive 6yo boy?

(22 Posts)
Purplehonesty Sun 24-Jul-16 10:03:01

Ds has always been quite a gentle soul but recently it's seems to have got worse.

He cries about everything - going in the shower this morning resulted in blood curdling screams!

He cries if he doesn't get his own way, he cries if he doesn't get to do something or plans change.
He cried the other day because the circus was on at 5pm and he thought he was going at lunchtime!

I'm so weary of it and it worries me that he will be bullied at school and other kids will tell him he is a 'baby'

Any tips? Hints? Is anyone else going through this now - I thought maybe it might be a hormone thing but then he has always been quite tearful.
He's so loud too - not just a sniffle and tears but full on howling!

I love him to bits and just wish I could help him deal with his emotions without crying

Purplehonesty Sun 24-Jul-16 19:46:40


Daydream007 Mon 25-Jul-16 19:19:55

Has anything troubled him recently at school or at home?

Purplehonesty Mon 25-Jul-16 21:01:02

No nothing like that. Happy at home and school.

It's like he turns on the waterworks when he doesn't get his own way.

After the shower episode yesterday I sat him down and said right today lets go and get you some nice shower boys gel and I'll stay with you in case you are scared

He said I wasn't scared I just wanted a bath not a shower. Yet from the noise you would think we were murdering him!

FenellaFerranti Mon 25-Jul-16 21:04:32

My DS is only 3 but he's a bit of a precious flower. Slides are too scary and he's always asking me to hold his hand while his friends are belting off. It is a worry! His DF and I are fairly robust emotionally so I'm not sure where he's got it from, I try not to coddle him and to be brisk and breezy when he gets upset about mud on his shoes etc. I'm hoping maybe getting into sports when he's older might help? Does your DS do any sport?

BettyBi0 Tue 26-Jul-16 11:29:16

A friend's child is like that. He's 6 now and has done the same kind of overreactions for the last couple of years. Or maybe it's only the last couple of years that they haven't just looked like run of the mill pre-schooler tantrums.

I'm sure the behaviour would be equally annoying coming from a little girl but I'm thinking a lot about how we judge boys for doing it much more harshly. The language of it is different too "precious flower" "not coddle him" etc which kind of shows the increased pressure. Maybe it's a kind of amplified reaction to him not feeling able/safe/listened to when expressing emotions in other contexts?

I have no idea how to fix it or advice to give. Just an observation that we seem to tell children - especially boys - to put a lid on it a lot when the reality of their emotions is so huge and catastrophic. I hope someone comes along with some constructive advice about how to let him express himself within more socially acceptable limits. Maybe there is a way of phrasing things that acknowledge his feelings early and make him feel heard and validated without things escalating.

FenellaFerranti Tue 26-Jul-16 14:13:41

Betty thanks for your comments. I read them first slightly defensively then they made me stop and think!

I don't think I'd be any more forgiving for this behaviour if he was a girl, I stop and examine how I respond to that kind of thing quite frequently as I'm very wary of lazy sexism when raising my boys. However he was very ill last year for almost 12 months, his growth was affected and he was quite weak, physically. He had an op at the beginning of the year and is starting to catch up but reflecting on your comments, I guess I'm desperate for him to be 'better' after so long and to be more robust and confident. I do think I listen to him but I think I possibly rush him too, maybe time to take a step back and let him recover his confidence in his own time. It's so desperately hard to see your child suffer and I so want him to have put all of it behind him already, I might well be pushing him faster than he needs.

antimatter Tue 26-Jul-16 14:16:11

is it because he has different opinion about how to do things and he is always forced to comply?
My kids didn't like showers until they were teens. I never forced them. I run a bath and they washed in it.

Purplehonesty Fri 29-Jul-16 23:00:00

Yes antimatter I suppose it could be that.

But it's things like it's bedtime and you need to turn the iPad off - so doesn't want to, we tell him he's had his 5/10 min warning and now it's time. He refuses, we take it away, he cries.

We are fairly strict I suppose about bedtimes and getting washed/dressed and doing homework but that's it really. We quite often compromise with him and talk things through.

