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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Inferiority Complex

How young is too young to have an inferiority complex?

My son's teacher told me today that he has been crying at random times pretty much every day. 

I was sad to learn this as he hasn't said anything to me about it. 

He was excited, and maybe a little bit worried, about first grade for most of the summer.  But, I would never have expected that he would be so emotional so early on in the school year.

I sat down with him tonight and talked to him about it.  I wanted to find out what was making him so sad and you know what he said, through his tears.

"Everyone has four pages written in their journal and I only have one.  No matter how hard I try I will never catch up to them."'s 1st grade.

Why is he so worried about what everyone else is doing?  I tried to explain to him that everyone works at their own pace and that one awesome page is just as good as three.  That school is not a contest.  That doing your best is the most important thing.

This did nothing to alleviate his anxiety about being the last person to complete his journal in the entire classroom. 

We've only been in school for two weeks.  He actually had trouble falling to sleep tonight because he "couldn't stop thinking about it."

I'm sitting here wondering what I've done to him to make him feel like he needs to be the fastest and the best all the time?  How can I make this better for him?  Is he always going to be this hard on himself?

Any suggestions?

6 random thoughts:

septembermom said...

My son, Joseph, had a similar experience in first grade last year. He would almost make himself sick trying to be the first one done with any task. I don't know why he saw assignments/journal writing as a contest either. He would struggle with getting enough written in his journal too. I suggested to the teacher that she let the kids bring home the journals so they could work a bit more in a relaxed setting. She said that she appreciated my suggestion, but she wanted to keep it an in school activity. Maybe your son's teacher would be more reasonable... Wish I could be more help. If I think of anything, I'll send you a note.

Becca said...

Awe, poor guy! That's a tough one and unfortunately I have no way of helping. BUT I can give {hugs} and hope that it gets better for him!

Anonymous said...

awwwwwwwww this made me cry:( just keep supporting and loving him the way you are, you will help him get through it. Thank God he has a wonderful parent to be there ;)


septembermom said...

One more thing that I remembered. I tell my son that it's good to think out your writing. 5 solid sentences are much better than pages of random thinking. I wanted him to be proud of what he put down on the page. Once he stopped thinking about the quantity and quality, I think he felt better about the amount he accomplished each day. I run the publishing center at the 3 through 5 school. There would be kids who would write pages and pages and pages. Often all those pages didn't make much sense. I would come across shorter stories full of imagination and energy and I would show them to my son, just to show him that great writing can happen in shorter pieces. Hope any of this helps :)

Kristie Maynard said...

It is very difficult to know what to tell a child! I always encouraged my kids to do their best and try hard in school, but neither of them was much of a 'try-er'
My youngest just graduated from high school in June and a couple weeks ago when we were talking about college, he told me "I just hate school soooooo much Mom and I'm afraid that if I got to college and it's like my senior year was, I will just hate it and be miserable again!" WHAT???? I knew he wasn't crazy about school, but didn't know he hated it this much. He won't be going on to college yet, he just doesn't know what he wants to do with his life.
I can totally empathize with you on this. I often wonder what I did wrong that neither of my kids were as motivated as I would like them to be.
Just want you to know you aren't out there alone, there are a lot of us wondering what we can do to make things better. (((((HUGS)))))

Jenners said...

Oh man ... this is so awful. That would tear me up. As far as I know, my son hasn't been doing this ... but I could TOTALLY see him doing the same thing. He tends to cry easily and is overly sensitive. They've been taking it easy on them these first few days so I'm hoping next week doesn't end up the same way for him. I wish I knew what to tell you.

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I'm a 41 year old (gasp) freelance writer, school cafeteria manager, wife and mother. I have three children and one anxious and overweight beagle. I use my blog to make others laugh, to share some cool crafts, to document my lunchlady adventures and to lament about the challenges faced by us all on the journey called life. Thanks for visiting. Please leave some meant some comments.
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