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  1. #1
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    Default Tips for dealing with DSS exaggerating minor injuries

    Help! I'm looking for some specific advice on how to manage DSS and his continued exaggeration of minor injuries. We've been dealing with this for about three years now and I hoped it was just a phase, but it is still ongoing without an end in sight and I think we need to put a strategy in place to deal with it.

    DSS is almost 10 and quite a sensitive boy, but the injury thing is really starting to drive me crazy. For example today already I've had four instances of his issues. One was he came in after riding his scooter to tell me he thought he'd broken his toe - no he hadn't kicked it, hit it, stubbed it or anything, it was just slightly sore. Then it was a little bruise he found on his leg, then a tiny little scratch from a branch and now it's a fingernail where the edge of it has broken off a little lower than the nail line. DH and I do not indulge his behaviour - we make sure there isn't a genuine injury - then send him on his way, but even with years of doing that, it isn't getting any better.

    He still makes sure that he tells us repeatedly about any bruise he has, he totally exaggerates the seriousness of anything that happens such as falling off his bike, and pesters us with his injury updates to get attention. This does seem to work with his bio-mum, which is likely where he's learned that he gets attention and gets indulged with any tiny thing, but we can't seem to make an impact on this behaviour when he's with us.

    We've talked to him about crying wolf and if he does get a serious injury no-one will believe him etc, but I think we need a strategy, especially as he is now going to be spending a lot more time in our household. Has anyone dealt with this? Any ideas?

    ETA. He isn't lacking attention, he gets LOTS of quality attention from both DH and myself.
    Last edited by Summer; 04-04-2016 at 15:10.

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    My 6.5yo dd is very much like that.
    I just say " it's ok, it's just a minor injury and your body is very smart and knows how to fix itself. It will be much better tomorrow". I don't give much more attention to it even though dd is still sulky.
    Some times i will also suggest dd get herself an ice pack from the fridge or get herself a bandage and she is normally ok after that.

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    What kind of attention does he get from bio mum?

    It seems like it may just be something a little attention seeking. And I think what you are doing is the right thing.

    No idea what advice to give. I only have a just turned 3yo so have no experience.

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    Summer  (04-04-2016)

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    Default Tips for dealing with DSS exaggerating minor injuries

    Thanks guys, @Jontu we do similar as you are doing, affirming it is minor & will be fine without making a fuss. He will get a band-aid or ice-pack if he thinks he needs it, but we will hear about it for days afterwards & several times a day: "look at this bruise" "you know when I nearly broke my toe yesterday" "this scratch really hurts" etc etc. When he arrives to us the first things he talks about are any new bruises or scratches or stacks he's had. We don't engage beyond simple acknowledgment & then change the subject, but he will keep trying to make it a thing with us many more times before he gives up & moves to a new injury that he can tell us about.
    @twinklify we are not totally sure how far bio-mum takes it, but just from the little we have witnessed she makes a huge fuss over these little things & totally babies him & sooks him etc

    I keep hoping he'll grow out of it, but it hasn't happened yet! I think we might need to approach it differently but I'm not really sure how!
    Last edited by Summer; 04-04-2016 at 19:38.

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    Have you tried questioning his complaints "do you really think it's that bad?" "Reaaallly?"

    Or even being sarcastic/ joke around with him a bit.. Something like " oh my gosh- you nearly lost your leg" then laugh it off...

    May help him to not take himself so seriously?

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    Summer  (04-04-2016)

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    Default Tips for dealing with DSS exaggerating minor injuries

    Thanks @yadot yes we have taken that kind of approach at times, said that if its that bad we'll take him to hospital & also tried to tease him out of it like "oh no I think your leg might fall off!" & they work temporarily but long term it hasn't stopped him bringing these little things up all the time.

    I guess we haven't ever wanted to take the approach of getting mad at him for it, just in case he is then too scared to say anything in a genuine injury... Maybe we need to define what a minor injury is & a serious one so that he can start to learn the difference & what an appropriate response is.
    Last edited by Summer; 04-04-2016 at 19:40.

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    You sure your DSS is ok with being spread accross 2 homes/ the attention he gets from his dad? Not meaning to Second guess you it's just that Our perceptions abou what kids need are often different from what the kids themselves think. Could he have anxiety?

    I'm not sure what to do about it apart from getting your DP to have a friendly informal chat with DSS to see if anything is bothering him/try and get to the bottom of it. Until then I know it's not easy however try to not let it get to you. Say what you say "it's not that bad sweetie, you'll be ok" and then let it be like water off a ducks back. Continue to love your DSS and all his flaws. I don't mean to sound condescending however (as the mother of a toddler and preschooler!) there are plenty of worse things that your DSS could be saying and doing.

    Good luck

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    My first thought is anxiety. Might be worth looking into it just in case.

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    Summer  (04-04-2016)

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    Default Tips for dealing with DSS exaggerating minor injuries

    Thanks - we don't think it is anxiety as apart from this he is a really laid back kid, very happy, has a lot of fun, is open, affectionate & seems very well adjusted. His custody circumstances have changed recently but this behaviour predates any changes & it hasn't worsened at all - just been the same for three years or so... We think it is attention seeking & maybe trying to get the same type of babying that he gets from mum? If so as he grows up that will change & maybe I'm just a bit impatient... You are right, there are worse things, it is just so pervasive it does my head in!

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    I read the other day that can be part of sensory processing disorder also. Something to read up on maybe.

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