I don't know. His cousin has arrived to stay now and he is 10 so I'm hoping he will learn from him a bit.

I also appreciate the advice about emotions further up the thread and him being a boy. I don't think I'd react differently if he was a girl because he cries over the silliest things.

antimatter Sun 31-Jul-16 00:48:17

How much screen time does he get every day?

Purplehonesty Mon 01-Aug-16 07:30:45

Maybe two hours? One in the morning while I get up and organised and one in the evening if I'm cooking dinner etc. Is that too much do you think?

He's always outside really, we have lots of outdoor space so he's running about the fields, trampolining, riding his bike etc

LadyPenelope68 Mon 01-Aug-16 07:44:39

From what you describe in your posts, it does sound more like just having tantrums/reacting badly to not getting his own way rather than him being sensitive.

PosiePootlePerkins Mon 01-Aug-16 07:45:52

Hormones! Don't they get a surge around this age? I remember both my DS gong through a sensitive/weepy stage around this age.
(My eldest is 12 now and I blame hormones for most things!wink)

PosiePootlePerkins Mon 01-Aug-16 07:46:07


EllenRipley Mon 01-Aug-16 07:58:13

This sounds a bit like my son! I've thought for awhile that he was 'sensitive' ( and I'm not saying that because I can't accept he can be a brat when he feels like it), but if you research sensitive kids, there is a recognised 'label' - he's very particular about his routine, he worries, hates noise, reacts to the slightest admonishment as a very personal criticism etc. That said, he's a fun, loving, mostly very happy and most times well behaved kid. But yes, the slightest little problem can result in massive drama and he does cry a lot, particularly if I tell him he has to do something that interferes with what he's focusing on. I've just accepted that's who he is - I'll let him work through his own dramas (within reason) and he will be disciplined when needs be - I can tell now when he's having a 'moment' or when he's just being downright badly behaved. What I have done too much of in the past is try to reason with him or find a way out of situations with too-lengthy-for a-6yr old discussions. I curb that now. I'm assuming he will grow out of it or at least his reactions will become less tearful or overwrought. I guess I don't have much advice other than just try not get too sucked in, be firm when you need to - accept it might be part of their personality and choose your battles! X

OneArt Mon 01-Aug-16 08:04:39

I tend to agree with LadyPenelope. From the examples you've given, it sounds more like him reacting badly when he doesn't get his own way than him being especially sensitive / gentle / scared. Not saying that's not annoying of course - but it's v common among 6 year olds!

youarenotkiddingme Mon 01-Aug-16 08:15:07

I can give advice from the perspective of having a child with ass because the fundamentals are the same.

Difficulties with change if routine and things not going to his own set timetable in his head! Also reacting emotionally to things being different to what was expected - bath not shower etc.

My first suggestion would be to use a simple visual timetable and reward system. You can do this together. So breakfast get dressed then screen time. Then you can have outside play or park or whatever followed by lunch activity screen time dinner bed etc. It helps children who struggle with emotions to see what's going to happen and what's expected. Then have a marble jar or something. So each time he follows the routine well or deals with something without the histrionics he gets a marble. Full jar = reward. Rewards don't need to be expensive or cost anything but I know a lot of children this age love to choose a magazine from the local shop.

Use specific words or pictures for the timetable. So get him to choose bath or shower.

Also have a look at Ross Greene website 'lives in the balance'. It has some excellent advice about how to deal with these outbursts and then collaborative thinking afterwards about better ways to deal with it in future.

With regards the circus the timetable should help somewhat for him to see what's happening but he may like to have times put on specific activities and then use a clock or watch alongside this so he can see the time.

UnexpectedBaggage Mon 01-Aug-16 08:16:38

DS2 did this for a while but I just ignored it. I carried on as though he wasn't yarking and he gave up after a couple of weeks.

RowenaDahl Mon 01-Aug-16 08:21:20

I think I was a bit like this when I was little and DH said he was a bit of a screamer. We are both introverts and need a certain amount of time on our own to recharge. We both hate shopping centres and tend to limit our time where there are lots of people.

