My 4 (and 4 months) year old son (i'm going to call him John here) started school in september, a couple of months ago. (he's in what is called 'Reception' in England - it might be called pre-school in the USA). In the last few weeks he has started showing some very troubling behaviour, characterised by:
- "doom and gloom" - "Nobody loves me"/"Nobody likes me" etc.
- sadness about friends: "I'm going to be my own best friend", "I don't want any friends"
- insulting me and my wife: "You're not good at anything, are you", "None of your jokes are funny."
- insulting his 2 yr old sister: telling her she is stupid etc.
- arguing with anything - "Ooh look at that huge crane, isn't that cool." "No it isn't! Shut up!"
- saying really dark stuff like "When someone says they love you, that means that they hate you" and "If you say you hate me, that will make me happy.". This is perhaps the most troubling.
I think that this might stem from him not having any good friends at school. He kind of makes things hard for himself in this regard - I've seen other kids say hello to him and he just ignores them. He's lacking in social skills really. At a cinema screening at the school a couple of weeks ago he kept on turning to the other kids and shouting "Did you see that!" at them. They ended up moving away from him, and I don't really blame them, even though it made me want to cry.
I think he has an idea that he needs to have a "best friend", and he feels like he doesn't have one. He sees other kids playing and sort of stands on the sidelines vicariously playing with them, but not really with them if you know what I mean.
It's very difficult for me and my wife to deal with, because when we try to talk to him about it he gets really angry, leading to conversations like
"Nobody loves me" "John, me and mummy love you very very much." "NO YOU DON'T!! SHUT UP! You're just an idiot."
My wife has spoken to his teacher and she says she hasn't really seen anything worrying happening in the classroom, but obviously she can't be everywhere at once.
If he was 13 and behaving like this I might write it off as moody teenager behaviour, and not worry so much. But to have a four year old say "When someone says they love you, that means that they hate you" is quite frankly terrifying me and my wife.
Can anyone advise? Is this normal? Should we speak to a child psychologist?