Child Freaking Out When You Sing "Happy Bday" to Him

Updated on July 07, 2010
N.D. asks from Newark, OH
17 answers

My son will be 5 yrs next week and has always freaked out when you sing "Happy Bday" to him. He is fine when his friends and teachers at preschool sing "happy bday" to him. He said he just gets scared when mommy, daddy, grandma and grandpa sing the song. If we are at my nephews bday party and we all sing to him, he still screams and cries. It is so strange! We were out to eat the other night and a large crowd was singing "happy bday" to someone and he was totally fine. It is just us and his grandparents. His birthday is next week and he told me that he doesn't want us to sing to him b/c it scares him. Any ideas of why he does this or anyone else have the same experience?

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answers from Dallas on

I had a cousin sort of like that growing up, he didn't like loud sounds, and this one party place for kids had a horn, he would always cry and when I was little I would say he would "ruin" my birthday, just too young to really understand. It could be a couple of things, the attention he's getting, or he could have a sensory disorder that loud noises affect him.
Ask him if everyone just says "Happy Birthday" if that bother's him, then everyone could say it and he could blow out his candles...
Happy Early Birthday to Him...

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1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

My daughter was the same way. Only she didn't like anyone singing to her. She still hates it, but tolerates it. When she was younger, I would ask her if we could sing to her, and if the answer was no, we didn't. Eventually she did let us sing to her because she knew it was important to us.

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answers from San Francisco on

So skip the song and bring on the cake and ice cream!


6 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

No rhyme or reason. When he was really little, my son used to burst into tears when I would sing ANY song with "moon" in it, especially Moon River.
Don't sing it to him. You could substitute "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow". Do you do the "cha-cha-cha's" in between lines when you do Happy Birthday? It might distract him and crack him up. Do you think the four of you sound a little slow-boring-down-tempo? LOL
Anyway, I just wouldn't sing the song--allow him to make his wish, blow out his candles and he'll be fine!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

My daughter hated it because she didn't like being the center of attention, even on her birthday. My inlaws were so rude about it and insisted that we do it anyway. 'Scuse me, but it's HER birthday. Why would you want to make a child unhappy on their birthday??? As you can see, I disagree with the previous posts that say do it anyway.

Yeah, it was strange, and sure, my daughter did outgrow it, but what we did was to choose to respect her wishes on her birthday and say as we were bringing out the cake:

"Let's say Happy Birthday and clap!" Then we'd say "Happy Birthday!" and clap. Then chow down on cake and icecream. We didn't really care about WHY it bothered her, we just figured it was her day, let her be happy.

If he doesn't want you to sing, don't do it. Hope you all have fun on his birthday!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Medford on

ask if you can wisper the song. Maybe the loadness of everyone scares him. If not then skips the song and go straight to the cake. Singing Happy birthday is fun, but not if it tortures the child. Its about celebrating them that day, do what is best for him.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Oh god, you've just described my niece. Ever since her 1st b-day, she has burst out screaming hysterically when we sing to her (or anyone else, for that matter).

At this point (she turned 5 this past spring) we just make a joke about how bad our family sings.
No idea why it happens. And it's just that song. But we do it anyway. She's getting better as she gets older. But it IS weird.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

That is sooo my nephew he freaks out and will cry and really just go hide in his room for the rest of the party so they just count his age and he can blow out the candles. So he just turned five and everyone counted out loud to 5 and then he blew them all out seemed to work for him just fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Really funny, could make a great funniest home video, except you hate to uspset him so much on purpose.

Maybe it embarrasses him to have the people he loves the most sing to him?. He becomes overwhelmed. Maybe it is too loud.

Ask him before his birthday what you all could sing to him instead. Would it be ok if you all hummed or if you all used kazoos or does he want you to all count to 5?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

If he does not like it, do not do it. Don't try to figure out why, you will just
make yourself nuts.

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answers from New York on

My 2 kids hate a song, a different one each one. My older was a music from one music box I had, and my toddler when we sing opera style.
I will confess, I did it again to film them because I thought it was funny. But I stop after that. They were about 4 months both of them when this happen.
Maybe Denise is right and you guys sound bad when sign together. Have you ever went to Disney in Halloween at night, we went once and the had the same music that they play at day but they make it very slow and it sounded soo creepy!! LOL.
At 5 year old I wouldn't sing any more, I hope one day he can figure out why it bothers him and can tell you why.
Maybe you can get just a cd of the ship-monks singing instead.
I always laught with them. Or make your own happy birthday family song and ask him to help you guys.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

DON'T SING IT TO HIM! It's like the old Groucho Marx joke - man walks into the doctor's, sez, "Doc, it hurts when I do this." Doc sez, "Don't do that!"

Sing a different song, or better yet, tell him that he deserves a special song of his own and have him and anyone else he wants to have participate write a special birthday song just for him. is just the idea of a birthday freaking him out. Do you guys say things like, "When you grow up you will have a house of your own..." or anything that starts him thinking about getting older and having his life situation change in ways he just might not like? Honestly you would be surprised what can freak a kid. If that is the case then just downplay the birthday thing and just say "It's Joey Day!" or whatever and remind him he is still your little boy.

Something is going on there, but, let's face it, kid psychology can be pretty tough to figure out.



answers from San Francisco on

Never heard of it, but he will appreciate it as a funny story one day.

Is is just "Happy Birthday" he cries at, or is it the fact of a bunch of people singing at him?

If he doesn't like it, then don't sing it -- it's his birthday. As a cute alternative, you can look up Las Mananitas on YouTube, it's the Spanish birthday song, but it's not the same tune or words (kind of strange birthday words, actually). You could sing that to him instead, if you are able to sing Spanish at all. You only have to sing the first verse. "Estas son las mananitas que cantaba el rey David, etc."

(On the other hand, per Laurie A, it WOULD make a really funny home video -- I have been known to scare my kid on purpose a couple of times and then tape's really funny 10 years later.)



answers from Joplin on

yep! my son always teared up at that one,very very normal. :>) lol



answers from Washington DC on

Around that age my daughter told me "Mom you can't sing", and after that " mom you can't dance". I think it is an age thing.



answers from Toledo on

For no reason what-so-ever, my daughter HATED the happy birthday song. So we allowed her to pick whatever song she wanted us to sing instead (she always chose Twinkle Twinkle Little Star). Every year we tried Happy Birthday first, but she would immediately begin screaming and crying and cover her ears until her 5th birthday (which was also when she had a party with friends). So I am guessing #6 will be okay next month as well.
I am sure your son will out grow it. Get whatever song you do sing on video tape because one day you will all look back on this and laugh together as you share this memory.


answers from Seattle on

don't sing to him! he has made it clear that it makes him uncomfortable and scared. Maybe right before he goes to bed sing it to him softly as he is going to sleep if you just can't get through his birthday without singing! lol

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