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3 year old saying he's sad and bad

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#1 Woodland



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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:28 PM

I was wondering if anyone else's child does this?

My 3 and a half year old DS will often tell me that he's feeling sad. Maybe about twice a week? Usually its when Im saying goodnight to him in bed and so I always thought it was just stalling tactics as I'll give him big cuddles and talk to him etc but now Im starting to worry that he really is sad a lot???

He also often says that he is bad too. I tell him that he isn't bad that he is a very good boy. He is a very well behaved boy and shows empathy to other kids so Im not sure where all this is coming from?

When he says that he's sad or bad it breaks my heart, Im starting to worry that there might be something wrong with him? My pregnancy hormones aren't helping of course!

Any advice or similar situations out there?
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#2 flowerrose


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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:59 PM

Are you sure he's not picking something up from the TV? Otherwise watch how others are talking to him - MIL is a nightmare for calling Ethan bad or naughty - even when he's being good. I've had to tell her that we don't tolerate name calling in our family. Of course kids internalise that stuff!

IMO it's perfectly natural the DS would feel sad saying goodnight but have you asked him why he feels sad?

#3 Camilla



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Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:42 PM

Have you seen those books on feelings with the rabbits? I think it is great that he able to verbalise how he is feeling and that he is telling you. He might just need some more words to give a bigger range. He might use sad for a variety of different feelings as he doesn't know how to describe it any other way. I think it is important to validate their feelings and to then explore more about it. We use social stories for our older boy but I think some of the techniques could be useful for younger children. You might talk to him about why he is feeling sad and ask him what he thinks might make him feel better. You can also let him know that it is perfectly okay to feel sad sometimes.
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#4 jantastic


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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:55 PM

I think Camilla has given some great advice. I imagine that teaching lots more words or trying to identify the reason behind the 'sad' could really help (eg, "I'm sad that it's bed time after I had such a nice day" vs "I don't enjoy myself." - both are 'sad', one is really nothing whereas the other might need more discussion). Have you asked why he thinks he's bad? I'd be curious as to the reason. Sounds like a lot of pressure for him to put on himself, poor little mite.

No advice here, but just so you don't feel alone in this, my niece is just turned 5, and her parents are concerned about how sad she says she is. Sometimes she gets a day off daycare just for a break, when her sister goes. I don't know what they're doing for it (I think they're hoping that school will help) but you're not the only one with a child saying that they're sad.

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#5 ClaireBear



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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:03 PM

I second what Camilla said. Our boys were using sad for a variety of feelings but now talk about being grumpy/cross, nervous and disappointed as well. We have used social stories and different books about feelings that have helped and I find asking a lot of questions about why they are feeling like that helps them to verbalise how they are really feeling. One is When Sophie is Really Mad (I think it's called that) and it deals with anger, frustration and disappointment as well as what she does to make herself feel better.

We don't have much of a problem with bad/naughty, unless you count them calling each other naughty and putting each other in time out.
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