So he will actually be 11 next week. The biggest change is that since this school year started, he is very very emotional, especially at bedtime. He cries every night when it's time for bed. It's not the "I don't want to go to bed" kind of cry. It's like a sadness. He starts to analyze his life and says things like "5th grade is too hard and I hate 5th grade", "I hate my life", and things like that. Mind you, we just got is report card and he has straight As, is in the GT program, Lego robotics, and our family life is really awesome.
He is the oldest of 4 and I think he puts too much pressure on himself to be the "perfect one". His 9-yr-old brother is known as "the crazy one", but also really gifted.
He cries at random things and yesterday told me he hated me just because I asked him to watch his sister at the playground, so I could conference with his teacher. When he was so upset, i told him he didn't have to. I know part of it is hormones, but I'm worried about deppression.
I talked about his emotions with his teacher and she is a little concerned, but in school she sees a happy, very popular boy, who seems to love to be there. He was just voted by his classmates to get an award and he has a lot of nice friends.
I know from experience that things can look great on the outside, but be falling apart on the inside. We do have depression in our family (me) and my aunt who committed suicide.
I'm worried that the nighttime sadness is depression. For me, it started when I was 11 and my biggest fear is that this will go unaddressed.
I have a boy the same age (turned 11 today.) He can get really emotional too. He broke down a few days ago because he couldn't think of a single thing he wanted for his birthday and everyone kept asking him. He cried at home over some missed assignments (they were done but he'd forgotten to turn them in and you don't get reminders in 6th grade.) He's my youngest but he also has an incredibly high achieving sister and puts a lot of pressure on himself to be "as good" even though he's an entirely different person with gifts and talents of his own that she doesn't share. It's not a nightly thing, maybe once every couple months and usually caused by an distinct and external situation.
In 3rd grade though, the break downs were almost nightly because he was getting bullied. The teachers and staff were totally unaware. DS didn't tell us even when we asked. It was coming from "friends" so harder to detect. If it wasn't for the girls telling their parents and those parents calling me concerned, none of us would have known. We were able to turn in around quickly but the scars are there. Is there anyone who could be giving your DS a hard time? Might be worth really looking into even if he seems well-liked and popular.
If he were a girl, I'd be more apt to say hormones. It's not that boys can't experience hormonal swings at this age but they usually hit puberty a little later. It's typically the girls who cry at the drop of a hat at this age. If you can't get anything out of him and no one has a clue, it might be worth looking for some outside help. Does your school district have a counsellor? That can be a good first step.
That's hard. As I've often seen written here, kids deserve to feel good and to get help when they're struggling.
Mom to a teenager and a middle schooler.