Not being old enough, fast enough!

First of all, some refreshers- Andrew turned 4 in August, Suzanne is 21 months and I am due in aprox 8 weeks, but just last week put on bed rest for preterm labor.

Andrew is having a very difficult time with “not being big enough, fast enough” He has become very competitive and is very hard on himself. Needless to say, this breaks my heart.
I keep thinking this is a phase or just the age, but I am deeply concerned this is just his personality in general. He is not small by anymeans. He is one of the biggest kids in his preschool class, yet one of the youngest. At soccer he is easily discouraged when he doesn’t score a goal and becomes extremely upset, yet his team has only scored 3 goals in all their games and he scored 2 of the 3.

He is always asking when he will be as big as us and he wants to be 8. I see it effecting relationships with his friends and with his sister. He used to be very outgoing and confident and I no longer see that side to him. I asked his teachers and they say they see a minor difference, but nothing they see as a problem. We have been praising him a lot and try to talk with him, but again not really seeing a difference. Like I said I am very concerned in this change – I want my old Andrew back….any advice?

Thank you for your time,

Dr. Ann Corwin, The Parenting Doctor Advice


Congrats on your upcoming birth! Some of this or maybe all could be related to the new baby. To help himself feel powerful, because having a “new baby” makes older kids feel out of control. So keep that in mind and make sure you give him “ownership” to the new baby by having him be “big enough” to be in charge of buying all the socks for the baby or whatever you can think of! Andrew’s competitive nature that you describe is normal, but in order to help you I need to ask some questions about “when” this “change” started and are you or your husband rather competitive and how does he act when he perceives himself as not winning or “big”, etc.?

One of the ways to help with this is to start focusing your praise of him when he is just being himself, not when he accomplishes something. For example, when he smiles, you say something like “you have a smile that looks just like you and no one else, which makes me want to smile at you”. It seems like he is “stuck” on being big, which I don’t have enough information to know the origin of that, but I do know you could probably help this by talking to him about the advantages of being small. Something like the closer you are to the ground, the safer you are, because falling doesn’t hurt, etc.

“Big” means you cannot always fit where you want to go, like on the playground or mom and dad don’t get to do what you do, because we are “too big”. I would need to know what you say when he says he wants to be big or 8, etc.? I think this may be more complicated than what I can do through e-mail. So if you want or need a phone consultation just give me a call to set something up at (949) 643-9978. Hope this helps a little?