I need advice, mamas. My 7yo son is so hard on himself. A few times now when he's been upset about something he's said things like "I hate myself", "I'm so stupid", "I'm so mean", "I don't like myself". The most recent examples - the "I hate myself"and "I'm so stupid" after a soccer game where his team lost (he felt he had played badly, which he hadn't - he played like a 7yo!), and today, the "I'm so mean" and "I don't like myself" came when we were discussing a problem with a friend and her mother today where he had gotten really upset about the problem and was crying and was saying some not-so-nice things about them (not when they could hear), so when we were discussing afterwards how he had acted he was really upset about it and said those things about himself, in tears.
It's quite a shock to hear your 7yo say such emotionally charged things about himself. How can I help him?
I would start by telling him he's a big beautiful
boy who makes, once in a while, little mistakes. He's
not mean; he said something that might have hurt
somebody. He's not stupid; he made a mistake.
Then when you stub your toe or make a mistake
say, "Don't want to do that again." Trying to tell
him he's wonderful but has tiny imperfections that
can get smaller and smaller.
During the day pick up his favorite toy or something
and then with a smile go to throw it in the trash or
exclaim it's useless and show him a teensy little
crack or scratch on it. A peice of pie with less than
perfectly symmetric crust is "garbage." Play at putting
yourself and him in a trash bag because you both have
a pimple along with some tickling and mayhem perhaps.
Keep going to give him a treat and then withdraw it
because of some imperceptible flaw. Lock people out
of the house if one shoe has a mark on it; that sort
of thing as long as he's smiling or laughing.
"Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make
for our children." ~ Tatanka Iotanka
Join and help start the nonprofit organization "World Parent"
first just so you know its a v. normal thing.
they are developing their consciousness and they realise they could be 'bad' too.
with dd i didnt make a big deal out of it at all.
i just shrugged and said something like 'yeah i know. i feel like that sometimes. sometimes i dont like myself either. <shrug> but its just sometimes. and then i figure out how not to repeat that again.' my whole attitude thru that was - yeah i know. no big deal. we all go thru it ourselves.
this is how parenting has been evolving for me these last few years after 5. its more about empathy and being heard. kinda like - yeah i know. sometimes life just sucks. but ah well i am not going to let that get me down. i'll just try harder.
our kids dont need fixes. they dont need to hear 'no you are not stupid'. they know that inherently. their comments are about momentary things.
just be there for him. just listen to him and empathise with him. his emotions are evolving to another level. just help him and hug him and empathise with him thru his hard times.
he just wants to know even at his lowest his mommy still loves him.