I'm having an issue with my 6 yr old that I'm not sure what to do with. He has a penchant for drama, and can be quite a bit like a teen girl with pms when he's tired. Hes also very smart and can be manipulative, and is very intense so that everything he feels and does is to the tenth degree.

Lately when he's been getting into trouble and is sitting in his bedroom or in time out, I'll hear him saying, "I want to die, I want to die…" over and over again, loud enough for the whole house to hear. Sometimes I'll address it and sometimes I'll let it go, depending on the situation.

Last night when I was putting him to bed he said, "You know the other day when I said, 'I want to die, I want to die..'? Well, I'm sorry, but I still want to leave this house because I think you're not being a good family for me." I try to take that sort of thing very seriously instead of just getting upset or brushing it off. But I couldn't tell if he was planting a guilt trip or if he was really serious, so I asked him if he meant what he said, or if he was trying to make Mommy feel bad. He immediately grew this huge smile, and started giggling, but didn't back down on what he was saying.

So instead of treating it as a kid who wants to die or feels like his family is bad for him, I decided to just reassure him about his place in our family. I told him I love him with everything in me, that my heart would break if he went away or died, and that we're part of a family so that means that sometimes we like being around each other and sometimes we don't, but even when we're frustrated with eachother, deep down we still love each other and stick together. He did calm down after that but still had a difficult time settling for the night (not like him) until I went in and gave him some extra cuddle time.

The problem is that I just don't know if he's laying a guilt trip, or if he's actually feeling some of that. I worry that its a true emotion, and that it will turn into a suicidal tendency 10 years down the road. I also am not sure what to do with the "you're not a good family for me" thing, as we don't play favorites and we both really love and admire him for the very intense and unique person that he is, and try to cultivate his strengths and encourage him to be exactly who he is. This is murky water for me.
Any thoughts or suggestions?

Hi Carmen,
You spend much time on the website reassuring people that some of the things they're going through are quite common. Oh, how easy it can be for some of us when we stand objectively. It's very easy to over-think when it's our own kids because we constantly want to get it right on such serious issues being raised like yours.

Let me reassure you the steps you took validated you hearing your son. Explaining his importance in the family confirmed your ongoing commitment. However, when he giggled, he gave himself away because that was when he realized he had pulled that heart string.

Yes, young children can be very manipulative and as a parent we have to read between the lines and watch the language that isn't verbal. Kids say the most penetrating of things without fully understanding the true impact they make in any true sense. "You're not a good family for me" is one I've heard more than I'd like to declare, so please don't spend your time worrying about the next 10 years. Concentrate on the moments you have now. This is a learning curve in recognizing comments that are made and how we should receive them with a grain of salt at times.

Warmest Regards, Jo
P.S. Don't forget that being pregnant will have your emotions temperamental right now too!

Share this:

More in this category: Teaching Values » Exaggerating » Tantrums » Selective Hearing » Aggression » Are We There Yet? » Terrorism – How to Talk to Our Children About It » Encourage Reading » Keeping in Touch When Away » Discipline » Winding Down Tips Before Bed Time » Stepmom Struggles (Fake Cry) » Stalling Over Mealtimes » Child Anxiety » Sleep Transition » Work and Home Balance » Peek-a-Boo » Let’s Talk About Sex » Confidence for Pre-School » BACK TO SCHOOL » Encouraging Children to Come Out of Their Shells » Spring has Sprung — Let’s Get Active! » Meet the New SAHM: the Work-From-Home Parent » Kids Talk About Love » Turning Winter Blues into Sunshine for the Children » Spending Holiday Time with Family » Change the World, Give Back » Zero Tolerance Bullying » The 10 Dos and Don’ts of Back-to-School » For Playdates & Parties, Don’t be a Helicopter Parent » Disciplining Other People’s Children » Making the Most of Your Summer with the Kids… » Children and Accountability » Settling In Nicely » One With Nature » Valentine’s Day » Charging Into 2015 » 10 Holiday Questions (and Answers!) » Practicing Gratitude » Balance On the Work and Home Seesaw » And So To Bed… » Ready for Nursery » A Time of First Milestones » Eating Habits » HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! » When is YOUR Child Considered Potty Trained? » Child Abuse Prevention Month » Excerpt from Jo Frost’s Toddler Rules » With Love » The Art of Being » Holidays on a Budget » Dealing with Life Transitions » Halloween Crafts » Who Needs Sleep? Everyone! » How Much Attention Should We Give Our Kids? » Young Girls and Self-Esteem » Anxiety, Depression and Teens » A Personal Note About Food Allergies » Gay Parenting » Eating Out with Kids » Flu Season » Plan of Action » Baby, It’s [Getting] Cold Outside » Encouraging Your Child’s Social Skills » Medical Alert » Planes, Trains, And Automobiles: Travel Tips for Children of All Ages » Father’s Day Activities » A Mother’s Day for YOU » Limiting Your Child’s Screen/Tech Time » Letting Go: Mother, Not Smother » Getting Sexy Back After Baby » Introducing A Babysitter » Jo’s Tips For Being Penny-Wise This Holiday Season » Adoption Month » The Importance of Sleep » Parenting Solo » Stay Cool » Household Chores » Jo Frost’s Confident Toddler Care Book Excerpt » How Do I Play? » Jo’s April Editorial » Jo’s Editorial » When Technology Is Ok » Do You Know What Your Children Are Reading? » Calling All New (or soon-to-be) Moms & Dads! » Jo’s Three Nursery Golden Rules » “We Never Have Sex Anymore!” » How your child behaves is your responsibility » How to deal with your Toddler » My son has a problem in the toilet » My 15 month old son will not sleep » My 4 year child is telling me “I hate you” » Work with your baby’s body clock » Starting fresh for the New Year » Twelve Thoughts for Christmas » Naughty chair/spot correct way? » A New Mom To Be » Baby waking too often » How much sleep does she need » Pick me up! » DESPERATE for help!!! » Three year old daughter won’t let others help » How to get my five year old son to stay dry all night long » How to explain death » No more nappies?!!! » Need to Pack On The Pounds.. » Getting my 2 1/2 year old in his car seat » My 12 month old doesn’t like to nap in daytime » Big Issues with my 15 year old » Time Out Follow-up » Tummy time! » How do I best help my 18 month old to STTN? » My son won’t use cutlery » 6 year old Reader » Getting my 2 1/2 year old in his car seat » Child won’t drink from sippy cup or cup… » 3 1/2 month old’s sleeping difficulties » Ouch!! » Transition to a new room » Fear of bed time » 10 months – too young to sleep through? » Is it too early for reins? » 3 year old and new puppy » Toddler forcing himself to vomit » Potty Training » I’m a nanny and need help!!! » Help getting my 18 month old to talk » How do I know when to start weaning?? » 3 1/2 yr old daughter wont stop SCREAMING!!!! » Naughty Step Becomes a Game » TEEN IN DESPRATE NEED OF JO’S HELP!!!! » Please Help! » Daily Routine » STUDY HABITS » Paci still a problem » 4 1/2 month old: Should he be eating? » Three-year-old son sleeps only in our bed »
Read previous post:
My 12 month old doesn’t like to nap in daytime

Hi Everyone, my 12mths old girl doesn't like to have nap at daytime. Every time we put her in the...

Close