Avatar universal

13 year old boy and stuffed animals

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?
11 Responses
13167 tn?1327194124
He sounds like he may have inherited an anxious type personality from his mother.    

He sounds to me like he's in the normal "spectrum" - which is pretty wide,  actually,  and if he's happy enough and doing okay socially - a few friends - I think he's fine.  

He sounds like my nephew.

Avatar universal
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.
973741 tn?1342342773
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
Avatar universal
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...
Avatar universal
same here turning 13 still carry a stuff animal its a dog named lucky but i have friends and if that kid went to my school i would be the best friend he
ever had
Avatar universal
Alright, well, I'm thirteen, a boy, and I actually PLAY with stuffed animals such as. In fact I'm very mature for my age, and at the top of my class. Some children just... like to have a friend, someone who they can relate to. If YOU were able to customize a friend, their personality, looks, anything, would you? Well, for most, the answer is yes, yes they would. In fact, my top... like, one hundred BFF's are stuffy guys.

So, just let him be. If he want to play, let him, he's just being himself.
Avatar universal
Aww what? Four years late reply? *****... anyways, I for one believe its completely okay to have a stuffed animal at that age or any age, since I'm 15 and I still sleep with my stuffed bunny (whom I named 'Konifacia') I actually use to smell her, which I now think is a little weird, and I HATED whenever my uncles washed, or took her away from me thinking I was being a kid. Like taking her away was gonna make me spring into a full fledged little adult.

He sounds anxious but I only see it as him trying to get comfortable while sleeping. For instance, I am the only girl out of my siblings and thus have gotten to sleep in my own room since I can remember, and I have had this bunny since I was born. I don't /need/ her to fall asleep, but she's a must if I want to feel safe and fall asleep quick. I always sleep with her behind me, where I can feel her against my back. That way I feel safe. I have found that feeling anything against my back does the trick but never works like Konifacia. And to be honest I love the thing to bits. When I was little and lost her, the night was pure agony and distress, haha!

Oh, and I actually took mines to school and all sorts of places! I was astounded to find that LOTS of people do the same, recently I felt like I had a kindred soul reunion when a new friend (whom I was in an awkward sleepover with) sees Konifacia and with a poker face pulls out her own ragged, beat-up cow plushie. Instant best friend.
Avatar universal
I'm going to weigh in here.  My son is going on 12 and loves Stuffed animals. He is all boy. Plays footfall. They are his sleeping aids and he feels safe with them in this very bad world.  Grown men have their pillows and also get dogs and animals for comfort.  There is nothing wrong with having a special things, a blanket, a pillow and stuff animal that been with you or comes into your world. People have their luckily shirts, a luckily rock, etc.  Stuff animals are a good thing.  Can you image if your nephew, sons or other children have comfort is a GUN? Apparently, that is consider normal.   I vote we all get a stuff animal that means something to us and keep them forever!                          
Avatar universal
My son will be 11 soon and loves dancing, music, comedy.  His (thousand) stuffed animals are his pride and joy, and they totally have personalities and make me laugh.  My 14 year old thinks it's disgusting, but I just say, "Hey, look at Jim Henson."  Love my little boy and his stuffed animals.  I see greatness in all my children.
Avatar universal
Oh my god leave the kid alone, so what? he likes pink and cats and stuffed animals that doesn't make him gay. What makes someone gay is liking the same sex. I know you didn't mean to steriotype but, you did. Even if the kid does turn out gay it shouldn't be a problem in this day and age.
Avatar universal
Timid, fearful of animals and attached to a particular toy could be signs on mild autism. My son is on the low end of the autism spectrum. In day to day life most people wont notice it but when youre around him all the time you can pick up on it. My son also doesnt like to look people in the eyes. He hates change
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