son tried to choke himself

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2002
son tried to choke himself
7
Wed, 06-18-2008 - 9:43am

Hi,

My 10-year-old son brought back his folders from school for the year and there was a writing assignment on New Year's resolutions he wrote in January. One his resolutions was to have higher self-esteem, and he said that sometimes he feels worthless and considers choking himself.

I remember his teacher bringing this up at our conference because we were discussing how hard my son is on himself, despite his intelligence (he's been tested as gifted), but she didn't see it as a red flag. But when I read the essay, I was concerned, so I asked my son about it. He said he had done it two or three times this past winter, always when his stepbrother was around, but he said it had nothing to do with his stepbrother. He said he was feeling depressed at the time and he wasn't sure why. He also said he knew that choking yourself could make you die, but that he didn't want to die. He said he hasn't done it for several months now. I asked him if he actually considered himself worthless and he said no. He said he thought his self-esteem was better now (he started Little League and has done very well, so he and I both thought that was perhaps helping).

In general, my son is a highly intelligent, loving, emotional child. He has a negative streak, always sees the glass as half-full. And he's very dramatic in general. We moved to a new town two years ago, and he has two close friends, but is often down about not having more. He's a little bit of a geek, but he's not teased or bullied. I also remarried two years ago and had a baby. He has an OK relationship with his stepdad--he thinks he's too strict but he also thinks he's funny--adores his new sister and his stepbrother. He had a hard time adjusting, but seems to have adjusted more lately. His grades are good; he's eating well; he's involved in baseball; he sleeps well; and in general doesn't appear sad and miserable all the time. I don't see any other warning signs of depression except for this statement in the essay.

I'm not really sure what to make of this. Should I immediately call a therapist?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-11-2007
Wed, 06-18-2008 - 12:53pm
I probably would,especially since he has tried hanging himself at least twice.He is entering an emotional age,so I would expect some drama,but trying to hurt yourself can be a red flag.Your ds has been through alot in he las wo years new siser a stepdad a step brother,plus having to make a new se of friends.It may be nothing but it is better to catch this and nib this the bud before it becomes more serious.Kids this age can be dramtic.I know my 12 year old is,but she never talks about hurting herself.

Laura mom to Gabrielle


 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Wed, 06-18-2008 - 1:08pm

I agree with Laura, I would seek some type of counseling with a therapist.

I see a lot of myself and feelings and actions I had as a teen in your post about your son. I think seeking a therapist now will help him with self-esteem and relationships now and in the future.

Good luck and keep us posted.






















iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2002
Wed, 06-18-2008 - 2:02pm
Thanks. Just to clarify, he didn't try to hang himself. If he did that, I would be calling the therapist right now! But I agree with you that he's having some issues it'd be good to talk about with someone.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-07-2008
Thu, 06-19-2008 - 5:26am

Time for some outside intervention. Even if it's just to unpick that this is normal stress release for him and that he has no real intention of self harm. At least it will be aload off your mind and he can use the therapist as the outlet for his feelings.

Good luck

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2007
Sun, 06-22-2008 - 12:54am

Yes, I would call one. He sounds upset about the new marriage, IMO. Divorce is hard on kids, I've gone through it too, and re-marriage.

Keep us updated.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-07-2004
Sun, 06-22-2008 - 3:31pm

He said he's done it whn his stepbrother is around - what was his stepbro doing at the time your DS tried to choke himself? For instance, if it was a baby that wouldn't stop crying, frustration could build and he could have wanted him to just STOP crying - to the point where he'd want to choke him(!) BUT because he knows he can't hurt his bro, he would turn that action to himself instead. Of course, being a kid, he wouldn't understand that yes, it does have to do with his stepbro OR he'd say that it doesn't because he doesn't want you to get upset or that he feels bad for acting that way with his stepbro around.


I'd definitely find him somone to talk to.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2002
Mon, 06-23-2008 - 10:08am
His stepbrother is a year younger than he is and they absolutely adore each other. When my son did this, he said his stepbrother got mad at him for it (and was probably scared, too). He said it has nothing to do with his stepbrother, and I believe him. His new baby sister is not a cryer, and he is constantly playing with her and telling her he loves her. So I think the issue isn't the siblings. It's either school in general--switching schools, not having many friends, the cliques starting--or his new life in general, including a new marriage and new home. He's always been insecure and self-critical. When he was 3, if he couldn't draw something "right," he'd start crying and crumple up the paper and throw it out. He has dramatic reactions to everything, and I am sure it'll be an issue as he heads into middle school. He's 10 now and has one more year of elementary school. Hopefully we can work some of this out before he starts middle school.