Mood swings and sullen attitude in 9 year old boy

Hillary - posted on 11/23/2011 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My 9 year old son is making me crazy!! He is a wonderful boy, he loves his younger siblings, is very affectionate, independent, does great in school, and is basically, just a good kid. I am proud of him in so many ways and tell him as much as I can how proud I am of him. BUT, he has always been a serious kid, even as an infant he was very serious. He smiles and laughs, but for the most part he is quite serious. Now, he is becoming sullen and moody. If he doesn't get his way, he punishes himself. Example: We are having cake, he asks for a piece in the middle of cake, I say no, you can have one of the pieces I'm cutting here, all of a sudden he says, no I don't want any then, and goes to his room. We offer a treat and if its not the treat he had in mind, he'll say no and not have any. Now this wouldn't be a problem, except the majority of the time he comes out five or ten minutes later and then wants what was offered, but usually by the time he comes out everyone else is done and we've put it away. At first I would give it to him, but then I started thinking he's doing this as a complete defiance to me and is trying to get what he wants on his terms, so now, if he doesn't take it when offered, he doesn't get any. And it's not just food, watching a movie, playing a video game, going somewhere, unless it is the movie, game, place, whatever, that he wants, he gets upset and refuses to do it, until some time has passed and then he wants to join us. We have four kids, so when we watch a movie as a family we try to rotate who gets to pick, or we just pick something we all like, he will go away, then hide in the hallway to watch the movie. We know he wants what he is being offered, but will miss out if its not how, when, where he wants. I don't know what to do about it. He is also very moody, take this morning, we are having a great morning, getting ready for school, talking, enjoying each other, he's smiling and doing everything he needs to do, and then BAM, all of a sudden he stops talking, seems to be on the verge of tears, and becomes sullen and withdrawn. I have no clue what happened! I asked him to tell me what happened, why he was suddenly upset, what did I do so I can try and fix it, and I get nothing. He won't talk, gives me single syallable responses, and just plain out shuts down. I didn't get upset with him, I hadn't done anything I can think of that would cause this reaction, but he won't talk to me. He always shuts down if he gets in trouble, or we ask him to do something he doesn't want to do, but lately he's been shutting down for, what appears to be, no reason. I honestly am at my wits end and have zero idea what to do. I know he trusts me and will talk to me, since we;ve had some pretty interesting conversations about smoe touchy subjects. He talks to me about things like his "boy bits", his friends, what they do, he has lied a few times to me, but for the most part is an honest kid. He knows he won't get in trouble for anything he talks to me about and has brought up subjects like sex, drugs and alcohol (I know some would say 9 is too young for those conversations but he asks me about stuff he hears at school and I think the earlier they know, then hopefully the better chance they have to avoid issues with these things). So I don't understand why he won't talk to me about what is bothering him and why he is becoming so moody and morose. It seems like at times he is just unhappy, we have a fairly ahppy household, we like to goof off and have fun, but he seems to be sitting on the sidelines more and more. It's almost like he doesn't know how to be happy anymore. He is so serious, and sullen, and moody. He is still excelling at school and as far as I can tell the teachers are all still very happy with his participation in school and social skills with friends and his grades. Does anyone else's son act like this? Does anyone have an idea of what could be happening?

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Michelle - posted on 11/26/2011

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It sounds like the early onset of childhood depression I would talk to your dr. about his behavior and maybe seek out a specialist my brother went through this and he did not find out until he was an adult that depression was the problem he really wishes he had known when he was younger as he did not have the greatest of time in jr and sr high so get him checked out what can it hurt

Tamara - posted on 11/25/2011

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It could be puberty, it could be depression, be could be being bullied at school, I would maybe see if the school councilor could have a chat with him then go from there. My guess is puberty though. and yes 9 may seem young but it does happen.

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