DS is 3 years and 5 months old and the past week and a half he's been saying nobody likes him. He says it when he tells a stranger "hi" and they don't respond, if someone accidentally bumps him, or if we try to discipline him. He says it when we're in a crowd of people/kids and he feels overwhelmed keeping pace, or gets his feelings hurt. He says it while crying or looking extremely sad and upset. It's beginning to worry my husband and me because of how emotional he gets saying it, like he truly believes it.
We give him lots of hugs and kisses, comfort him, and go through a list of everyone who loves and likes him. We tell him how amazing he is, how special and kind, and eventually he comes around and cheers up happily. But then it happens again. DS has always been a highly emotional child, and even with all the playgroups he's been in, and school, he's had social issues from birth. He tends to shy away from unfamiliar kids, especially large groups, and we find he prefers the company of girls, calmer kids, or quiet corners. He's also incredibly sweet, caring, smart, and is well liked by the group of kids and parents we keep company with.
Any advice? From what I've read we should ignore it so we don't perpetuate it. But he's so upset we think he needs something more - therapy, or talks with his doctor. It's mostly my husband who feels this way. I lean more toward he'll work it out in time once he realizes how cool of a kid he really is. But it does worry me, given how sensitive he's always been, that maybe this is the start of something more.
Some kids feel so deeply. They are so sensitive and worry about the big stuff. While reassuring has its place in this scenario I think it is also good to acknowledge these deep feelings that that it is okay to feel them and feel them fully. I think ignoring it is not a good idea...if people ignored me when I express something that bothers me or worries me I would feel horrible. Like I don't matter and my feelings are invalid.
It sounds like he is an introvert too, I think many (but not all) sensitive people are introverts. Being an introvert isn't a social issue or something to be fixed. If he is an introvert it is part of who he is and that is okay. It can be really hard to parent an introvert if you are an extrovert...I've got tons of first hand experience at that! I'm sure the opposite is equally difficult.
Why not look for a good child psychologist that does play therapy? An expert opinion can help both of you - your son can have a safe 3rd party to help him process and you can learn some new parenting skills to help you and your son on this journey.