February 05, 2013,
L.M. asks from Phoenix, AZ on February 07, 2008
7 Year Old Crying, Emotional, Saying He's a Bad Kid
Hi, I have a seven year old boy, and what I am wondering has anyone gone through this, and is it a phase or something to be concerned about? He cries. When its time to do homework, he cries, when i ask him to pick up his room he cries, certain things make him cry. The part im concerned about is he says that he is a bad kid when he cries, or he wants to die, a few times i have seen him bang his head into the wall or try to dig his nails into his arm (not frequently but a few). I had a parent teacher conference this morning, he's smart as a whip, in advanced classes, picks up on things quickly, and cries in class 4-7 times a day. If he;s not paying attention and the teacher tells him to he cries, if he gets an answer wrong he cries, if he's doing something wrong and she tells him, he cries, and also says im a bad kid,etc... I have no idea what to do. He gets enough sleep, he has friends, he;s a bit bossy-but not bullied, he has food shelter, myself and his father love him and give him attention. He is not in an afterschool program...so he is with one of us most of the day? Am i missing something????
So What Happened?™
And it was just a phase..... thank goodness!
A.R. answers from Denver on February 07, 2008
It seems to me you should talk to his pediatrician. A little crying is normal, but this seems like more...
J.M. answers from Denver on February 08, 2008
Was there any difficult event that happened any time recently? Has someone told him he is a bad kid?
If not, I might be concerned that he may be experiencing some real mental health issues. You may want to speak to your pediatrician about it. It is possible for children to start experiencing depression (purely physiological) or other mental health issues at a young age, so you may want to rule it out. It also may be worth looking into some play therapy for him - therapists work with children through the use of free play to see if they start to act out themes and to begin discussing issues that are troubling them, which is very helpful with young children.
You must really be having a hard time - hang in there, and good luck. He will be fine, as long as his loving parents are on the case!
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L.W. answers from Albuquerque on February 08, 2008
My son is 9 and has had a couple of episodes like this, too -- banging his head, saying he just wants to die. It generally happens when he's overscheduled, not getting enough down time to process. Stress-induced, for sure. In Waldorf schools they call his personality "melancholic," meaning that he feels sad things very strongly and is likely to be very sensitive to others' pain as well. While we have taken his words seriously, we have also found a way to cope with them. He is just trying to let us know how strongly he is feeling pain. When he says things like he just wants it to be over, we make sure and tell him how sad that would make US feel if anything ever happened to him. Since we started that, he has really taken it to heart and understood the pain it would cause others if he was hurt, and he has pretty much stopped using those words now. We really listen to him when he is in the midst of his sadness, without words, just making sounds that are sympathetic, and then later doing an active listening thing where we feed his feelings back to him and talk about them. Of course, if it ever seems like he really wanted to hurt himself or if he had a plan for hurting himself, we'd take him to a counselor right away.
We have to keep his schedule fairly free and open, and also check in and make sure he knows that he can always tell us anything, without judgement. Check in and maybe tell him stories about when you were younger and felt sad, and what you decided.
I am a hypnotherapist, and I also want to tell you about something that can help called sleep therapy...when he has just fallen asleep, go talk to him and tell him he is a good boy, he's very special and you're very proud of him. Tell him you love him and he can talk to you about anything at all and you'll always love him. Just fill him up with good stuff. It's a very powerful process, and it's amazing how quickly that message gets in when you can say it right to his subconscious. If he is feeling like a bad boy, he has a self-esteem issue going on. That is a subconscious feeling coming out, letting you know that his inner critic, that voice we all have in our head, is not a kind voice. You can teach him to think about himself more positively, counteracting every negative thought with two positive ones. It works!
If you want to discuss it more, email me at ____@____.com luck!
K.R. answers from Santa Fe on February 08, 2008
My Daughter is almost 7 and going through a similar thing. I think she is going through a selfawareness thing. She says she doesn't like who she is and she wishes she could be perfect like other kids (who aren't perfect). It breaks my heart, and I just tell her how much I love the person she is, and wouldn't want her to be anyone else. I also encourage her to do her best. I think it is just a phase, and I hope that encouragement and love will help get them through it.
N.C. answers from Washington DC on February 08, 2008
Hi L.- Up until this year, when I decided to stay home with my son,I was a reading teacher. I think your sons school is a wonderful resource. There are many experienced and trained people there that can help you. It might be a good idea to talk to your sons teacher to set up and team meeting. They are often called different things in different school districts. It is a team of educators (the classroom teacher, parents, counselor, school psychologist, other support teachers) You and the teacher can share your concerns and together as a team you can brainstorm ideas.
M.L. answers from Tucson on February 08, 2008
Please please PLEASE get him to your pediatrician ASAP!!! Believe it or not, young children can suffer from depression and it sounds suspiciously close to that. Very treatable. I was an elementary classromm teacher(mostly 2nd grade) for 21 years and this came up with some children over the years. Hopefully, there will be a diagnosis. Please keep me posted!
S.Z. answers from Reno on February 08, 2008
He sounds like a perfectionist. There's six in our family (2 parents, 4 kids) and three of those are complete perfectionists. If they can't do something - anything! - absolutely flawlessly, they either become extremely upset or simply refuse to try at all. It sounds like your son is not measuring up to the impossible standards he's set for himself. (My oldest daughter was like that at his age.) Unfortunately, perfectionism is very common in very intelligent children. He knows that he's smarter than most kids, so he feels that he always has to be "better" than anyone else. Any time he sees that he's not perfect - he gets an answer wrong, gets into trouble, has to be reminded of a chore, is late - he will feel as if he's totally worthless. It will take A LOT of work on your part, and the part of his teachers and other adults in his life, to get him to see that perfection is impossible, and he shouldn't expect it. You might want to ask his school counselor or another counselor to help you. Point out the mistakes that amazing, intelligent people have made (the old "Einstein failed math" stories) so that he can see that mistakes do not cancel out accomplishments. Remind him that he is loved and valuable with flaws, because no one is perfect.
M.B. answers from Denver on February 08, 2008
When he is NOT crying and is doing something good on his own tell him awwwhoney you are doing such a good job thanks for helping and being such a good kid. Some kids need to hear than more than we think they do. You can show them they are a big help but sometimes they need to hear it! WHen you help him with his home work and you see he is doing a good job tell him so. Maybe sometime have him hel you do something and YOU mess up and ask him for his help. Like spill the floor and when he helps you tell him that you about cried when you spilled the floor because you hate messes but it made you feel so much better when he helped you clean it up then tell him you love him, hes a great little guy ext. There were times i felt like i was a burdon on my parents but it helped to hear that i was a big help and i was doing a good job.
Maybe teach him a bed time prayer so he has something uplifting to make him feel better.
J.L. answers from Tucson on February 08, 2008
I agree with some of the other moms who have encouraged you to seek an evaluation to determine what's going on. I've worked with children for 25 years, in a number of different settings, including educational, therapeutic, etc. The behaviors you mentioned do concern me, particularly the frequent crying, statements that he wants to die, and attempts to hurt himself. I would suggest talking to your pediatrician ASAP. It's possible that he has depression, ADD, or something else could be going on that he hasn't told you. It's hard to know, and the best thing would be for a professional to assess him. The good thing is, there are tons of agencies and professionals in the Phoenix area who work with children, and many of them are affordable. Best of luck! Keep us posted, ok?