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My 9 Year Old Wants To Be An Only Child

Question:

My son is 9 years old and has a younger sister and brother. He wants them gone. He has tried hurting them. I try to spend extra time with him because for 7 years it was just him and I. It does no good. Now he bites his fingers until they bleed and pulls his hair out.

Please tell me there is something I can do to help him. I love him and I don’t like seeing him hurting himself. What can I do?

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Answer:

It is normal for children to want to be the “only child” in the family. After all, with no competition, they get all of the attention and do not have to share toys, food, clothes or love with anyone else. The problem is that, unless parents plan on having only one child, it is not the way life is. Sooner or later all of us have to face the fact that there are others in the world with whom we have to share resources and attention.

However, it seems as though your son is having more difficulty than being forced to sharing with his younger siblings. The fact that he is pulling his hair and biting himself points to the fact that there are more serious things going on. I have no way of knowing what is happening in his life to cause such self destructive behaviors. By 9 years of age he should be able to accept his siblings and even make friends with them. Children are less likely to be able to sit down with adults and explain what is wrong and are more likely to act out and that is what he is doing.

Therefore, I strongly urge you to have him seen by a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating children. I am sure the psychologist will want to speak to you and your husband about what might be happening that might cause such problems.

I can tell you that, in my opinion, your son is having a very hard time and is letting you know that he is suffering.

Best of Luck

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