Raising A Sensitive Boy.

When you think of five year old boys, images of climbing trees, play fighting with guns and scrapped knees after a game of rough and tumble spring to mind. Well, they do for me. James loves all of the above.. Well maybe not the climbing trees, partly because I won't let him yet.. Apart from those things though he is also sensitive. He's probably one of the most sensitive kids I've ever met. He gets upset easily and when those tears start to fall, he doesn't stop easily, then he gets frustrated, which then turns to anger.

Yesterday afternoon after school he was colouring in a dinosaur mask for his homework. He was nearly finished when he accidentally ripped it. I assured him that I would speak the teacher and get a new one for him to complete before he has to hand it in next Wednesday. He was getting agitated and I could see he was about to get upset so I assured him that I would sort it.

Then he got ready for bed and I thought the problem was resolved. He went to bed and I got on with cleaning up.

About thirty minutes later I went to check on him and I found him in floods of tears lying in bed. I asked him what was wrong..

'They won't have any masks left at school. I know they won't!'

It took me fifteen minutes of telling him that the teacher would have kept spares for this very reason.

'But I won't be able to finish it before Wednesday.'

I told him that was a whole seven days away and that we would definitely have it done.

When I found out James was a boy I had the normal worries of whether I would be a good mother. Would he turn out to be a feisty toddler? Would the terrible two's send me rocking into a corner? What I didn't think about though was would I be raising a sensitive boy. I was talking to a Mum at school this morning about sensitive children and we came to the conclusion that with girls, they are expected to be sensitive so you don't really give it a second thought. Stereotypes have led us to believe that girls are kind & sweet, they play with dolls and love the colour pink.. Whereas boys love to get dirty, shout & scream their way through the day and don't sit still for more than two minutes. That's not the case though and those stereotypes are so out dated.

In my eyes there is nothing wrong with James being sensitive. He is the kindest, sweetest boy ever and I think his sensitivity just adds to that. He comes home from school and asks me if he can help me with any jobs. He accidentally hurt Emilie the other day and he cried because he was so worried that he had badly hurt her. Sometimes when he cries or gets upset & angry about something that, to me, seems trivial, I have to stop and remind myself that to him, it's a big thing. Last night he saw the broken mask and the potential that the teacher may have ran out of them as a big problem. Sitting there on the edge of the bed, desperately trying to reassure him, made me realise that. Little things to me are big things for him.


  1. Oh, Liane, I empathise with so much in this post. My son is also a sensitive soul (so you can imagine how much 'our situation' has affected him). I have learned so much from your line, "Sometimes when he cries or gets upset & angry about something that, to me, seems trivial, I have to stop and remind myself that to him, it's a big thing"....yes, that's *exactly* it: for them, in their world, these seemingly 'little' things are everything....

    My son used to get frustrated very easily, and has started showing that side again....I think what helped him 'get over it' when he was 5/6 was letting him see that it's OK to make mistakes, to see that mistakes happen and that that's OK...(I'm trying to think of 'exercises' I did with him that might help James....)...we used to do artwork on wipeable boards (so he'd see that things weren't permanent), used to tear things up - drawings etc - and make jigsaws out of them - things like that....he'd learn that mistakes can be fun, that not everything is set in stone, and he gradually started 'coming out of it'....but, like I say, because there are so many things going on in our lives at the moment that he can't control, he's going back to those old ways (which are *him* after all)....I'm wracking my brains thinking and thinking what I can do to help him, because it's heartbreaking.

    Your post has made me see that I just have to listen to him a bit more maybe (*properly* listen to him - it's difficult with two!) and help him through the little things so he realises I'm still here, still fighting for him, still rooting for him, still here to help him when he needs it (it's all hit him at a time when he's starting to want a bit more independence, making it all that bit more difficult for me! He's not a toddler anymore that I can kiss and cuddle to ease his troubles)....

    Thanks for your post - long comment....(have much more to say but will leave it there!)

  2. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a sensitive boy. My son is 11 and he is the same way about a lot of things, he is a boy, loves boy things but he is also extremely sensitive. I love that about them, to me they are just beautiful souls. :)


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