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Really Worried About my DS's mental state since his brother was hurt :(

(7 Posts)
kidfromdegrassi Thu 08-Oct-09 08:28:30

My little boy (aged 17 months) burnt his leg a few weeks ago - I left him in a room with the iron (i forgot it was in there) but he turned it on - Its one of the steam box ones with a base and on off switch - He then dropped it on his leg where it burnt him along the inside of his leg and a cross his foot Anyway he is fine now but it seems to have really affected my 5 year old - He was there when it happened and although I feel I was carm we did rush out the house to the hospital which must have been quite stressful for him.

since the incident he has not wanted to go to school I have sreaming and crying everyday and have to almost drag him the last part of the way! I had put it down to a little boy being nasty to him but that has been sorted and he still is a nightmare in the morning.

over the last few weeks he has said a few things He has asked if his little brother is going to die! My Dh and i were talking about someone who needs an op and max shouted no thinking it was his DB Also if DS2 falls or crys DS1 gets very upset this morning so much so that he was sick

So thats the situation I have asked why he is so worried and he said this morning "because DS2 had a burn" I explained the burn was better and it was just a mark but I just dont know what to do! should I take him to the doctor is it something he can help us with??

He is only 5 he shouldnt be worry like he is

Bluebutterfly Thu 08-Oct-09 08:35:38

So sorry to hear about your ds - he sounds a little traumatised and confused about what happened to your ds2. Maybe you could try explaining to him that although ds2 had an accident and it was scary at the time, you and your partner are being extra careful to make sure that he doesn't get hurt again. Did the accident happen when your ds1 was at school or was he there? It sounds like he might be worried that something will happen while he is out of the house - so he is shouldering some responsibility for what happened to his brother. Perhaps you need to reiterate that whilst you appreciate any help that ds1 gives to ds2, looking after ds2 is your job and he does not need to worry. Perhaps you could also discuss a time that your ds1 got hurt and got better as an example of how these things can happen, but that people recover from them and move on with life. Sorry if this is not too much help, I have an almost 5 year old and these are just the things that I would try with him in similar circumstances. Poor wee thing!

kidfromdegrassi Thu 08-Oct-09 08:40:22

Thank you BB what you have said makes so much sense i will sit him down and have a chat. I have kept him at home today as he got so upset this morning!

starwhores Thu 08-Oct-09 08:44:25

A good way to get through is by telling him bedtime stories about it. Perhaps ask him to help you write some safety rules for the house and pack your first aid kit together.

mumonthenet Thu 08-Oct-09 08:52:23

So sorry for your little ds5.

bluebutterfly is so right....he will need lots of reassurance - not just today but over the next few weeks too. He is just at that age where he is trying to make sense of the world outside his own little life.

Also at this age children often become aware (for the first time!) that people die. And of course their first fear is that someone they love will die.

Try to remind him of other people in the family who have hurt themselves, went to hospital and were fine. Or look in the library - sometimes there are books for his age group which explain about hurting yourself, hospitals, and getting better.

You are right to keep him at home. He needs loads of reassurance.

cory Thu 08-Oct-09 09:23:57

IME this is quite a sensitive age: it is when they are first old enough to understand the realities of hurt and death. Libby Purves (in Nature's Masterpiece) has quite a good bit on the watershed between the anarchic toddler who can laugh merrily about frightful accidents, because he is too young to understand what it really means, and the wide-eyed fear of the slightly older child, who does understand.

I don't think necessarily this is something a doctor can do anything about or that there is something abnormal about your ds's reactions. Sooner or later we all have to go through this, it is scary when we are first confronted by the thought of human vulnerability. It can't not be scary iyswim; it's just that as adults we have spent so many years getting adapt at pushing these thoughts to the back of our minds.

Like Buttefly said, I would just keep reassuring him.

First of all it might help to acknowledge his fears- 'you got really scared when db was hurt, didn't you?'. Let him know that this is a perfectly understandable feeling- 'it was scary, wasn't it?'. And then wind up with something positive- 'but we did the right thing, we took him to the doctor and they were able to make him better; he's all right now'. And then perhaps plans for the future: 'Now that we know he can do this, I'll make sure to keep the iron where he can't get at it'.

I think with a child this age, you should always try to balance the scariness with some kind of positive action, to let him feel that everything is not hopeless. It's like when they find out about wars or natural catastrophies, you acknowledge that these things scare you too, but then talk about what you are doing as an individual to help people.

And what Butterfly said about talking about some time when he got hurt and then got better- that sounds really good.

mumonthenet Thu 08-Oct-09 22:40:13

wonderful wisdom cory.

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