C.S. asks from Albuquerque, NM on August 27, 2009
5 Year Old Behavior/attitude/crying
My son started kindergarten and already his teacher said he was sensitive and cried when he didn't get his way or got upset with other classmates easily. I have been trying to help my son express his feelings more verbally, but it obviously isn't working. Any suggestions to help him not be so frustrated and cry? For example, I tell him that a word he said is a bad word and we don't say it. He says sorry and starts crying. I am at a loss. My husband is fed up with this behavior and wants it to stop immediately and says I coddle him too much and that boys don't cry. What to do?
M.V. answers from Phoenix on August 28, 2009
You can try to adjust how you react to some issues. Instead of saying that something is a bad word, my babysitter suggested I say that it's an adult word and it's something that adults are allowed to say and children don't understand the words so they shouldn't use them. That's just my one example...sorry that's all I got for ya.
B.W. answers from Flagstaff on August 28, 2009
I don't want to scare you with my advice but I think every parent with a problem child needs to hear this. I grew up as the problem child for many years. It wasn't until I was 30 years old that I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder and have been great since. Now I'm not saying that your son has a condition like mine but some of th therapy should be used. Find him a good therapist. Someone he feels comfortable with. Let him talk to them alone and sometimes with both you and your husband. I say therapist because they won't prescribe drugs and are more personable than a psychologist. There is definately something going on with your son psychologically. If my parents would have sent me to a therapist from day one I wouldn't have been that much of a problem. It wouldn't have cured me from being bipolar but at least I could have learned some techniques of how to deal with things. Don't let your son follow my path. Get him the help he needs now. I wish you well. Give your son a big hug from me. I have a 3-1/2 year old son who is sensitive too and we are working on it.
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J.A. answers from Phoenix on August 28, 2009
I have noticed with most of my kids at this age, they adopted the crying technique to get attention (from me, my hubby, teachers, friends , etc) so what we started doing was reversing our response. Once we assessed that there was no sensible explanation for the tears (injury, serious emotional hurt or the like), we would gently but firmly tell them to go cry in the other room (don't hug them or anything at this point, just point them to the designated room) and they could come out when they're done crying. Once they come out, that's when we would shower them with hugs and a cheerful "hi there! Are you done crying?". They quickly learned that the better attention came not as a result of crying but as a result of them STOPPING the crying. ;) ...worked for all four of mine so far! ;)
MyTime Calendars for Tots
"play with time, have time for play!"
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S.N. answers from Phoenix on August 28, 2009
Wow! I am appalled at how our society treats young boys and men. My husband and I have raised 2 very successful young men who are strong examples of what men should be in this world. Here's the truth that doesn't seem to be getting out any more - boys mature much more slowly than girls. Preschool and kindergarten are almost always too much for young boys. The best research I've ever read on this was done by Dr.'s Raymond and Dorothy Moore, early education researchers and teachers. Sure, we can continue to push our young boys to conform and watch them burn out in school and move into 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades feeling stupid and angry. I'm sorry about the rant, but I've watched our young men destroyed for far too long, and not have a voice. Our young Marine son is horrified by the lack of personal responsibility and self motivation he experiences with his peer group. Multiply that across the country, and we can see why society is in such trouble! As mothers and fathers, let's give our boys a chance to grow at their own pace, encouraging their unique giftedness! We will all be better off.
G.A. answers from Phoenix on August 28, 2009
I agree that your husband needs help too. Boys and men do cry and it is not right for him to put that on the boy. With that being said that is not what you are asking for help with so now I turn to the boy.
Have you talked with the teacher to see if anything would have happened in class? Have you sat in on a class to watch the interaction? You could try contacting the school social worker and have her talk to him one on one to see if there are issues. Sometimes knowing that they have the option of talking to someone when they just can not talk to mom and dad. Something is definitely going on and I would not ignore it.
Holler if you need to talk. ____@____.com
H.K. answers from Phoenix on August 29, 2009
I know that it is okay for boys to cry and we do want to raise men who can show their emotions but it sounds like your son is inappropriately showing his emotions (and I can thus understand your husband's frustration with it).
We used a similar technique to the one Jennifer A. suggested. Once we assertained that there was no good reason for the tears (other than frustration, manipulation, the need to vent, or just plain old being tired) we sent our boys to another room to "cry it out".
However, we also made sure that the boys knew when it was okay to cry. I vividly remember the group of us on the bed sobbing nonstop over the death of the boys favorite dog.
Anyway, that being said...your son will be judged unfairly if he bursts into tears over every frustration or correction. Children can be cruel and they will find him an easy target. By using the technique of sending him off to work out his feelings alone he will learn how to calm himself quickly and return composed.
Just my two cents.....
M.P. answers from Phoenix on August 28, 2009
Hi CS! We too have been dealing with a very similar scenario with our son. He started 1st grade this year, and he does the same thing - cries at the drop of a hat! I see that one of the ladies who responded mentioned that if he says a bad word, just tell him that it's an adult word. I did that with my daughter when she was that age, and it worked :) The only difference is that I told her it was a "mommy/daddy" word, and I NEVER raised my voice if it was the first or second "offense". After all, it's a learning curve. As for my son, he is just a sensitive soul. We just tell him that when he can stop crying and talk so we can understand him, we'll help him. He's begun to learn that we can't help if we can't understand his words. He also gets very frustrated with homework if he doesn't understand it right away. When that happens, I have him step away and go do something fun for 10 or 15 minutes, then we tackle it again. It usually works ;)
K.P. answers from Phoenix on August 28, 2009
I know my preschooler comes home from preschool and needs to sit in front of the TV for an hour. It is how he decompresses (not my first choice, but it works well for him). Find an activity that does not demand a whole lot out of him (you reading stories to him, playing with his favorite toys, etc) and have that as an after he gets home activity. Also if your son is having difficulties expressing himself, than it will make other struggles more difficult.
If your only speech/communication concern is with his emotions, than you might try helping him express how he feels by verbalizing what you think he might feel. My kids had struggles with communication because of developmental delays and when another kid took their toys, I would say, "Don't, my toy" (responding in a verbally appropriate way while giving the toy back to the original child.
If he has speech/communciation concerns in other areas - isn't able to he is hungry or other needs, doesn't speak in 4-5 word sentences, doesn't try to socialize with other kids, etc then ask the teacher if she thinks he might need to be evaluated by the school speech therapist.
E.M. answers from Phoenix on August 28, 2009
I am less concerned with your son's having trouble dealing with the new stress of school than your husband's lack of patience. (School is stressful by the way...more so for some kids than others.)
Boys don't cry??? I thought this sort of thinking was left behind with the idea that beating kids helps them learn better.
I realize that we are products of our environment and the parenting we received, but your husband might need some child development education in order to be less of a stress to you and your son. You know him best...you might try to think of a strategy to get him on board to help you parent more gently.