This is a pretty long one, but I have a lot on my mind...
Don't get me wrong, Noah is a pretty happy kid for the most part. But we have been dealing with some troubling behavior recently, and it looks like it's time to look for some outside help.
Noah is smart. And he has mostly shown himself to be more logical than emotional. But we have seen a flood of emotion lately and have had trouble knowing how to help him through it. We have said for a year now that we have been having "anger issues" with him, but it's never been crazy-bad. Now, though, he is saying some phrases that have been quite scary for us as parents to hear.
Sometimes he gets in a funk and is just weepy and says these phrases. Other times he is angry or frustrated. When he is extremely frustrated (having trouble with a video game, or not wanting to come to the table for dinner) he will sometimes yell that he wishes he weren't in this family anymore. Sometimes he says that we hate him and most troubling, he wishes her wasn't "in this life" anymore or that he wishes he was dead. Yes, and he is five years old.
So now, it is time to talk to professionals.
This afternoon, the guidance counselor from his school came over to talk with me about him (at my request) and has suggested he first see his pediatrician for a checkup and then see a psychologist for an evaluation. So we will likely do that.
They also plan to do an evaluation at school to determine whether he should be checked for ADHD.
At home, we don't really notice any PROBLEMS in this area, and at school, he rarely exhibits his low self-esteem issues that we see at home.
At first, I wasn't sure how to parent this depressive behavior. We couldn't always tell if he was trying to show that he was in emotional distress, attempting to manipulate or punish us, or what. We tried ignoring the talk and just go about as normal ("Well I am sorry you want to be dead, but you still have to take your bath.") we tried punishing it ("We don't talk like that. Time Out!"). We tried explaining how that would hurt us ("Oh Honey, that would make me so very sad if you were dead... I would never be happy again!") and even tried making a joke about it and be silly trying to get him to snap out of it and laugh. Nothing really showed any sign of easing his frustration.
More and more lately, though, I have been able to see when he is just flinging insults around and when he is really crying for help.
A few nights ago, we had a breakthrough of sorts.
At bedtime, as I laid with him for awhile before he fell asleep, he seemed mostly fine. He was asking about if there was a jail for kids and I told him that there was a place called juvenile detention and explained that there were no bars or cells like in a regular grown up jail, but that it was like a school with a big fence around it, that it had bedrooms, and the kids who were being punished just went to class, went to eat, went back to their room, and how they couldn't play, couldn't leave, couldn't visit friends, couldn't see their family.