Thursday, August 30, 2012

PYHO: Can A Boy Be TOO Sensitive?

I have an AMAZING little boy.  I actually have 2 boys and 1 girl, and they're all great.  And I love them dearly.  But Andrew, my 10 year old, is a little different.  He's very sensitive.  About EVERYTHING.  My husband and I "clash" sometimes because he thinks he's TOO sensitive.  He says he needs to "man" up and get some back bone.  I think there's no such thing as TOO sensitive.  I think he's only 10, and he'll grow up fast enough, so there's nothing wrong with him being sensitive at this age.  I WANT him to stay sensitive.  I think he'll make a great boyfriend/husband one day BECAUSE of his sensitivity.  (Mind you, I'm thinking MANY, MANY YEARS from now.  He is only 10 after all). ;)

But I still worry about him.  What if hubby is right?  What if he IS too sensitive?  He has VERY little self-esteem.  He's constantly worrying about what other people think of him.  He gets his feelings hurt VERY easily.  Sometimes I feel like I have to censor what I say to him because I don't know how he's going to take it, and I don't want to upset him.  So in that respect, maybe he IS too sensitive.  But that's his nature.  It's his personality.  It's a part of who he is, and I don't want to change who he is, because he is SO special.  But I still worry.  He's the one I think will get bullied.  He HAS been bullied on the bus, and I had to go to the school counselor to help handle the situation.  And he did.  But he can't always be there for him.  Next year, he moves on to middle school.  Next year kids are going to be even meaner.  And crueler.  And looking for someone they can pick on.  And he's an easy target because he wears his heart on his sleeve.  If you say something to upset him, you can see it on his face immediately.  And bullies will jump on that.  I've tried telling him to act like it doesn't bother him, but he's not very good at it.  And who can blame him?  I'm not good at it either and I'm 42.  How can I expect HIM to be good at it when he's only 10?  

You see, I GET my son.  I KNOW what he's thinking and how he's feeling, because I've BEEN there.  I was just like him.  Hell, I'm STILL just like him.  I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I get my feelings hurt VERY easily.  I shut down when I'm hurt or upset.  I second guess everything I do and say to other people.  I analyze the things people say to me and wonder what they REALLY meant.  I assume people are talking about me.  And don't like me.  I assume people would rather be with anyone BUT me.  So yeah, I GET him.  I KNOW where he's coming from.  

But I still wonder - is there such a thing as TOO sensitive?  Is it different for a boy?  And if so, how do you change that?  How do you help them get a thicker skin?  What would you do if it was YOUR kid?  I really need to know.  Because I DON'T know what to do.  And I HATE seeing my "baby" doubt himself and be in pain all of the time.  So how do I help him?  CAN I help him?

My Special Little Boy



Amy said...

Maybe some sort of extracurricular activity to help build self esteem. I hear that karate and tae-quan-do are both good ones. My boys had a talent and love for baseball, so that was a good one for them. Extracurricular activities help kids build self esteem, help them make friends and keep them out of trouble.

As for the rest of it, Andrew is who he is and it sounds like that person is pretty special. :)

Shell said...

If you were talking about a girl, you probably wouldn't even ask this. Why is it that girls are allowed to be sensitive, but boys aren't? Sometimes I think our society is messed up.

Which is what I remind myself about my oldest- who sounds a bit like your oldest.

Your Doctor's Wife said...

I think all kids must be taught humility, compassion, forgiveness, patience, and understanding. Likewise, they also learn to stand up for themselves and others who are incapable of standing up for themselves. Gender shouldn't matter at all, right? :)

Mich said...

Amy: He wants to try out for basketball. He is going to join the Band this year. I'm also hoping he gets picked to try out for one of the Academic Teams. Last year he did but he didn't want to do it, and I didn't make him. If he gets picked this year I AM going to make him do it because he is VERY smart, that's his "thing", and he needs to embrace and celebrate it instead of wondering what every one else thinks. And yes, he is pretty special. Thanks! :)

Shell: That's my problem. If this was Sarah, there would not be a discussion about "too sensitive." Andrew is an AMAZING person, (of course I might be a LITTLE partial). But the problem is that hubby is right on one thing, kids ARE mean. So I DO wish he was a little stronger in that aspect because I think he'll be made fun of if he isn't. And yes, our society IS messed up!

DW: Andrew will stand up for others, he just won't stand up for himself. He has the compassion and humility, I just need to get him to see that HE is important, and if he would stand up for someone else, then he should do the same for him.

ToscaSac said...

Too sensitive is when a person is reacting to something that has nothing to do with the situation. Being super sensitive can happen to anyone. It is a natural range that a person can fall into.

The things to do as a parent are be supportive. Males and females are different. Our family roles and societal interactions are typically different based on our interests and personalities.

Men treat each other a certain way. It is different than the way women treat each other in friendships and social groups.

This is why a child has two parents to get a perspective from both on what to expect in the adult world.

Most men are not super sensitive. Even if they start out that way most tuck it away and do not run around with their hearts on their sleeve.

That is not societal programming it is natural survival. We all have to learn how to manage our personalty and emotions. It is not always easy and sometimes takes a lifetime.

Christine said...

I worry about this all the time and my husband's the same way. My son's 5 year old and so so sensitive. I worry about him as he's entering Kindergarten this fall which won't be as warm and cuddly as his preschool. I worry about him as he navigates the new social structure - he plays mostly with girls and I know that things start to get more separated during these years. I worry about him being bullied. I worry about how to build his resiliency. But, like you said, it's part of who he is and what makes him special. I wouldn't change it for the world.

Kris C said...

You just described my 11 year old son. I know exactly what you're going through. I hope you find some peace and clarity - we are still looking for it here too.

Melissa said...

Oh, what a tough spot. You want him to be his sweet and gentle self, but you want to protect him from pain at the same time. My Hubs is already trying toughen up our son, and he only 18MO! My counselor says that some people just feel things more deeply than other people do. Perhaps that's why we blog.

Mich said...

ToscaSac: You're right that males and females are different, and I wonder if it would even be an issue if he was a male. I'm thinking probably not. But he's NOT a female, and I guess that's part of the problem. Not with HIM. He's an AMAZING kid. But with society and how these things are viewed. And as his Mom, I want to protect him from as many things as I can.

Christine: I know EXACTLY what you mean. My son will be entering Middle School next year, and while Elementary School kids can be cruel, Middle School kids are even WORSE, which is why I'm worrying about it NOW.

Kris: Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone in this.

Melissa: EXACTLY! I don't want to change who he is inside, but I also want to protect him as much as I can. And you're right, maybe the reason some of us blog is because it's our way of sharing the things we feel, instead of keeping them bottled up inside.

Darlene Bishop said...

I don't know if there is such as thing as "too sensitive" but I know being sensitive is hard on a kid. I was one. And I'm still pretty sensitive but I've learned to mask it better, I guess. I think you just need to do what others here have said and work on building self-esteem. But for some of us, that's just easier said than done. I think the fact that you're concerned about it says a LOT and Andrew is in good hands.