Worried about extreme emotions in 6 yr old - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 10-29-2011, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just looking for some insight, as my son is really worrying me.  He has always been 'intense' emotionally in a variety of ways, but I have become increasingly concerned about his attachment to objects.  For example, tonight we were talking about something and DH said something about DS liking to be rocked to sleep when he was a baby.  Out of nowhere, DS starts to cry and say 'stop talking about me".  I said, "Why, what is upsetting you?".  He says, "It makes me sad to think about when I was a baby".  So, after some more of that he says, "your getting rid of all my memories, like the chair with the stool."  A few weeks ago we sold a glider that had been in his room when he was a baby.  I tried to explain to him that the memory is separate from the object, but that just made him cry harder.  This is not an isolated incident.  He will often become hysterical over things.  It is extremely difficult to get him to get rid of anything, because everything is 'special'.   I am really concerned that he could be a hoarder, or have some kind of serious emotional issue that needs to be addressed.  I've read about emotional over excitability in gifted kids, but I'm wondering if this is beyond that.  My fear is that at some point he will be too old for me to effectively help him if I don't do something now.  On the other hand, I don't want to overreact if this is common.  Any experiences you all could share with me would be greatly appreciated.

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#2 of 11 Old 10-30-2011, 05:25 PM
 
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How old is he? How often does this happen?

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#3 of 11 Old 10-30-2011, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He is almost 7.  He has a strong reaction almost always when it involves getting rid of something.  Sometimes he can be talked into it.  This latest example was unique because when it happened we really had no idea what was going on.  We sold the chair weeks ago and he knew about it at the time and was fine.  I guess he was making a connection between us rocking him to sleep as a baby and that chair.  He tends to be very sentimental and has a hard time with change.

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#4 of 11 Old 10-30-2011, 06:59 PM
 
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My two boys can become very sentimental about things--saving little tags from a tea, wrappers, etc.

 

My younger son used to get very upset about getting rid of stuff, but now through practice, he is not as emotional about it.

 

I think it is helpful to focus on 'documenting' things in other ways--draw a picture of it, write a story, etc. It may help for him to dictate the story to you, and you write it down. 

 

My son frequently brings a sketch book and draws things so "he can remember better." 


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#5 of 11 Old 10-30-2011, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Great ideas.  I have thought about trying to take pictures of things for him to keep.  I guess I just can't figure it out.  When he's sobbing like his heart is broke about something, I just can't help but think 'this isn't right'.  I just feel like it is so hard for him to be happy.  Everything is a big deal, everything is taken to heart.    He is intense with a capital I.  I worry that if we can't help him fix these things now, he is going to be an unhappy adult.  I was reading about making a reaction chart, scaled 1-10.  You ask the child to name the worst thing that could happen and put it next to 10, and then something that is a minor bad and put it next to 1.  Then  you fill in all the numbers between.  The idea being you can reference it when they start to freak out so they can see it is only comparable to a '2' or '3'.  I might try it.  

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#6 of 11 Old 10-31-2011, 12:22 AM
 
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A rating scale was very useful for us when ds1 was struggling with negative emotions, esp anger. You may want to consider if 1-5 may be easier than 1-10. It really depends on the child. Another thing that helped for us was building a wider perspective. This comes from selective exposure to news article of happenings around the world, stories about resilient children, or just general sharing about people we know who have triumph over personal hardship. Looking for role models really.

Keeping photo records is a good idea. Dh and I will snap photos for our boys. Half the time that is enough for them to let the objects go.

There was a period when ds1 was really fragile though. He cried almost everyday over small matters, but his class teacher sought me out one day to tell how surprised she was at his maturity ( surprising me in turn). We had a big blow up one night and it turned out that he felt I have not been spending time with him. I have been busy with renovations and working on his homework, and not just spending time with him. I also realized that I have been so busy with my younger child's eczema and nighttime crying I hardly even hug him anymore. it was clear in hindsight, but I really would not have connected his emotional outbursts with my unintended neglect because I felt I was spending so much time with him helping him with his work before dashing off to other matters. I realize now that I have been busy fixing him, not nurturing him.

Just thought I will raise that, esp with the quote on how memories are being thrown away. There could also be some anxieties about life transitions that you will be in a better position to judge. I tend to think it is not about the object per se.

