depressed 8 year old? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 03-13-2007, 12:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi- I posted this on "childhood years" as well, but thought I would ask my homeschooling community as well

I am feeling so emotionally exhausted right now. My 8 year old DS is pushing me to my limit. For the past couple weeks, he has hardly had a positive thing to say. He stomps, throws, bursts into tears, or lashes out at whoever is close at almost everything. Both DH and I brace ourselves everytime we have to tell him to get ready for bed, stop playing and come inside, etc. I am finding it so hard to have normal conversations with him, because I usually afraid something will bring on the tears, or I am recovering from his last outburst. We are outside a lot, hiking, playing. It's not school stress because we HS, very relaxed. He hardly eats any sugar, and has been getting decent hours of sleep. Whats wrong? Is it chemical? We have a history on both sides of family. I am asking all you mamas out there: do you have anything to suggest I read about this? Could it be a diet thing, he does have some sensitivities. Its not weather related, as we are in SoCal and the weather has been very sunny. I am at a loss, feeling at the end of my rope. I miss my happy boy. I miss the easy going days, and feel wrecked over this emotional rollarcoaster we are on. DH is no help, I wish I could say he is. He is sick of it, and has been very negative out loud to DS, which breaks my heart. HELP
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#2 of 10 Old 03-13-2007, 02:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by happiestasamom View Post
Whats wrong? Is it chemical? We have a history on both sides of family. I am asking all you mamas out there: do you have anything to suggest I read about this? Could it be a diet thing, he does have some sensitivities.
It could absolutely be a diet thing - especially coming on so strong like that. Did something in his diet change recently? Did he start eating much more of something that he had previously been okay with?

My son (now nine) had to deal with a soy allergy/sensitivity for three years before we figured it out. He would rage and rage and rage. The smallest things would set him off, and when they did, you could watch him change. It was like he went away - his eyes were vacant. There was really nothing that you could do to bring him back; you just had to wait it out. He would rage several times a day, often for an hour or more at a time. It was terrible. He was such a stressed out little kid (and I was such a stressed out mom). I was about this close to having him evaluated for rapid cycling bipolar disorder when I realized that the rages coincided with his introduction to soy-based foods (milk, meat, cheese, etc.).

So, we cut out soy (harder than you'd imagine - it's in everything), and the change was immediate and dramatic. He stopped raging - completely. It was like a miracle. I still sit in wonder, sometimes.

Anyway, YMMV, but I wanted to throw that out there. I hope everything settles down soon. In the meantime, just be gentle and work with his ups and downs as best you can. Feel free to PM me if you feel like talking.
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#3 of 10 Old 03-13-2007, 02:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by happiestasamom View Post
Hi- I posted this on "childhood years" as well, but thought I would ask my homeschooling community as well

I am feeling so emotionally exhausted right now. My 8 year old DS is pushing me to my limit. For the past couple weeks, he has hardly had a positive thing to say. He stomps, throws, bursts into tears, or lashes out at whoever is close at almost everything. Both DH and I brace ourselves everytime we have to tell him to get ready for bed, stop playing and come inside, etc. I am finding it so hard to have normal conversations with him, because I usually afraid something will bring on the tears, or I am recovering from his last outburst. P
Can you address some of these in a manner as you would issues needing discipline? I'd encourage your dh to be gentle, consitent, but strong and clear about what is acceptable and what is not. Then you'll both need to follow through when he tests your limits.
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#4 of 10 Old 03-13-2007, 06:17 AM
 
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When we encountered issues like this with my middle son (now 13), we tried a lot of things. My eldest also had begun doing similar, though to a lesser degree, but he is a very laid back kid anyway

We tried a lot of things, and then discovered they had reached a point where unschooling and relaxed schooling simply was not working for them. They wanted MORE structure. So went from what we were doing to using an umbrella school with a curriculum in abox, still allowing for breaks as they needed or wanted them, but with a schedule of sorts more in place. This made all the difference.They tell us now that they felt "different" to everyone else at that age and it was not a fun feeling IYSWIM, so wanted to be "more like everyone else" but not go to school.

