Concerned about 5 year-old

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Concerned about 5 year-old
Tue, 06-19-2007 - 9:36am

Hey everyone - it's been awhile since I've posted, I sort of lurked for awhile but you guys have always given me good advice. I don't like talking about some stuff w/friends who know me because I want unbiased opinions and your friends don't need to know EVERYTHING about your kids, y'know?

My DS Sean is 5 1/2 and a wonderful child. He's funny, loving, outgoing and VERY talkative! He is also an only child. (I have no clue if this factors into anything, but just thought I'd mention it). Over the past few weeks he's been saying things like, "Mommy, I feel sad," or "Mommy I don't think I'm cute." He has been going through a lovely 5 y/o whining phase and of course he uses the sad/whiny tone when he says these things, so I don't know if he's whining sometimes or if there is a deeper issue. I will try to ask him questions to learn more about what he means, and he either says "I don't know" or "I don't want to tell you." If/when he does tell me, it often times has to do with another child "bossing him around." That's been a big "thing" with him over the past few months. I think he is confused between actual bossing and someone teaching him or telling him how to play a game, etc. We have had many talks about it, and I've tried to reiterate that if another child is telling him the rules of a ball game, it's not bossing. If another child demands that he play a certain game or do a certain thing, that's bossing. I also told him that when I'm not there I can't do anything but he needs to talk to his teacher/camp counselor if he's really upset and let them know that another child is bothering him. I also said that he can choose who he wants to be friends with or play with and he doesn't have to play with anyone he doesn't want to. He also has been sad because another child may not want to play the same game as him, but he will word it as, "Nobody wants to play with me." Not the same thing, I try explaining to him again.

I have no clue about the "I'm not cute" comment, that really threw me. I mean you hear the horror stories of 7 y/o girls saying they're fat - the last thing I expected with a kindergarten boy is for him to tell me he's ugly. That made me want to cry. All DH and I did was tell him we thought he was beautiful and so did a lot of other people. He didn't seem very convinced, though. I work out at a gym and I've taken him there with me at times (he went in the child care room) and we talk about what are healthy foods and what aren't. So he knows that I try to take care of myself. But I never EVER talk about how I look, I don't say, "I look fat in this" or anything of the kind. Even though he's a boy I always made an effort to not make any references to myself. So I have no clue where that came from!

In general he doesn't mope around, all downtrodden and depressed, sighing heavily and saying "I'm sad." He is happy to go to day camp (and he should - they do SO many activities!) and he cried last month when he had to say good bye to his Montessori teachers of three years. But I do think he is overly sensitive sometimes. I am pretty sure he gets that from me, genetically, if it's even possible. I remember being hypersensitive as a kid growing up.

I just don't know if I'm doing everything I can to help him. I don't want to minimize his "sadness" but I don't want to feed into anything he might be exaggerating. He's never asked why he doesn't have a sister or brother, so I don't think he's thinking about it - I try to have special "us" time every day and he did ask me to sign up for some field trips with camp because he said other Mommys come. (I have no idea if that's true or not, but I did tell him I'd come on some field trips).

Does anyone else's child act this way sometimes? Any ideas on what could be going on? Thanks so much for reading.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-19-2007
Mon, 06-25-2007 - 12:37pm

Well, your son is an only child. Family dynamics are so different with only one child as compared to having other siblings. Issues with sharing, taking turns, being a leader/follower in a game, first and last and so many other issues are resolved and worked out with siblings.

There is nothing wrong being an only child. Friends and playdates can provide the same benefit.

Talking about loneliness is a good thing. Sometimes, we need to be alone, sometimes, we need to be with people. I think camp is a great social environment for him.

I think your doing a great job!!! Things will work out just fine and he will be the person who he is meant to be in life! Enjoy your summer!!!