My 10 year old boy increasingly says he hates his life, and hates himself. He asks why "we (his family) all hate him". This is in floods of tears followed by him storming out of the room. He also can't stand losing any game (again, cries). He appears to have friends, he does very well academically and sport, but is exceedingly shy/quiet, particulary when in groups. He has always hated being told off (which I put down to a lack of confidence in himself), but I thought he would grow out of it.Now he's 10, I'm worried that his self-hatred is a precursor to later mental health problems/depression.
I'm also worried that if I do take him to see a psychologist he will grow into any label put on him , which will increase any problem.
Do I take him to see someone or don't I? Is is just a means of getting attention (although he seems to genuinely believe it/gets himself in a huge state of misery...) or should I take it seriously?
There are three aspects of your thinking that you can dispense with to help you think more clearly about this. First, his behavior has nothing to do with seeking attention. This is a frequent explanation for children's behavior and it is nearly always off target. Second, your fear about 'growing into a label' is also misplaced. There is no phenomenon such as you are describing. Imagine you brought your son to the doctor because you thought he might be diabetic. You would not think for a minute that he could 'grow into a diabetic' by your having brought him to the doctor. So absolutely stop worrying about that. Third, there is no evidence that his behavior indicates self hatred.
Now, is his behavior problematic? Yes. It indicates an inability to manage certain emotions. He becomes overwhelmed in certain situations and has a problem managing the intense feelings generated by those situations. It would be wise to seek the help of a pediatric mental health clinician who can help him and who can also offer you some guidance about how to manage the behavior.
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