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Very tense child

Posted by on Mar. 3, 2013 at 12:46 AM
  • 8 Replies

My 5 y/o (middle son) is an extremely tense, serious child. I am trying to find ways to get him to relax and be more child-like.  He has always been like this but lately it has bothered me more than usual. Ever since he was born he has been like a "cranky old man".  The other day he fell asleep on his stomach with his legs folded up at the knee and when I went to lower them, they were really stiff and hard to move.  He is very active and if it weren't for us homeschooling, we probably would've been told he has ADD or ADHD.  He loves to be moving, he loves sports & activities but as he is not our only child (we also have 8 & 3 y/o boys), it gets hard to do these things on a regular schedule.  He goes outside & runs around with our dog and we take walks and when the weather is nicer we go to the park & also play tennis, ride bikes, skateboard, scooters, etc;  Does anyone else have similar issues? I am just wondering what to do, if anything. Thanks for any advice!

by on Mar. 3, 2013 at 12:46 AM
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by Platinum Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Mine has learned how to relax and be a kid from his little sister but he's still more serious than her.
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by Platinum Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 1:30 AM

Has he been evaluated by a child behaviorist just to see if there are things going on that we do not realize?  When dd falls asleep in odd ways, I would not move her at all.  She likes to sleep on her back with legs crossed.

by Amber on Mar. 3, 2013 at 3:04 AM
I have a tense kid.

For us staying positive and encouraging happy behavior is working.

And peer work, too- at school. Gl!!
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by Bronze Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 7:24 AM

DD1 was a cranky baby/child and it wasn't until we got her tested for allergies that we found out that it was certain foods that changed her moods.  Funny how simple whole foods like peanuts, wheat, fish, and eggs could make our child so ADHD.

DD2 is very intense and very mature for her age.  We don't send her to specialists or anything.   We don't want her to feel what she is and who she is is wrong and needs correcting.  We correct her mistakes and talk to her just like we do with her siblings.  We focus on loving ourselves and others, being happy, and making positive choices.  We encourage having good friends and trying out new things (food, sport, activity, whatever).  She's happy and thriving in school. 

All our kids have their own unique set of quirky, idiosyncratic traits/habits, as do I and hubby, so who are we to say what is right or what is wrong.  If it's not bothering or hurting himself or others, I suggest to let it go and let him be who he is.  As a fictitious character named Uncle Remus once said, "Boy, wherever you is and whatever you is, don't be what you ain't because if you is what you ain't, you isn't."

by Ruby Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 8:41 AM
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by Bronze Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 8:49 AM

He could be naturally more anxious. Try a more strict routine, a timed schedule may be helpful, so he knows what to expect, when. A bath and story time at bedtime might help, also minimizing surprises, to tell him what is planned for the weekend, for example. Kids often overhear 'adult' issues or fights, then internalize, or blame themselves. Be aware of what you say and do, it affects children more than you know.

by on Mar. 3, 2013 at 2:24 PM

I'm not sure I would connect his serious "old man" like nature, with stiff legs he has been sleeping on. I have lower back problems and sometimes (in bed) that 'child pose' from yoga is the only thing that's comfortable.  If I fall asleep like that, i wake up a bit later with an okay back, but terrible, stiff legs.  I think it cuts off some of the circulation.

Being serious as a child?  I was.  I remember my parents, grandparents and other adults always saying things like "She's 5 going on 35".  I was also exceptionally bright, very intuitive and very sensitive.  There was nothing wrong with me.  Most of those things are true about me in some form today.  But I grew into my adult-being.  (They all will.)  To this day, I am a bit of an "old soul".  My DD (11) and I were just talking this morning about the fact that I am more spiritual than most people.  That was true of me as a child as well. I was raised as a Catholic and at the age of 5 I wanted to be a priest.  They would tell me I couldn't because I was a girl.  I would say "I will be the first one!"  Thank goodness I DID outgrow that. 

Your not understanding him doesn't mean there is anything 'wrong' with him that you need to do something about.

by on Mar. 3, 2013 at 3:37 PM

It could be very helpful to practice some relaxation techniques as a family or with him prior to bedtime.  There are so many options.  You can take a class, you can purchase MP3's or CD's with guided relaxation.  The idea is to get him in the habit of being able to scan his body for tension in a systematic way, concentrate on deep breathing, and learn how to release the tension. 

Many people discount these techniques, but research is now showing that regular practice of relaxation techniques is as powerful as medication for dealing with anxiety, stress, depression, and even pain. 

Once he learns to do this, he can learn to use versions of it during the day when he feels anxious or overwhelmed.  Also massage might be very helpful for him.  You can learn what to do to calm him and provide massage. 

I would add that if you are wary about meditation because of spiritual implications, that meditation and prayer can be tailored to any spiritual beliefs.  Sometimes to just "Be still and know that I am God" is one of the most difficult practices to master.

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