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What can I do about a 5YO boy who says really horrible things about himself?

(16 Posts)
DowagersHump Mon 15-Oct-12 18:24:59

Most of the time DS is a happy-go-lucky little boy but every now and then he really puts himself down, saying things like 'I'm stupid', 'I hate myself and everyone else hates me too', 'I'm an idiot' etc.

I never say anything like that to him and he seems to be relatively popular at school. He is a bit sad at the moment because his best friend hasn't come back to school this term (his parents have split up and he and his mum have moved away) but other than that, I can't see any particular reason for saying stuff like this.

I find it really upsetting sad

Is it 'normal' for boys of this age to say stuff like this? Is he just being over-dramatic or do I need to intervene in some way and if so, how? I am always telling him how much I love, how wonderful and clever and special etc he is. Well I thought I was but maybe I'm not doing it enough?

JiminyCricket Mon 15-Oct-12 18:38:29

I don't know if its normal, but i think it is probably true that different individuals start out in life with a more positive or negative view of themselves..DD1 at thar age always tended to look at herself in the mirror and say negative things like you are describing, whereas DD2 always had a positive self view, even though they both had buckets of praise and low criticism as tots. On the other hand DD1 now age 9 repeats endlessly 'I am awesome' to the point where I have had to tell her it comes across a bit big headed...she is v confident at home but seems shy and withdrawn in some groups of friends, I think she doesn't feel like she is liked/good enough, but i don't know where that comes from. I wonder if he is just starting to get that self-consciousness where he wonders what others think of him? In which case just hearing from you that you think positively of him will bolster that confidence?

Lovewearingjeans Mon 15-Oct-12 18:49:22

My son went through this when he was a bit older (he is 9 now) even saying he didn't like himself very much sad I was incrediably upset by this, and proceeded to buy loads of self help books about raising boys and self esteem in boys. I can't say they helped greatly in the long term, but they gave me a bit of confidence at the time with dealing with this. I just made more effort to do things with him that he enjoyed. He is a very modest child naturally, and sometimes I think he doesn't realise what he can do. He seems better in himself now, but I appreciate what you are going through.

DowagersHump Mon 15-Oct-12 19:05:28

Thanks both. Encouraging to hear that your DD grew out of it Jiminy and I take some comfort in knowing he's not the only one. He does take things terribly to heart/personally. He sometimes says I don't love him any more when I get cross with him.

JiminyCricket Mon 15-Oct-12 21:41:17

Oh, it breaks your heart doesn't it - dd2 recently said to me after getting in trouble 'you love dd1 and not me'. Talk about knowing how to push all my buttons - fast track into over-compensation. Hopefully they will all become well rounded and self confident adults eh. Hope you feel better.

valiumredhead Tue 16-Oct-12 08:57:25

Many moons ago when I did child development at college I remember that it's around this time that boys get 'down on themselves' - so it sounds like a developmental stage OP.

Every time he says something negative, turn it round and boost him up with a positive reinforcement.

"I'm stupid" - " Why do you think that? YOu are really clever, look how well you drew that lovely picture last week" (or whatever)

"You don't love me" - "I will always love you even when I tell you off, I'm your mum and mums always love their sons"

"Everyone hates me and I have no friends" - "You know that's not true, you have lots of friends ( quote some names) they like you - why don't you ask x for tea next week?"

DowagersHump Tue 16-Oct-12 09:35:50

Thanks valium - that's really helpful. That's exactly what I'm doing so hoping it is a developmental stage and he will grow out of it.

After my last post last night, he came down with his eyes full of tears and said 'I'd be better off if you just threw me in the rubbish bin' sad

We had another chat this morning about it - think what sparked it yesterday was that he wanted to play a game that none of his friends wanted to play. I pointed out that his friend B wanted to play a game that he didn't want to play either and that perhaps that had made B sad too.

Went off to school quite happily this morning. I will try and organise someone coming over to play. I WFH so it's difficult to have other kids round to play but I need to try and organise my work so he can have someone round at least every couple of weeks I think.

valiumredhead Tue 16-Oct-12 10:57:12

Honestly I know some people don't like having friends round to play but it is SO worth it imo if you can manage it at all - they love it and spend all day at school getting excited about going for tea at their friend's house. Then usually they get invited back which is equally as exciting.A that age I only used to do til 5 - 5.30 which made it seem manageable.