I would say your son is trying to express something that he worries about, but cannot articulate particularly. Find out what it is he may not even know what it is. Mine did not, until we settled on a firmer schedule and curriculum and he settled in. So until you find the solution, sometimes you never discover the problem. best wishes.
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#5 of 10 Old 03-13-2007, 10:52 AM
 
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Few thoughts:

Did something traumatic to him happen? Perhaps you could bring him to neutral ground - like a restaurant or solo hike-and take about it. It could be he is upset or hurting about something.

Is it a discipline issue? What is he getting out of this behaviour? Do you "give in" when he whines, cries, ect? Make sure your own behaviour is loving, but consitent around expectations.

Lastly - is DH being mean (like name calling) or being impatient and strict? You and Dh need to make a game plan together on how to handle the outbursts - and DH needs to be held to it.

As a homeschooler, I often find my children behave better when they get away from me for a few hours a week: It gives us each a break - and halts any rising tensions. Does he get much independance/away from mom socialising?

kathy
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#6 of 10 Old 03-13-2007, 10:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
Few thoughts:

Did something traumatic to him happen? Perhaps you could bring him to neutral ground - like a restaurant or solo hike-and take about it. It could be he is upset or hurting about something.

Is it a discipline issue? What is he getting out of this behaviour? Do you "give in" when he whines, cries, ect? Make sure your own behaviour is loving, but consitent around expectations.

Lastly - is DH being mean (like name calling) or being impatient and strict? You and Dh need to make a game plan together on how to handle the outbursts - and DH needs to be held to it.

As a homeschooler, I often find my children behave better when they get away from me for a few hours a week: It gives us each a break - and halts any rising tensions. Does he get much independance/away from mom socialising?

kathy

:

homeschooling mama to DD 10 & DS 7 blogging.jpg

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#7 of 10 Old 03-13-2007, 12:02 PM
 
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I posted under childhood and assumed it was probably school related social dynamics. I still recommend reading Raising Cain and suggest you try to get your dh to read it. It was a real eye opener for my dh. It might help him see how his being raised "to be a man" is effecting his relationship with his ds.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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#8 of 10 Old 03-13-2007, 08:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by happiestasamom View Post
I am finding it so hard to have normal conversations with him, because I usually afraid something will bring on the tears, or I am recovering from his last outburst.
Well, the "usually afraid something will bring on the tears" part of what you said makes me think it's emotionally based. If you are afraid that he will cry when you talk to him, then you have to change your perspective.....he is "crying out loud" with his angry outbursts. He needs to be heard and his feelings need to be validated (hs'ing or not). Believe me when I say that I say this with support. I don't mean to cause any hard feelings....it's just that I've been there in my journey as a mother. It's so much easier to listen to their feelings when they have them, then to ignore them and have them come out in negative behaviors.

Read Connection Parenting...it's been a life-changer for me

Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
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#9 of 10 Old 03-13-2007, 08:57 PM
 
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Both DH and I brace ourselves everytime we have to tell him to get ready for bed, stop playing and come inside, etc.
This sounds like a difficulty with transitioning from A to B to me, but I would keep a log of when his outbursts happen for a week or two. If they mostly happen during transitions, I HIGHLY recommend:

The Explosive Child

Understanding and Helping Easily Frustrated, "Chronically Inflexible" Children

by Ross W. Greene, Ph.D.


This has given us invaluable insights into how to support our daughter whose troubles all center around shifting gears and has led us to choose our battles, give lots of notice for transitions, and work on the art of comprimise. The biggest lightbulb was realizing that she is not being willful, or trying to control us, but that she really can't help it!

Good luck . . .
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#10 of 10 Old 03-13-2007, 09:36 PM
 
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I'm having this with my 9yo DD. Read up on what Waldorf has to say about the 9yo change and how to handle it. (easy to find on the internet!) It helped us a lot. A lot of kids go through this at around this age! Good luck!
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