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Ahhh! Help!!

My 4 year old has become VERY emotional and sensitive. If he's coloring a picture, he will start crying and gets very distraught and says that his picture is ugly and that he's not good at it. I tell him it's beautiful and try to give him words of encouragement but it doesn't help. Another example is a few days ago he said a bad word (and he didn't know it was bad) so I just explained to him that it wasn't a nice thing to say and that he shouldn't say it anymore. I didn't yell or raise my voice or anything, and he still got really upset and started telling me I am a mean person. He went in his room and didn't come out for over an hour. Is this normal? And what do I say or do to make him feel better?? I try my best, but he still stays really upset about things...


Asked by Anonymous at 2:09 AM on Dec. 20, 2008 in Preschoolers (3-4)

This question is closed.
Answers (5)
  • This happens to a lot of children. The key is to not make a big deal or try to talk them out of how they are feeling. Okay, so when he is coloring he rips it up and thinks it is ugly. Unfortunately that does stay with us as we get older - those of us who are perfectionists. Your little guy might just be an early perfectionist. This is what I would do: in casual conversation I would talk about no one is perfect. I would color, where he can see, and color outside the lines, and talk very casually about how it is not perfect but it is still wonderful. Do this on lots of little everyday things. What happens is we often say, "Ahhh...PERFECT!" and they pick up on that unless it is done right it is useless. As a society we DO tend to concentrate on perfection. Your child is VERY smart to be picking up on it so early.

    Answer by frogdawg at 2:37 AM on Dec. 21, 2008

  • Children often imitate what they hear and see, especially at his age. Does he go to daycare? I'm not trying to get you paranoid-just a thought. It sounds like you are doing everything right IMO

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:11 AM on Dec. 20, 2008

  • Has he been through any big changes like a move or anything?

    Answer by MommyAddie at 3:52 PM on Dec. 20, 2008

  • cont...So admit to making mistakes as they occur naturally around the house and do not get frustrated at them. I would explain how most mistakes can be easily fixed and many "mistakes" are really bits of art or blessings in a different form. As parents we also tend to praise our children for thier greatness in areas they are strong at and point out their weak areas - we make them focus on weak areas the most and sometimes this causes them a lot of stress and pressure. Limit praise to just casual aknowledgments of when your child is being good, "thank you for playing by yourself while I put the dishes away." ect.... and also give a compliment for things where he tries his best - nothing over done - keep it simple, "I like how you stuck with that game even when you were behind."

    Answer by frogdawg at 2:43 AM on Dec. 21, 2008

  • cont...Do a game or activity and encourage him to stay with it when he is behind. Try a game where he can win but you are behind. Have a friend or you SO compliment you on being a good sport - not for his winning. Do some simple coaching, be a good role model and the rest will follow. When he has a fit then remain calm. Aknowledge to him that he is frustrated because it isn't perfect. Simply reflect what he is feeling and then coach him at a more relaxed time when those frustrations die down. But to argue in the heat of the moment with him - you will never win that battle.

    Answer by frogdawg at 2:45 AM on Dec. 21, 2008