These days we seem to always have an extra child or two somewhere in the house.... grin

Shazjack1 Tue 16-Oct-12 11:11:13

I've been going through this with my ds now 11, for the past couple of years so I know how upset you are. It's awful to see your child so unhappy. One thing that helped a lot was speaking to his teacher as he never got picked for anything so thought he must be rubbish at everything. I explained that he was really lacking in confidence at that time and she made him a peer mentor and he looked after the little ones for a while. This greatly improved his self esteem. He felt important.

He has now started secondary school and the problem reared itself again. Look up Love Bombing by Oliver James, sorry dont know how to link it. It's brilliant! I have done this with my child a couple of times and I now have a much happier, confident child. I can't praise it enough!

valiumredhead Tue 16-Oct-12 11:20:10

I have read lots of positive things about Love Bombing.

Shazjack1 Tue 16-Oct-12 11:51:10

Love Bombing is so easy and doesn't have to cost anything. We do it once a week. He likes to get wrapped up in my bed and watch tv, chat and eat snacks. His choice, he's in control and he loves it! A happier boy makes a happier Mumsmile

DowagersHump Tue 16-Oct-12 13:14:50

Thanks for that Shazjack - I found an article online and will give that a go smile

DowagersHump Wed 17-Oct-12 19:32:02

I thought I'd post an update on Love Bombing: I told DS he was entirely in charge of what happened after school today. He wanted to go swimming so we went to the pool and it was all lessons, as was the other pool.

But luckily, the pool has a soft play and we went in there and one of his friends was also there - result! Then it transpired that the other friend was there because he was at another kid's birthday party (thankfully not a 'school' one) and after the meal, came back into the soft play accompanied by a girl. A girl?! That was it for DS - he had a massive sulk, refused to play with them and there were tears, saying that the other boy is not his friend any more etc etc. Soooo we had a long chat in the car about sharing friends as well as toys with me pointing out that actually his friend wasn't rejecting him but wanted to play with his other friend as well. That was not good enough for DS who clearly has a lot to learn about friendships.

In summary, while it all went a bit tits up, at least I got to understand why he is getting upset and we can work on it. Before today, I had no idea he was so possessive about friends because he very rarely talks to me about stuff like that - he bottles stuff up.

So thank you. We shall do it again (not the soft play - the love bombing!). I will try and make it a weekly thing because I'm really busy and I've realised that we don't actually spend much time talking because we're always in a rush and even when we're together, I'm not often giving him my full attention blush.

Shazjack1 Thu 18-Oct-12 10:30:22

That's great! I always find telling ds a few days in advance really helps too as he can look forward to it. I've already got the snacks in ready for tomorrow's Love Bombing, twirls and deep ridged crisps, all his choice. He has even been telling me this morning which topics he wants to chat about. Good luck!

valiumredhead Thu 18-Oct-12 10:35:08

It's easily done OP, I have just discovered that ds who is 11 miles me to sit on his bed when I pop in to say good night, so we can have a chat -look through the Argos catalogue-- I realised that we weren't talking one on one much since he reads to himself now at night, story time used to be the time when we chatted.

DowagersHump Thu 18-Oct-12 20:58:27

That sounds wonderful Shazjack smile

Tonight I did a role play of what happened yesterday using plastic toys while he was eating his dinner. I did it once without names and then he said 'do it again but I want to be X this time' so he clearly knew what was going on! I did it all again and then we had another chat and he agreed that he wasn't being very nice to his friend.

Huzzah! I think we're getting somewhere smile I will carry on doing the LB thing - I'm thinking Sunday nights will be good for us as I'm not working and we're usually at home, hanging out just the two of us (I'm a single parent and he's an only child so he does get a lot of time with me but it isn't usually 'quality' time so that's where I need to make the effort).

Thanks so much to everyone who's helped on this thread - I feel so much better about him and a lot less worried

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