My nine year old DSS is quite a sensitive boy, and I'm worried that he either isn't able to identify how he is feeling (not familiar with his emotions) or he's scared to express himself so bottles things up until they burst out and he cries.
Having done a ton of personal development myself and having some minor qualifications in this area (not psychologist though), I wanted to start doing some small things with him to help him gain confidence to speak up about what he is feeling and that it is safe to do so. But I wasn't sure if this was a good approach or not?
For example this morning we didn't have any white bread and so DH gave DSS toast with ham, cheese and tomato on a wholemeal seed bread that he eats. DSS sat there playing with it, had a few nibbles and wasn't really eating much. DH asked if he wasn't hungry, and DSS kind of shrugged, then I realised it was the seed bread he won't eat (hates any type of seeds). So I asked him, "is it the seed bread honey that you don't like?" and he started crying.
So I said "that's OK, I've got some plain wraps in there, how about we move the filling into a wrap?" He's not being naughty, he's usually good with most food, but seeds have always been a thing. So we did that and he ate it up, but had lots of tears and sniffed right through breakfast.
I said to him "it's ok for you to speak up and say if you really don't like something, you're not going to get into trouble" and reassured him that way. But ultimately I'd like to see him learn to express himself with confidence.
What I would have liked to have done (or could still do?) was to do a little role playing game and get him to identify what it was he felt (if he could - scared, shy, upset, worried etc) and then do a little role play where he repeated after me something like "excuse me Dad, I don't really like the seed bread, is there anything else I might be able to have for breakfast?" and make it fun and see how he feels actually saying that out loud. And learning that the world won't cave in if he does.
Is that too advanced for a nine year old? Would it even help? I thought doing it with something minor and not that important might pave the way for him to get more comfortable with his feelings and being able to name it and then express himself... But I'm not sure.
Any thoughts from other Mums / Step-Mums who have a sensitive child?