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Worried that my 7yr old can't talk about how he feels(7 Posts)
Right so I imagine this is not uncommon in some 7 yr olds, but it is really quite extreme. If something is bothering him, it seems to manifest itself in irratic and sometime aggressive behaviour. I try to keep calm as I know it's not naughtiness (there's plenty of that too) but if I ask him why he has done something, he will hide under sheets and cry "I don't want to talk about it!" Over and over. We normally get to bottom of it by my providing a multiple choice set of answers until I strike upon what the problem is. This is a small part of a bunch of behaviours which I think stems from a belief that I prefer his older brother. The sense of embarrassment he feels if he gets told off, often leads to him refusing to take part in any activities like bed time story or today his PE class. Both are activities he likes! So then he's even more miserable. Our house is chaos at the moment as we are having an extension built and it's gone really wrong. But now he's started tidying his drawers as if he's in the army!!!! I mean everything is folded in to identical sized squares and he gets upset if anyone messes it up. I really worry this is a coping mechanism for turmoil inside him that I can't get him to articulate! Please help! Am I just worrying for nothing?
Try asking him about stuff when you are driving, just you two together. It is easier to talk sometimes if you don't have someone staring at you intently and it is a bit more casual.
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Hi op, I really recognise what you are saying as my ds is the same. It started when he was younger (possibly around your ds’s age) and is still like it now age 12. I have to do the multiple choice thing and although I get close to the issues most of the time, I worry about the times when I don’t and think what am I missing? Even when I guess right it’s me doing all the talking when what I want is for him to learn that talking is good, sharing the problem makes you feel better etc, I want him to want to open up and to know how. I feel like with my other 2 dc I know how to get through to them and connect, but with my ds I might guess right what the issue is, but I am not sure I connect with him and I’m not sure whether it gives him any comfort. Not much help to you I’m afraid as I don’t know what the solution is.
It might be useful to image an iceberg and the behaviours we see is the ice we see on top of the water. underneath the water is much bigger and stronger piece of ice which are the feelings, needs and wants. We are advised to deal with the behaviours, however if we focus on the feelings needs and wants the behaviours will sort themselves out.
To co-regulate is to role model and explore coping strategies that work for your child. - Easier said than done, I know.
Ideally, we want our children to identify how they are feeling and then think of what to do in a positive way e.g. talk to someone.
To start with if your child likes books, reading stories that explore feelings are a safe way to approach things. My review on Dr Karen Treisman books may interest you - raising2children.com/books-on-feelings/
A great book and easy read that explores how to explore 'stress behaviours' so challenging behaviours reduce is How to help deal with stress and thrive by Dr Stuart Shanker. My review and more info is here - raising2children.com/mum-of-2-book-review-on-help-your-child-deal-with-stress-and-thrive/
It's tough being a parent so be kind to yourself x
Sorry to all who very kindly took the time to respond to me. It's been a manic week and I have even had time to log in and look until today.
LouiseTrees: I have wondered if he is on a spectrum of some sort, and I am totally unphased by that, but honestly I don't think he is. He is very loving and able to communicate that at least, but it's embarrassment around trying to articulate when he has a problem with something.
Raising2Children. Thanks, I will take a look at your suggestions.
Aunty Jack: Talking in a car is a good suggestion, but my mum used to trap me in the car and shout at me, and so I want to avoid him feeling like he's trapped in a space with me.
LoverofCats94: Love that phrase!
Donhill: Yes that's how I feel. I also feel that I almost become the one that needs his input and so that puts pressure on his and that makes things worse!