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#7 of 11 Old 10-31-2011, 05:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks deminc.  I agree that it isn't about the object. It is whatever he associates with that object.  Your story about the blow up with your son is familiar.  We have had some similar things happen.  One night he totally freaked out at bed time... wouldn't put on his pajamas, wouldn't brush his teeth, starting screaming at me and flailing like I hadn't seen him do in 2 years.  Well, after much calming him down and talking, it turned out he had heard some say earlier in the week that my grandfather (his great-grandfather) had cancer.  He has a point of reference for that because my father-in-law died of cancer 2 years ago.  In the moment, those kinds of freak outs are totally bewildering.  As a parent your like, "HUH?  We were just getting ready for bed and now your throwing things?".  Anyway, we were thinking of getting him an inexpensive camera for Christmas.  Maybe I'll get him an album too.  That way he can keep pictures of all his 'special' things together.  It does take him a long time to get over change or hard experiences.  When my grandmother died him was 3 1/2.  He was still crying about it at night for over a year (not every night, but often).  People told me that children that age don't grieve for that long.  Well, mine did.  A year after we moved to a new house he started crying one day because he missed the painting that was on the wall in his old room.  Sometimes I feel  like so much of life is managing his emotions.  It is comforting to hear that you had a child that has improved and found ways to cope.  Thanks for your insights.

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#8 of 11 Old 10-31-2011, 06:28 AM
 
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my 8 yo son is terribly emotional subbing for replies


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#9 of 11 Old 10-31-2011, 08:27 AM
 
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Well, it seems like you have some good suggestions for his actual attachments; as far as the size of variability in his reactions to things, I have 3 children who must eat protein about 5x per day (would have a hard time being vegetarian...) to keep their blood sugar in balance.  It took me until dd2 was in 1st grade to correlate her 5 years of violent tantrums with her food, but we finally did, and insist on them choosing a protein snack (meat, cheese, yogurt, nuts, peanut butter on a spoon, etc.) before we address the tantrum.  It helps in a very short time for their blood sugar to stabilize.  I struggle with this myself and I can feel myself getting very sick feeling...  light headed, reactionary, and unreasonably angry, almost sick enough to vomit.  I occasionally sit and eat my own dinner before calling my kids for dinner if I've been getting light headed.  I hope that things work out.  But try to insist on food every 3 hours or more.  My daughter was 10 before she could really take on this responsibility herself.  It can only help.

 

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#10 of 11 Old 10-31-2011, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Bekka,  we thought of this recently.  We tend toward low blood sugar in my family, so I started trying to pay attention to giving him protein every few hours.  The jury is still out on whether it is making a significant difference.

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#11 of 11 Old 10-31-2011, 10:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekka View Post

Well, it seems like you have some good suggestions for his actual attachments; as far as the size of variability in his reactions to things, I have 3 children who must eat protein about 5x per day (would have a hard time being vegetarian...) to keep their blood sugar in balance.  It took me until dd2 was in 1st grade to correlate her 5 years of violent tantrums with her food, but we finally did, and insist on them choosing a protein snack (meat, cheese, yogurt, nuts, peanut butter on a spoon, etc.) before we address the tantrum.  It helps in a very short time for their blood sugar to stabilize.  I struggle with this myself and I can feel myself getting very sick feeling...  light headed, reactionary, and unreasonably angry, almost sick enough to vomit.  I occasionally sit and eat my own dinner before calling my kids for dinner if I've been getting light headed.  I hope that things work out.  But try to insist on food every 3 hours or more.  My daughter was 10 before she could really take on this responsibility herself.  It can only help.

 


this is an excellent point as well.  I find myself feeding my kids extra protein to regulate blood sugar, and I am this way, too! 

 

We've moved a lot in the past, and my kids still mourn their past homes, and get upset sometimes about missing them.  being sensitive is a double edged sword, and takes awhile to integrate it in a meaningful way.  It really is a big job, but well worth the effort.

 

As a parent I think the temptation is to fix the hurt, to make the problem go away.  But that is really doing our kids a disservice because it can invalidate the emotion, and it can make our kid more anxious--and really in the end it is their emotions and we need to give them the tools to handle them. 

 

We've focused on tools to reduce anxiety, which has also helped with regulating other emotions.  Talking to a therapist can be very helpful and might be a good resource for your son, as well. 

 


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