My son is 5 years, 8 mos. He is a good kid. He is loving and very sensitive. He generally listens to adults, follows rules, etc. He treats younger children and pets nicely. But he has a problem. He always thinks other children are "out to get him." He reports being bullied. We've observed him in school, camp, etc, and neither us nor teachers have ever witnessed any bullying
. In fact, we see kids act NICELY towards him. A few times we have observed a child being kind to him (complimenting him, asking him to play with them, etc) and then taken him aside and asked what the other child was feeling/intending. Petey always believes the other child is "tricking" him- secretly plotting to harm him. Petey always reports feeling sad
and angered because he wants the other children to "be nice", and yet, when they are, he still believes they mean him harm. Meanwhile, if you show Petey a magazine picture, he can tell the emotions of the people correctly. If you watch tv and pause in the middle of the scene, he can say what each person is feeling and why and how they will probably react, all correctly. So it's not that he can't read how others feel or social cues, he just chronically misinterprets them when he is involved. He always misinterprets the same way- others mean him harm. We are not "stranger danger" parents. We are not "helicopter" parents. We encourage Petey to use his words and "check it out"- i.e. ask the other child how they feel if he is uncertain. And yet, he still insists they mean him harm. Meanwhile, he rarely reacts to his younger sister that way, and only occasionally sees adults as malevolent. Petey has never been actually bullied that we know of. Other children seem to like him. He just doesn't recognize that he is liked, no matter what. What's going on with our kid? We have taken him to a neurologist because of sleep issues, and he has a rare sleep disorder- REM behavior disorder, but that shouldn't be a problem psychiatrically. He isn't anxious in general and has no phobias. He also is a happy kid. Happy until another child wants to play, that is. What should we do?