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How do I deal with this? (sorry, long)

(10 Posts)
poptartpoptart Mon 18-Jul-11 11:40:33

I've posted about this before but I didn't get any replies, so I thought I'd try again to see if anyone can help? I've also posted it in the Behaviour/Development thread as I'm getting desperate!

DS (nearly 6) is a complete and utter wimp. If he even scratches himself he says 'owwww' and immediately covers the affected area with his hand so I can't even see it, and starts crying saying 'It's bleeding!'. When I eventually manage to have a look it's barely noticeable, let alone any blood.

He came running indoors the other day wailing saying 'Mummy, I'm bleeding' and covering his arm with his hand. When I finally managed to have a look it turned out it was a smear of dried up tomato ketchup from lunchtime!

He cries if water gets in his eyes in the shower, and the most ridiculous one yet is when his friend from school accidentally dropped a marble (the size of a pea) on DS's foot. He howled like a baby .

I've tried talking calmly to him and asked him why he overreacts so much at the slightest bump or scratch but he just says he doesn't know.

I have never overindulged with sympathy at things like falling over. I've always tried to stay cheerful and do the whole 'Oh never mind, up you get' kind of thing when he's fallen and obviously not hurt himself. And equally I've given what I think is the appropriate amount of attention / sympathy when he has really hurt himself.

He gets plenty of positive attention for good behaviour, lots of good attention generally actually, so I don't think it is a cry for attention thing.

It's really frustrating and I don't know why he's like this? I shamefully admit that at times I have lost it a bit with him, telling him he's being a baby. I know is not helpful but it's so blimming frustrating dealing with him when he's like this. It's also embarrassing when we are out in public as he is screaming like a toddler and he's nearly 6!|

DP says maybe he just has a really low pain threshold, but I can't believe this is the case. I mean, no-one can feel pain from a marble being dropped on ones foot surely?!

Interestingly, he is not as bad when he is at school. If he falls over he does cry but seems to get over it much quicker than he does if I am there. What am I doing wrong?

On top of this, he has always been a cautious child and will not even attempt anything that he thinks he won't be ale to do, and he seems to have a real confidence issue about failing and looking silly. I've no idea where this has come from as I have always been encouraging and positive towards anything he does, not pushy or critical at all.

He has never had a big trauma or anything that I can think of that may have caused this behaviour?

TheOriginalFAB Mon 18-Jul-11 11:42:44

DS dropped a marble on my foot the other day and I can see why your boy cried. My advice would be to be calm and matter of fact when he comes crying to you and just give him what he wants, needs, in a calm manner and it might sort itself out in a while.

Fooffy Mon 18-Jul-11 11:43:31

Is he an only?

dotty2 Mon 18-Jul-11 11:55:39

DD1 is a bit like this (and is also 6), and I would previously have called her a drama queen. But I read an interesting book recently, and have been trying to see things from her pov a bit more (Raising our children, raising ourselves - it's an unconditional parenting approach so the whole thing is probably not for everyone, but there's some interesting ideas.) If you are feeling sad and call a friend for some support, do you want her to say 'you're making a fuss about nothing, move on'. Or do you want her to say 'I can see that must have really upset you. I understand you must be feeling really down.'? Most of us want the latter. So maybe that's what your son wants too - even if it seems like nothing to you. I've been trying this a bit and it does seem to work sometimes. The idea is that once the feeling of anger/pain or whatever is validated by your reaction, the child can get on with the business of getting over it, if you see what I mean. And that in the long term, giving this kind of reaction will mean less wailing over trivialities, not more. (Realise that sounds a bit preachy, though- I know it's hard and sometimes I do feel like saying 'oh, pull yourself together - it's nothing!' And only this morning I was moaning at DD1 for moaning at me about some minor problem...Not always easy being the grown up.)

The Highly Sensitive Child book also has some good insights re. the extreme caution thing, which DD1 has also demonstrated - though getting better now.

GooseyLoosey Mon 18-Jul-11 11:58:36

Ds does this. He is now 8. I explained to him that even if he hurts himself a little bit, I am more than happy to hug him - infact I hardly need any excuse at all to hug him. However, if he comes to me crying all the time and there is nothing wrong, instead of hugging him, I will get impatient and tell him to pull himself together. This has actually worked to a certain degree and in the face of a minor incident will now approach me going "huggy" rather than wailing!

poptartpoptart Mon 18-Jul-11 12:17:02

Yes, he is an only. But we do have 3 slightly older step kids who come to stay with us in the holidays and he is just the same when they are here.

ragged Mon 18-Jul-11 12:25:52

I have one like yours OP, but he is also a boisterous maniac the rest of the time. He sometimes hollers at me "What's wrong with you, you're supposed to be like other mummies and come try to comfort me!" but really, I've lost patience, 1 minute after huge howling he's distracted & forgot about it. So I do mostly ignore. Very exasperating. I have 3 other children who aren't like this, either.

Only good news I can offer is that he's getting better as he gets older (now 7yo); I praise him a lot whenever he has a slight bump but doesn't make a big issue of it, that seems to have helped.

barbiegrows Mon 18-Jul-11 12:40:24

I think you need to do both - acknowledge the pain/discomfort/fear AND ignore them. So acknowledge it first, give him a quick hug and a brush off, then turn your back. I had friends with kids like this and it drove me absolutely insane. They would fuss and fuss and then at school the kids had no friends because their guilt tripping didn't work. It may be that he's regressing at home precisely because he's not getting the reactions he wants at school? I disagree with dotty2's unconditional parenting approach - yes, you have to look at their point of view, but no, kids are not in any way comparable to adults in terms of emotional needs.

MovingAndScared Mon 18-Jul-11 14:17:36

hi - my DS can be a bit like this at time - it did help to give a bit more attention - oh dear that must have really hurt - as I did find it I got cross that was unhelpful
and there was a bit about it in the book playful parenting - just basically that some children pain bothers more than others - I'll have a look and see if there was a useful solution

MovingAndScared Mon 18-Jul-11 19:39:13

I have had remembered what it said -
that sometimes they just need to cry - it may not be about the pain but maybe something going else going on - or it could be that they are always being told not to get upset and so it can build up - the other day my DS was upset about something - and he had a huge cry - there has been a far bit going on - normally I would tried to stop him but just held him - so maybe one time you are feeling patient - you could try it?

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