Is it normal for my 10 year old to become "obsessed" with things?

Heidi - posted on 09/27/2009 ( 7 moms have responded )




Every few years my ten year old finds a new obsession. At two it was Thomas the tank engine. At 4 it was the weather. At 7 it was golf. Now at 10 and he has became "obsessed" with pro sports. When I say obsessed I mean it's all he talks about. He will only read books about sports figures, plays video games dealing with sports, and only wants sports equiptment for gifts. He is constantly interrupting me telling me every little thing that happens in his games, in every game on TV. He won't listen to me if I want to have a conversation about something else. Are these obessions just a sign of his intelligence or is it something else? How do I deal with it? To be constantly interupted to the point that I can't get anything accomplished with a subject that I don't have much of an interest in is starting to get to me. What do I do?


Tracy - posted on 10/01/2009




Hey you just described my 15 year old daughter. In kindergarden she was creating spreadsheets on dinosaurs. There was nothing that she didn't know about them. She could stump the librarian and the Grade 6 teachers.
Then there was her obsession with the Titanic. She actually created a spreadsheet that listed every passenger, where the boarded the ship, who survived, where they moved to and if they have any surviving family members till alive.

Then we moved into the horse phase. this has been a total obsession. All the breeds, who all of these breeds are descended from, she can even tell you who sired who and what their racing stats are. She can handicap any race and 9 times out of 10 nail the tri-actors.

She is currently involved in band, community band, jazz band. Has represented her province at the National Science Fair and placed 4th in her category in the country and won a 1st year scholarship to a prestigious University in Ontario and she was only in grade 9 at the time.

Yea, this is definitely a sign of their intelligence but it also is a way for them to order their world. I have encouraged her need to know. Yes it can be a royal pain in the butt, but it also allows them to feel good about themselves and the world around them.

Hang in there it really will be okay.

AmBuer - posted on 09/28/2009




My daughter is 6 and her obsessions usually change every 6 months or so. However she has retained some of her obsessions, like toilets. She is fascinated by them, how they work, the interior components, where things go from there, the shapes of them, the feel of them, how they are different colors, sounds, smells, textures. No matter where we go, she always has to go to the bathroom. I used to get really frustrated about this, but I find if I allow her to have her obsession on a controlled basis, then it is easier for me, and she obsesses less. So if we go to a new friends house, then I just let her go in and use the bathroom and look around and then she is done with it. No talking about it, unless it is a really strange bathroom like one we went to had a pull chain for the flush... LOL! Then she can go about her playtime or whatever we are there for. If we go to Home Depot, we stroll down the Aisle that has the toilets in it before we go to get what we came in for. Makes it easier because I don't have to keep telling her we will look at the toilets in a minute. Or listen to her ask 1000 times why we can't look at the toilets. Its about changing your attitude and outlook on it. Tell your son you want to hear about his sports (or whatever the obsession is) and maybe set a timer for 15 minutes and then he can talk about whatever in that 15 minutes. And then maybe set a timer for you and you talk about something else for 15 minutes. Take turns, practice. that way you both get to say what you want to share. Make up your own rules as to what works for you guys. Or give him a sports related sticker if he does not interrupt you to talk about sports. You will find your way, it just takes patience, and I have found looking for solutions outside of the box... :0) Good luck!

Jillian - posted on 10/02/2009




Hmm, let's see. With three gifted children, the oldest now being twenty-four, what can I remember? Dinosaurs, Greek mythology, Roman mythology, Dungeons and Dragons, Thomas the Tank, rock music, classical music, reggae music, ska, er... Dungeons and Dragons (again), Kings and Queens of England dating from Ethelred (we're not from England), Shakespeare (twice), Jane Austen, woodcarving, piano playing (twice), drums, guitar, electronics, computer games, spear-fishing, cooking (pastries and desserts oooh... and hand made pesto with home-grown basil), religion, foreign languages (french, hebrew, ngaanyatjarra, klingon), soccer and too many other things to recall.

In case you think that all children have these interests... I would agree, to a certain extent. It's the depth of interest that is the difference. Thus, the child with the interest in English royalty knows all the monarchs, in order, the length and dates of their reigns, their manner of death, spouses, constitutional crises, issues with their heirs, clothing styles and a multitude of minor personal details. The child obsessed with computer games, doesn't stop at just playing them but went into programming and designing.

Also, it's the speed of the learning curve. The twelve-year-old who is absorbed by the piano (our youngest), last week taught himself to play Debussy's Claire de Lune (not just the melody but all the chords and harmonies) and is this week working on Tchaikovsky's Pathétique. The house is always humming with somebody's project. This is just normal!


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Linda - posted on 09/29/2009




Could be. All of us share elements in common with mental illnesses -- like you might compulsively check to make sure the back door is locked before going to sleep, but that doesn't mean you are OCD. The line between quirks and true mental illness is when it interferes with the day to day functioning of your day.

The two conditions I'd be concerned about would be OCD, but even more -- perhaps Asperger's (high functioning Autism)... but then you would be talking about problems missing social cues, relating to peers, and yes -- an encycolpedic knowledge of and constant conversation about a particular defined subject, and unwillingness to be diverted to other topics.

If you're also having socializing issues, there could be some benefit of psychological testing. If you're not, then just accept it as a quirk of his!

Kerry - posted on 09/29/2009




Sounds like my 10 year old....actually his older siblings did these obsessions as well but not to the same degree. Dinosaurs from like 1 to 5 - you should see our collection of dino vcr tapes and dvds. Its been the military from about 6 until now and he loves documentaries on anything military, especially WWII. He has a touch of OCD and if things aren't in their places or he thinks he did something wrong he freaks and says sorry all the time and has to point out his day to me and things he does. And when his older siblings like to make fun of him or say he'll get this disease or that if he doesn't brush his teeth or wash his hands he will freak for days. When he is on his obsession he will want to know as much as possible and won't let me get other things out of him. Luckily hes still in this military phase and so he knows so much now that getting him to focus on other things is easier.

I have just learned to listen with one ear many times and just to live with it. I'm lucky in that i can tell him to just wait until his dad gets home and ask him or talk to his older brother about things and that helps as well.

Rachel - posted on 09/28/2009




i have a 5 year old and two year old that do the same things.sometimes i fear i may lose my keeping a sense of humer helps. i have found it works well to have them look right at you say what you need to then have them repete back what you said that way you know they have been listining to what you are saying.gentel reminders that there are times and places for every thing.making sure to give that time and place to him.this works well for us. hope this helps.

Kathy - posted on 09/27/2009




Yes! It is quite normal for a gifted kid to become obsessed with things. This is one of the reasons that giftedness is sometimes confused with OCD. Actually being OCD can be combined with being gifted and that is the reason that maybe "gifted" is not the best terminology. There are many sites that you can go to online that talk about gifted kids and they have lots of great info.

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