10 year old son acts clumsy intentionally

by Kate

Question: Why would my 10 year old son intentionally act clumsy? He will suddenly trip or walk into something he claims to have not seen when we enter a building.

This morning it happened at school. We dropped him off at his locker and while opening it he intentionally hit himself in the head. My 6 year old daughter asked me why he does that. I know if she notices then other people do as well.

The confusing thing to me is that from my perspective he hates attention and yet he is obviously trying to get attention because he only does this when we enter a building and no one is paying attention to him!

He is very smart, very artistic and creative. He is already known as the class "weirdo" which he sort of wears with pride. If this behavior was only at school it would make sense but he does this in other situations as well. Any ideas?

Answer: Is it possible that he is not intentionally doing this? Could he be embarrassed by his clumsiness and insecure about being known as the class "weirdo," but is trying to cover it up with pride and by appearing purposeful?

How are his social skills in general? Some children are unaware of how to relate to others and often engage in strange behavior because they do not know how else to act. Does he have friends he brings home or spends time with outside of school? This may be a good way for him to develop better social skills.

Does he pay attention to other things fairly well, such as school work and other activities that require focus? Inability to pay attention to these things might indicate that he doesn't actually notice things and therefore often runs into them. This can be common for children diagnosed with ADHD or even with a sensory processing disorder due to not accurately perceiving visual stimuli.

In the past when others have laughed at him and he became embarrassed he may have then decided to make it look purposeful as if he wants to entertain others. Try talking with him in private about this and see what his thoughts are about these things. If he truly claims not to be doing these things on purpose, then you may want to talk to his pediatrician and determine if there is something else going on.

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