My Mum is quite a pushy extroverted type. She was always trying to push me up on the stage/towards groups of other children and basically force me to do things I really didn't want to do. I often felt that she didn't 'hear' me and in a bid to get me to do things I was often shouted at. I spent a lot of time drawing and crafting and was made to feel that there was something wrong in spending time on my own.

I would attempt to get to the root of the problem (i.e. he wanted a bath not a shower) and keep re-iterating that he needs to tell you what he wants verbally not by throwing a tantrum.

hanselandmarge Mon 01-Aug-16 08:38:45

Op, my ds (now 11 yo) has Sensory Processing Disorder. So all reactions are exaggerated.

On the positive side he is extremely caring, although this can be a problem if he hears an upsetting news story (someone at school told him about the boy killed in Florida by the alligator at Disney) - he literally cried for 3 hours.

Does your ds get over excited too? Hate certain sensations? My ds will scream that the bath water is boiling when it's tepid etc. I also have to remove all labels from clothes and buy seamless socks. He also hates loud noise. At birthdays/Christmas he is shaking with excitement.

I'm not sure whether you can have a slight leaning towards sensory processing disorder, or you either have it or not.

Anyway, ds has calmed down somewhat at 11. I'm very patient with him and give him lots of reassurance and spend time explaining things a bit. Listening to him seems to calm him down.

I hope I've not alarmed you with my post, but wanted to share with you as I can relate to how you are feeling.

VortexOfDisaster Mon 01-Aug-16 09:03:51

Yes, I agree with youare.

My 10 year old is like this, but much worse. He will not only howl and scream, but will also hit and throw things. He can go from a smart, capable 10 year old to an utter nightmare at the switch of a button. He has Aspergers and has huge difficultly accepting changes to routine/ expectations or understanding the perspective of someone else or why things change when he doesn't want them to. (He also, btw, hates loud noises and takes even the suggestion of slight criticism very personally).

I'm not suggesting your Ds has Asperger's. However, many kids need an extra 'nudge' to accept change or other people's rules (my mother keeps saying "we are all somewhere on 'the spectrum'". It irks me, but she may have a point).

At bedtime, our DS has learned that if he doesn't hand over his iPad after 5 minute warning, then he won't get it the next day.

And we've had to learn to sit out his tantrums and meltdowns. Not easy!! He comes around eventually.

A visual timetable worked well when he was younger. He would be scathing about the same thing now, unfortunately.

The other thing to remember is that the kids who resist like this are often very smart. We've had SO many complaints from DS's teachers (at a mainstream selective prep... probably not the most sympathetic environment for 'individual differences'...) in the past about his refusal to comply. Although we've chastised him for this, we can't help admitting that when we finally get a reason from him for his non-compliance, it is remarkably lucid and logical - even insightful because he has taken into account his teacher's 'real' reason for asking him or his class to do things (and he has been proved right!).

Sometimes he has been asked to follow (what in his mind are) very odd rules or activities and not doing it seemed infinitely the more sensible thing!

Purplehonesty Tue 02-Aug-16 23:20:31

Thanks everyone. I've often wondered if he is somewhere on the spectrum or perhaps has a hyperactivity disorder.

He does get very excited, is hard to calm down and makes noises all the time. When he was a toddler he hummed all the time, then it was a breathy sort of noise, this week it's a kind of growly noise. He doesn't seem to be aware that he's doing it.

He has had problems with his hearing in the past, fluid in his inner ear.

We have to be very careful about what he eats; too much sugar or colourings send him wild. A babysitter once gave him some skittles and he was literally shaking and gibbering nonsense in the bath.

Poor kid. He never has any trouble at school, does the work easily and always has great reports from his teachers.

It's just at home he seems to kick off. He is developing a wee bit of a temper too; slamming doors and throwing things down when he is annoyed.

He is so different to dd. She is so calm and compliant whereas everything seems like a battle with him. He has taken ages to learn to ride a bike; has no balance and the same with learning to swim.

There must be something going on in the background we aren't aware of.

Hope it doesn't affect him in later life as he is the sweetest kindest boy you'll meet

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