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Sensitive 5 year old
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Sensitive 5 year old

I have a very bright and perceptive son who will be 5 in late October. He seems to have unusually intense reactions to situations - for example if we are going for a special treat - an amusement park, picnic, etc, he is totally thrilled.

Alternatively, if plans change and thigs aren't oging his wasy, he sometimes has a " meltdown" complete with tears,screaming, and out of control tantrums. I guess it's more the negative reaction that I worry about. Even small disappointments can cause him to mope in his room for a long time.    

He also worries about things like " What if Grandpa die" " What would happen if Mom and Dad crashed the car" , and elaborate scenerios where he would be left alone or in trouble. I always reassure him, but he often comes up with a counter argument( that makes sense, and is hard to argue with!)

My question is if this is probably just an issue of emotional immaturity that he will outgrow, or a brewing problem that could interfere with school, social interaction, etc.? In general he IS a very happy and loving child, just very sensitive.

I mention, just as a matter of information, that I was tested with a genius IQ as a child, and was often aware of being frustrated by those around me who didn't understand " my world".( In fact I often felt that I was "smarter" than the adults around me, an unsettling feeling) .  My son also shows signs of exceptional intelligence and sensitivity. WHat can I do to help him along the way?
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Dear Emily Ann,

Yes, I would expect that your son will develop more of an ability to tolerate disappointments as he matures. At his age, children are learning how to manage various types of affect, though anger is the emotion that is most difficult. They tend to be easily overwhelmed and flooded with emotion.

Continue to support your son as he experiences frustrations, and at the same time set limits on unreasonable expressions of anger. If he's moping after a disappointment, simply let him recover. Don't try to cajole him or in any other way engage him around this response.

When he is announcing worries about losses that might result in him being left alone, it's best to sound him out a little bit, without offering your opinion or even reassuring him (the reassurances don't help, as you've seen when he responds by countering your reassurance).
4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Emily Ann
Just wanted to give you another parent's input too.  I have a 6yr old son who exhibits the same behavior as yours. He has done this from preschool age. We had a terrible kindergarten year.  We took him in for full testing (IQ, achievement and learning disabilities) and it was discovered that he was 3 grade levels ahead in all subject matter.  I would guess your little guy is probably gifted and there are many wonderful sites on the web that can help with parenting these bright, emotional children. Just run a search under "gifted children" or "gifted education".

Nicole :)
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you ! What a bright spot in my day to read your post!I will check out the sites you suggest, and your reply makes A LOT of sense to me. Thank you for the kindness in taking time to post. :)
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, my son's behaviour has confounded us practically from (Forceps) delivery.

He has never interacted very well with his peer group, and we have agonised for countless hours over Aspergers, ADHD, ODD etc.  One thing about him which I feel separates him from most other children I have heard about (at several ADHD and Aspergers meetings, etc.) is his precocious reading, which began by one year old (logos on shops repeated when he saw ads by the same company in newspapers etc.).  A teacher friend assessed his reading age at 7 yrs 11 months when he was 3 yrs 11 months.  I have also spent many hours reading about Hyperlexia and Semantic Pragmatic Disorder, but dont really feel he fits the criteria, apart from the ridiculously early reading.  He was forward with speech, has a well developed sense of humour etc.  His eye contact is quite poor though.  He is now almost 9 and despite various meetings with paediatricians we are as bewildered and finding it so hard to cope as ever.

His mood swings are unreal - tonight I had an hour crying, screaming session all about how he needs me and how he wants to kill himself when I die so we can stay together, how he hates his life because it's so bad etc. etc.  It breaks my heart and I reckon I've averaged this kind of scenario every 3 or 4 days since he was 2.  It's so wierd - he is sobbing his heart out telling me how useless he is (he's top of his class academically, but has lots of difficulties with manual dexterity - cant tie laces, do buttons etc.).  Two seconds later he spots a football magazine and is immediately engrossed in it.  I am so confused.

He has a lovely life - nice school (where the teachers think I'm crazy because I've told them we've been to paediatricians etc. and all they see is this highly intelligent boy who wins loads of certificates etc.).  

The paediatrician said last time it looked like "classic" ADHD on observing him sitting and being ignored for 10 minutes (totally restless, and demanding to GO, as he always does.)
However, at school he behaves well, and apart from constantly shifting from one foot to another he stays in his seat, although I have seen how immediately distracted he is if something is boring to him.

The situation is a bit complicated by the fact we also have a 7 year old daughter who appears to be pretty much at the opposite end of the academic scale - I want to get her tested for dyslexia as her writing is atrocious.  She exhibits lots of ADHD type behaviour as well - dreadful temper, thinks everyone is being nasty to her the whole time etc.  The 2 children never play with each other - my son teases her over and over, by sticking his bottom in her face and saying "AM I DUMB" and really stupid things like that.  No kind of discipline has ever worked.  She retaliates by hitting and biting him.  We cannot let them sit in the back of the car together - it is just too much of a nightmare.

So far we have resisted any medication - I feel too guilty when I read websites all about the damage it may do.  We have been giving them EFALEX (which the paediatrician recommended) for the past 4 months, but nothing has improved (as usual).

I have tried cutting out all the bad foods, but I dont honestly know what I can try to give them instead.  They are both so fussy and my son does things like eat a piece of cheese, not like it, so will NEVER touch ANY cheese again, etc.

Where on earth could I even attempt to start on the Feingold diet?

Actually my son says he wants to kill himself a lot too (he lay there pretending to strangle himself tonight, which I ignored).  He says bad food is the best thing he can have, so he'll die sooner.

Where do I go from here??
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