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Question
Posted by: ANRE | 2011/10/03

LITTLE BOY ANGER / DRAWING MONSTERS

Hi, the setup... a boy of 5 is living with his grandma and grandpa out on a farm. His mother is missing in action and his father lives in another city. It is the father''s parents that''s looking after his son. He provides financially, but he doesn''t see the boy very often, although he phones every day. The boy doesnt always want to speak to him.

Long story, but I am a very close friend of the father and I''ve met the boy and taken him out a couple of times. He kind of thinks I''m his mother, although I always explain to him I''m not his mommy. When he gets shown photo''s of his real mother he is just not interested.

Anyway, I''ve noticed that when he gets angry, he seems to get VERY angry, his whole body tightens up and quivers with his hands balled into fists. The granny also says she is worried, because whenever he draws anything, it is usually monsters etc. He also likes to play " fighting games"  or animals fighting, or robots fighting etc.

He has difficulty saying goodbye to anybody, because he knows it means usually it is for a very long time. I am worried about the long term effects that this current " living"  arrangement has on him.

Any suggestions on what to do, how to handle it, or how to find out if anything is wrong... or is he just acting like a normal little boy?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

the boy may not want to speak to him, feling that his dad has abandoned him as apparently his mom already has. Maybe the dad needs to work where he does to be able to support the boy well, but that's hardly something a 5 year-old easily understands. Apparently his real mother may have ben very distant and uncaring when around, and may have left him early enough for him not to remember her, certainly not to remember her with fondness.
The drawings and games may understandably be ways of expressing the anger he feels - however good his grandparents, he probably feels abandoned and rejected by his mother ( correctly ) and his father. But he's basically acting like a rather normal little boy, as that species can be blood-thirsty in games and images to a degree many adults feel squeamish about. And modern TV, comics and movies tend to feature dramatic monsters, and constant, meaningless conflict.
If you folks really worry that its more than this, he'd need to be assessed by a child psychologist, depending on where one might be available.
Its unpredictable, but kids are often more resilient than we expect, and can cope well, though the sense of separation and of losing people which you describe so touchingly, can be harder to handle.
In World War 2, the British were so sure kids would be terribly damaged by witnessing the Nazi bombing of their home cities, that they were evacuated en masse, either to English countryside, or even as far away as Canada. Later studies comparing kids who were evacuated with those who had remained at home with their loved families, found that those who stayed home, despite falling bombs, explosions and destruction, were more calm and well than those who had been separated from those they loved, even if staying with kind families in peaceful settings.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/10/03

the boy may not want to speak to him, feling that his dad has abandoned him as apparently his mom already has. Maybe the dad needs to work where he does to be able to support the boy well, but that's hardly something a 5 year-old easily understands. Apparently his real mother may have ben very distant and uncaring when around, and may have left him early enough for him not to remember her, certainly not to remember her with fondness.
The drawings and games may understandably be ways of expressing the anger he feels - however good his grandparents, he probably feels abandoned and rejected by his mother ( correctly ) and his father. But he's basically acting like a rather normal little boy, as that species can be blood-thirsty in games and images to a degree many adults feel squeamish about. And modern TV, comics and movies tend to feature dramatic monsters, and constant, meaningless conflict.
If you folks really worry that its more than this, he'd need to be assessed by a child psychologist, depending on where one might be available.
Its unpredictable, but kids are often more resilient than we expect, and can cope well, though the sense of separation and of losing people which you describe so touchingly, can be harder to handle.
In World War 2, the British were so sure kids would be terribly damaged by witnessing the Nazi bombing of their home cities, that they were evacuated en masse, either to English countryside, or even as far away as Canada. Later studies comparing kids who were evacuated with those who had remained at home with their loved families, found that those who stayed home, despite falling bombs, explosions and destruction, were more calm and well than those who had been separated from those they loved, even if staying with kind families in peaceful settings.

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