DS aged 6 has started saying he wants to die and he hates himself (long)(10 Posts)
I am starting to worry very much that this is the start of depression and I am not sure what I should do. Please share your experiences if you have been through this.
DS2 is the middle of 3 children, but only 16 months between him and his big brother who is very academic. DS2 is not academic and is in fact slightly struggling with school, but teachers are aware and he has a learning support teacher for 15 mins a week. (That's all they can give him). He has been tested for dyslexia, and although shows markers, these are normal for his age group.
DS1 loves sport, and is annoyingly good at everything, and I suspect this makes DS2 anxious and less likely to want to try anything. We got DS2 cycling and swimming competently, but only with 1-1 attention. He does not thrive in a group learning setting. We booked both DS1 and DS2 into taekwondo, but DS2 dropped out. DS2 does soccer but complains that he is always goalie and his lack of co-ordination means the other kids rarely choose him for their team. He also acts a bit odd which puts off his peer group. For instance, on day 1 of soccer, he raced into the sports hall and in front of all the other kids, started doing star jumps and press ups, and they just stared at him and marked him out as 'weirdo'.
He is amazingly confident with people and adults, and will talk to anyone. He is not afraid of big kids on their bikes at the park, or people in shops, or teachers or anyone. He is abundently confident in that respect and every adult who meets him is charmed by him.
His normal mantra is "this has been the worst day of my life" even after what most kids would think was a pretty good day. He has started groaning and saying "I'm just so grumpy" and I ask why and it's about something minimal, like not being allowed a second biscuit at tea, or not being allowed to watch the whole of Jurrasic Park at bedtime...normal things most parents would say couldn't happen.
He always used to be the robust one, but I now know he is very sensitive and wears his heart on his sleeve. My mother died this year (recently) and he has been very upset about that, but also in the period she was dying and I was travelling loads to see her, that's when he started with his "worst day of my life" and "no body likes me" chat (apparently because he 'can't do it'), so I feel this might not be co-incidence and that her dying has shaken his world, but also his self belief somehow.
He knows she is in a better place and he also sees me calmer as I'm not waiting for 'the crisis' of a loved one dying. For me the worst has been and gone in that respect and now it's about healing.
I am getting him a pet - he wanted a lizard, but I baulked at the feeding of live crickets so am getting him a couple of stick insects (point being he is absolutely responsible for caring for them).
I just don't know what's at the root of his low self esteem - is it genetic or is it our parenting? How do I build it up? How do I turn his balance between depression and happiness into being just happy? Do kids often say I want to Kill myself at this age??
Sorry for long post...
I'm sorry this is going on, how incredibly worrying for you. I'm not at all qualified to comment other than by being supportive and listening, but on a practical note you might want this moved to relationships for more traffic?
And no, in my experience (I have 2 primary age dc), I don't think kids often want to say they want to kill themselves at this age.
Is he actually saying he wants to kill himself or is he perhaps just a bit melodramatic and using these phrases as he knows they will guarantee him attention? I am not trying to minimise what you are experiencing with him but some children will mimic what they hear and the phrases he is using are quite grown up for a 6 year old.
I don’t doubt for a minute that his gran dying recently has something to do with his current behaviour. Young children can find it hard to understand what they are feeling and don’t really have the vocabulary to verbalise how they feel. He sounds like he is using learned phrases to try and describe how he feels.
Have the school noticed him saying things like this or is it just at home?
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i noticed in your OP, you describe all the things your DS struggles with, and that he feels less good than his big brother. are there any activities he could do separately from his brother - art or music or something? Is there any activity where he can be the best & be valued? It can be very hard being a little boy who isn't into sports if everyone else is.
Have you told him "his gran is in a better place"? Or have you told him she has died? Apologies if you're religious, but he may change his mind about dying if he understands that there is no "better place", and that you are just dead.
This is where I'm not 100% sure - is he saying it to get attention? (What does that say about me as a parent if this is what my child is reduced to?!) or does he mean it? I really don't know. I feel it's linked to his big brother's ease with school and learning and he compares himself and feels worthless, which leads him to say he wants to die.
In terms of his granny - he knows she died, he attended her funeral, he has since seen his step grand father without his granny and he is 100% clear she has died and has gone. The "better place" term of phrase was to make sense of it all, in that she had MND and suffered an awful lot in the months since her diagnosis, and although he doesn't know this, she died a pretty rotten death. To say she is in a better place makes sense to all of us as she was so very ill and disabled beforehand. He saw her unable to move even her hands, be fed and have her face wiped after each bite, and be confined to a wheelchair. The absolute sadness we feel at her death is in parallel with the comfort we have knowing she is no longer on this earth, suffering the way she was. Whether or not she is in heaven...who knows! I'd like to think so but personally I just think her spirit has been released and it is now free, wherever it is.
School understands he has been fragile and finding school life hard, possibly (probably) due to this extra pressure of gran being so very ill and the effect it had on me. (frequently upset, travelling a lot, crying at random points and often unavoidably in public).
It may be entirely circumstantial but I wonder about getting him a GP check up for eg anaemia and vit D deficiency.
Incidentally you are almost exactly describing my DS who is also 6, and I've worried the same: that this is a sign of depressive tendencies. We have a very strong family history. My DS is however very academic while his big sistet is not currently, and i thank the gods for that as at least he has something over her!
My son started to say things like this when he was six, because he didn't have the words to explain how he was feeling.
He still does it (has ASD), but it's an indication of a bad day, although it is still a worry.
Agree with Parietal, if his brother is so good at everything, don't put them in the same groups, find something your ds is good at and let him shine, it's not easy being the sibling of someone who finds everything easy.
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