I'm asking this question as an aunt who is very concerned about her 13 year old nephew. He is very sweet, bright and articulate, yes also timid and fearful, like afraid of other creatures (dogs, bugs), the dark (wants night light when he sleeps over), and he doesn't have any physical strength really - I could easily push him over. And he has always loved stuffed animals, not only keeping them in his room but taking one with him when he visits me or other family members. (Thankfully, I'm pretty sure he doesn't take one to school or other 'public' places.) I've never said a thing because I didn't think it was any of my business, plus he was a child. However he just turned 13!! And the particular stuffed animal he brings with him is a bright pink kitty! I don't want to fall into stereotypes. I also don't want to ignore symptoms of underlying problems of insecurity, feeling unloved, whatever, even though he does have very loving parents. Actually, I think that's part of the problem - they may be a bit smothering and coddling, especially his mother who herself is very fearful. But what can be endearing in an adult seems pitiful in a boy just approaching adulthood. Should I do anything or say anything?
I would be concerned. Boys this age don't carry around stuffed animals, especially pink ones. He's showing signs of insecurity, and this needs to be addressed. His mother may be smothering him too much which is creating the problem. To be this timid at 13 sounds to me like every decision has been made for him, and he's been babied when he should have been allowed to be a boy and have fun. Does he have any friends? He's reaching an age when he will be facing major decisons when it comes to his peers, and he doesn't sound capable of making one. If it were me, I'd try and talk to his parents.
Well, your question is should you do anything or say anything. That is tricky. I am sure you are a much loved aunt and sister or sister in law . . . but. What are you going to say? You are coddling and smothering your boy? No. You can't say that. This is their child and that is inappropriate to say. You can try to have a conversation in which you say, I see he still loves his stuffed animal . . . And then wait to see their response which may open up into a conversation or they may close it down. But you must always tread lightly when discussing someone else's child.
Is it concerning? To me, not really. I agree that he may have some insecurity and anxiety. And his parents would be wise to address that and give him some ways to bolster this. But at home . . . we need to feel safe and loved and this is part of it for him. Making him feel strange for having a "love object" may make him even more insecure.
I agree that if he is doing fine in school and has a few close friends that he will be fine.
If there is more to the story than this and you feel you must say something, I caution you that many people become defensive about their kids. So tread lightly. good luck
I'm 13 and I have a stuffed rainbow dash, I like sleep with it but I don't take it with me, it just stays in my room, and I'm not timid, and also I do weight training, I have no idea what's with him, maybe their is something wrong with him...
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