Guest Posts

Guest Post: Does my son need to toughen up? 

The lovely Suzy from Our Bucket List Lives has written a post for us- Do you think her son needs to toughen up?

Jamie is going to be 4 in a few months and the past few weeks have been some of the most challenging. He is wimpy, whiny, completely over sensitive and most of all shy. I worship the ground he walks on but sometimes he bugs the hell out of me.Today = Whined because he didn’t want to cough, cried because he thought he had bird poo in his eye, said Ow over nothing about 10 times, ignored his friend at school when he said Hello, ignored the man at the restaurant (who he knows well) about 3 times, whined about 4 times because he had tummy ache (we hear this often when he just needs the loo). The list could go on!

He is basically over sensitive. The other day we went to his first proper birthday party for school. He was so excited. We wrapped her present and he wrote in the card. Then I had the usual 20 repetitive questions ‘When are we going to the party, when are we going to the party’ You know the kind!

So we get to the party and he refuses to walk in the door. No amount of gentle persuasion would get him in there.. Bearing in mind it was a room full of his friends I was really surprised that this was his reaction. If he’d have sulked anymore his bottom lip would have hit the floor. After about 30 minutes it was time to go in for party food he started crying and wouldn’t stop. He just wanted to go home.
All I could feel was disappointment for him. How does this bode for the future? Why is he so over sensitive? Would toughening him up help? That and I was cross because we’d cancelled other plans so he could go to the party. Me being cross did not help and I really needed to step back and consider that it was really all too much for him. It was a room full of busy screaming kids. Perhaps if we’d have arrived there first he would have settled in easier? I left thinking we were the only ones with such a shy kid but it turns out we weren’t.

Deep down I just want him to be popular. Whiny, prone to crying and less outgoing kids can be the focus for bullying. He is so sweet and kind that there is no way he will ever stand up for himself physically or probably verbally. But to me that’s how I want him to be. I’d rather have a sweet over sensitive child that tells me often that he loves me and that I’m his best friend.

He freaks at the smallest of things sometimes. He won’t even let us take his school jumper off anymore because he screams the house down (he won’t do it either). We gave in and let him wear a cardigan. That battle really wasn’t worth the fight. But really, a jumper….it’s just a jumper. I struggle to remind myself that he is emotionally sensitive. I get cross and I’m sure that doesn’t help. He needs to learn to control his emotions so life is a bit easier for him. And I need to control mine too.

It’s time to try and understand that he really can’t help how he is. From what I have read it can help to ask them questions to focus their energy. Give attention, but not to over do it. Try and by sympathetic but follow it up with ‘Do you think we need to use the toilet’ when he has tummy ache. ‘Do you need a plaster?’ if he thinks he’s hurt.

I need to remember that the tears are from the sensitive emotions and it’s just who he is. Talking out loud about his emotions to others may also help as he will realise that he is feeling these feelings. ‘Jamie I know you’re upset but there isn’t bird poo on your face’. It may help and it’s certainly worth a try.

I also need to just let him cry and tell him to talk to me when he’s finished crying. Rather than tackling the issue while he’s upset. Offering a solution should help too. I’ve also read that praising his self esteem lots can help his emotions. But you know what he gets praised for all sorts. I am however sure that I can increase the appraisals and I will try to. Being tough on a small child can only make them weaker. So I’m going to try and ease off on the toughness and try more empathy.

On a very positive note and hey we all need to focus on the positives in life my boy is amazing. He’s the miracle we thought we’d never have. He’s kind, considerate, loves animals, loves us, he’s clever, funny, chatty, rather crazy, an amazing dancer, singer of nursery rhymes, helpful and creative. We all have our negative sides and Jamie’s could be a lot worse. He doesn’t need to toughen up he needs an understanding ear.

Something has to change and I think it needs to be me?!