DS is SOOOO sensitive - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 08-23-2013, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I am getting very concerned about ds, age 6.5 and his sensitivity to criticism or perceived criticism. He also has a hairtrigger temper, which he has had since he was about 1.5, and he doesn't really seem to be growing out of it. In fact, it seems to be getting worse. For example, he will think someone is laughing at him or mocking him and he will blow up or burst into tears. This happens most often in his family, but at school and soccer sometimes too. Most of the time, no one is even paying attention to him.


He is also INCREDIBLY concerned about his appearance and whether or not people are going to laugh at him. But he has such a skewed perception of what people will notice. For example, they have two colors of uniform shirts at his school. I think every child there has some of each, and last year he was fine wearing one or the other, but this week he decided he will only wear one color. When we've had incidents like this before, it was based on something he overheard or misinterpreted, and I imagine that's what happened this time, too.


I suspect he is highly gifted though he hasn't been tested yet, and sometimes I think it's part of an extra awareness or obsessiveness or something. But then sometimes I think he's bipolar or has something else going on. I actually did a little assessment that I found online yesterday, and he scored very high for pediatric bipolar disorder, based on some other issues he has, like disrupted sleep and craving sweets. However, I am very skeptical of that in such a young child. 


If any of you have a gifted child like this, please share! Did they grow out of it? My 10 yo dd is highly gifted, but very unaware and doesn't care or notice much what people think about her. And my middle son tested as gifted, but he is very socially skilled. So I don't know if this is just something new that he'll grow out of, or something more serious.

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#2 of 4 Old 08-24-2013, 02:13 PM
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Its really so hard to say with out knowing your kid. I wouldn't put a whole lot of thought into an online assessment for a major diagnosis. My ds is very sensitive about thinking people are laughing at him too. At times it is really bad. Other times not so much. Anyway, I wonder if you have considered some therapy for your child. A place where he can express his fears and learn how to deal with them in a more appropriate way. A life skill that will help him now and later. I haven't done it for my ds yet but the last time we had a rough patch I decided on some therapist I could contact when/if we need them in the future.

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#3 of 4 Old 08-26-2013, 03:19 AM
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Hi Fuamami, long post, but I can relate. I was diagnosed bi-polar, with mostly mania, age 45, but in retrospect it is easy to see I have had it for decades. 1st depression age 8, very sensitive, every word other said took so seriously... bright but in the wrong environment rigid school with lots of rules, lack of acceptance of other thoughts and views... I got therapy starting age 8, and I think it was useful, but I was always paranoid (prhaps rightly so as children have no rights) that my therapist would tell my parents anything so I didn't reveal as much as I would have liked to. I think what would help your child would be some goal based therapy - not lying on a couch talking to quiet therapist type, but one with role playing social situations... and definetely have the therapist discuss what the childs rights are, so he feels safe talking with him/her. 


I have a 6yo dd and an 8yo son. 6yo is like her dad. 8yo has intense mood swings - if something is unfair he can't let it go for 2 hours, it is going around in his mind (very typical bi-polar trait). He takes others words too much to heart. He bursts into tears first, and explains the problem, after much prodding, afterwards. He doesn't like itchy labels, seams on socks... My son does can let go if we work on it, and has friends enough now and experience enough now that he does not think others are laughing or mocking. However, I remember I did when I was his age, and I think that is also bi-polar. Both my son and I are perfectionists, in some areas. And both of us are very hard on ourselves, we do not need for others to have high expectations because our own expectations are already high, often too high, which really hurts.


I think part of the reason it is better for my son than myself at that age, is because I understand him. I see myself, and can think, what is the better way to help him right now with this situation? Could be easy thing like working on breathing to calm down. Could be a long discussion. Could be just respecting that that is how he is. My parents did not understand me or my behavior, so I was always regarded as a huge disappointment, and teased or punished about it, which did not help. NOT teasing my son, but trying to help him, has helped a lot. He has friends from his class and the one below, has best friends, has play dates.... Our son is at a school that is terrible academically. Really bad. But it is close, and the school is very preoccupied with the social aspects - letting others join in play, being kind, anti-bullying... He has play dates with the kids, which is easy because they are all nearby. Later, in 6th we will move him to a private like his sister, so he can get an education. But right now, he doesn't need that stress, which it would be for him. He needs safe, healthy, social enviornment. He has this, and this has helped tremendously. 


I DO NOT say your child has bi-polar. Nor my own. It is too early I think. But I do think though that you should educate yourself, look for the signs, and really try to find ways to help him with the issues he has, at the time he has them. Work on the social, in a good enviornment, I would even say at the expense of education. Once the social is very good, the education can come. But no matter how bright, no one can learn in stress mode.


Also, in my case I got better at age 12. My brain started to click, I was able to focus instead of working on 20 projects at once. I figured out the social skills I was weak in, and I was moved to a healthier enviornment, which for me was public school. I learned to fake it until I could make it. I pretended to be confident, until I was. I can't prove it, but I have the feeling something like this will happen with my son. Which is why we are moving him to private at that age, when he can get a fresh start. Although at this point his social is so much better than mine was at the same age that that may also be up for discussion.


Send me a link to the online form, I am interested in what it says. You should not take them totally seriously, but if your instinct tells you something is off, then listen to it. A few points- the average bi.polor diagnose is made 20 years after the first mania or depression. Tons of misdiagnoses. It is related to epilepsy - same meds, I had pubescent seizures, which is statistically common with later bi-polar, so make a note of that. Meds do not work with everyone and have terrible side effects. I am lucky to have stable meds with little side effects, and have been mania and depression free since being on them, but I MUST be on them. Also, watch major life events, stressors and traumas. If you have bi-polar and you have a major event, which causes a mania or depression, then your body gets predisposed to having this condition. So the next major event can cause a mania or depression which is even worse. This could be anything, but no proof as to which if any will trigger the mania or depression - moving, death of family member, rejection or acceptance into something major... In my case I always had minor manias and a few depressions. But the birth of my son was so traumatic, that all the manias and depressions that came after became worse, until I was diagnosed and got the medicine and therapy I needed. So now I have to be careful, because minor things can set me off. Bi-polar is like pregnancy. Get pregnant once and your body goes back to normal afterwards. But get pregnant again and your hips move around, everything changes. Your body is in the prepared to be pregnant again. Get 1 bi polar episode and your body can go back to normal. But get another one and hen your body is prepared to get manic or depressed again.

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#4 of 4 Old 08-27-2013, 10:36 AM
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I don't know much about pediatric bipolar (nothing really) except that it's being diagnosed more often now than in the past. Here's the thing- my son is highly gifted and has a lot of quirks. Some gifted children do not, but anecdotally I've often read/heard about some difficult and out of the ordinary behaviors in HG+ kids. For us, I couldn't pinpoint whether the behaviors were caused by, exacerbated by, or unrelated to giftedness. Given that your DS is having outbursts, I would talk with a psychologist about his behavior or at least start with his pediatrician. You might also schedule him for an IQ test to confirm giftedness and at what level. A full neuropsych evaluation would probably have an IQ test component- it's more comprehensive but may ease your mind. If it helps my son did (and does) all kinds of things that are difficult or a bit different. The only "drivers" that have remained consistent are moderate sensory and anxiety issues.
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