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Liam (6 years old, just finishing kindy) has some severe anger/sadness/anxiety over kids being mean to him at school. I'm not talking about organized bullying or anything - just comments from other children that he finds insulting. Like, he had a major tantrumy meltdown because a girl said he was funny. Not funny looking, or funny smelling - funny like "ha ha I enjoy your company because you make me laugh." (I was there, so I know how she meant it from her tone of voice, social context, etc). He came home today and broke down because when he was running at recess, another boy said he was slow. Last week, a girl said it was "gross" that he chews his shirts. The girls have made similar comments about him picking his nose and eating it (um, which he does) and eating messy (check!). He obsesses over the things they have said and will talk for days on end about them. He will cry and say he hates himself
: . I try to empathize (especially since I know what it's like to be a kid and think no one likes you), and make suggestions on how to handle it, but I feel like I'm handing out all these adult platitudes (like,"just because someone says something about you, it isn't true) or sometimes sympathizing with the "enemy" (like trying to explain to him that some people really don't like to see people pick their nose). Those things don' seem to be particularly helpful, but neither does saying "I can see why that hurt your feelings. That would hurt my feelings to. I can see it makes you angry and sad." I've tried to talk to him about addressing the other children directly or talking to his teacher if his feelings get hurt (His teacher has great conflict resolution skills that would make any MDC mama on the GD board swoon for him
) but he is adamant that he doesn't want to do that. I just feel like I talk in circles around him and he keeps focusing on these few negative things (or perceived negative things) that other people are saying, and I can't get him to let go of them. Does anyone have any concrete advice?
 

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Ask him what they say to other kids - very often if kids realize that ALL kids get comments like that, it's no longer so 'personal'. He may not realize that other kids are getting teased, joked with etc.

If he'll role play with you, try doing that so HE can be the one tossing out 'insults' and you can be the one who responds. Or do it with his toys.

Reading suggestions:
The Highly Sensitive Child
The Out of Sync Child (the shirt-chewing and nose picking made me wonder if there isn't a sensory need there - maybe getting him something to fulfill those needs like a fiddle sticks or something on the ends of his pencils he can chew would help)
 

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I was always immune to teasing b/c I got it daily from my brothers.

Maybe help him develop the perfect comeback? What did we used to say? "I'm made of rubber, you're made of glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks on to you." or "I know you are but what am I?"

OK, totally juvenile and completely meaningless, but oh so satisfying to have the last word.
 

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I have a sensitive child too. She is less effected by others with age, if that helps any (almost 8 now.) When I know she is having particular trouble with a child that we know she will see, we do a certian activity beforehand, kind of like "armoring yourself". For us we make a motion with our hand from foot to head that looks almost like you are zipping yourself up, if that makes sense. (I actually modelled after something a healer had taught me to do before being around toxic family members, you are essentially closing off your chakras so someone cannot effect you...but it is essentially a mind game, so you don't have to use those words.) It's something small, but worked well for dd. They feel like they have an invisible protective suit on that keeps them from being effected by others.

Otherwise, if we are discussing a past event, I just listen to whatever dd has to say, and sometimes ask questions like "how did that make you feel?", "Why do you think so snd so did/said that?" and most importanatly "How do you want me to support you in this?" What I find from dd is usually she doesn't want me to do anything but listen, and usually she can come up with good solutions on her own to the problem.

Goodluck.
 

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's to your sweet sensitive son. That just breaks my heart to hear how all that affects him.

My daugher, almost 5 now, is sensitive too. She has been in a Montessori program for the last few years and the school year always begins with heavy duty lessons on kindness and compassion (there is actually another word they use which I cannot think of right now...). Anyway, the environment there is very different than what I have observed in other schools and I worry about how she'll do outside of it. But...needless to say, there are still instances when the kids do say things that upset her.

One thing we try to reinforce or tell her is that, everyone is different and that some people just say things that can be mean. We try to tell her that those things just happen and that she should try to not let it bother her. (kind of like the suite of armor the pp mentioned). Also, sometimes I try to switch the focus and ask about the child that said the mean thing...maybe he was tired or not feeling well. Is there anything you can do to help him?

One more thing - I try to equate it to is how she sometimes says some things to me that aren't so nice...but that she still loves/likes me.

OK...these things are probably not the most insightful...but I just had to offer something.
 
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