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Are we neglecting our child?

Q: I have a 9 years old son who is the second child out of our four children. He is always acting like he is two years old and tells other family members that he isn't allowed to eat or drink certain foods and that he doesn't have any toys. What should I do?

A:From your description, it seems to me that your son feels somewhat neglected among all his siblings. Acting younger to ones age is quite common among children as a means of gaining their parents or other peoples attention. I am not sure how young your youngest child is, but it is possible that your son feels threatened by this new entrant and feels shortchanged in the bargain. Acting younger (2 years you say) makes him feel closer in age to the youngest sibling who, according to your son, is getting the attention that he wants for himself. My suggestion would be to have a brief but reassuring talk with your son letting him know that you care about him as much as you do about the other kids. Make him feel wanted and important. Make sure that he is included in family discussions and that his strengths are mentioned when talking about the other children. Find out if he behaves the same at school or not. Once he knows you love him as much as the others, this behaviours is bound to stop. If it continues for long, please consult a child psychologist.

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