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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Character Clinic: William Donald Donnelson (AKA Knob)

I've got my first 10-year-old on the couch today. His meanie author, Joyce, didn't tell him he was having therapy! He's smart, shy, and made fun of at school. Not exactly popular. His brother, Paul, was a hemophiliac and died in a bike accident. Knob isn't a "bleeder," but his mom treats him as he was one and doesn't let him do things. Consequently, he's scared to do things, and his best friend tells him he's not really living because he's not taking risks. He just wants to be liked and invited to do things and he wants to stand up against his mother and be independent.

Joyce wants to know: I'd like to know if he sounds like a real boy or a stock character. Is he original enough? Does the book grab your attention?

Knob -

I know a little boy just like you! He didn't have a hemophiliac brother, but he does have a hypochondriac mother, and the result is just about the same. Do you know what a hypochondriac is? It's someone who always thinks that they are sick and over-exaggerates any little cut or bruise as something worse than it truly is.

Does that sound like your mother a little bit? She probably has some of the same characteristics because she's still grieving the loss of your brother Paul. Losing a child is a super difficult thing for a mother to go through, and since you're still young and she can oversee everything you do, she probably is overly protective simply because she's afraid that she'll lose you too.

I know it makes it difficult to hang out with friends and just have fun. That's what 10-year-olds want to do, and your author would portray you very real to life if you're getting really angry at her for not letting you do "normal" things other boys do. At 10, peers are just starting to become more important than parents, and you'll probably really struggle with your desire to please your mom and dad and your desire to just fit in and be like everyone else.

Your mother's problems have likely instilled the fear you have about doing things other kids do. It's pretty realistic to want to do those things but to also be scared to doing them. She's ingrained it in your head that something really bad might happen to you, and of course you don't want that to be the case. However, eventually peer pressure will probably cause you to give things a try--and you'll find that they are fun! This fun might override your fear sometimes, and then you'll likely have to deal with your mother's anger for having done something she thought was foolish and dangerous.

I find that you are in quite the predicament, and I'd be interested to know what your author plans on doing with you. I think you will ring true--and I'm sure there are other little boys/girls who would enjoy reading about you, because trust me, you aren't the only kid out there with an overprotective mother!

Hope you've enjoyed your time on the couch, even if you didn't know you were getting therapy. Come again any time.

To be entered to win Angie Breidenbach's Gems of Wisdom (a great book for your writing shelf), click here!


Catch My Words said...

Thanks, Jeannie! We'll see what we can do to fix Knob's problems.


Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

This is so cool!

Evelyn said...

What a fun way to look at a book character. Thanks for sharing.

Kristen said...

Poor kid! Sounds like a great character that I'd love to read about.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

thank you vicky! i just checked out your website and blog...they are just beautiful!

evelyn - it IS fun! i love doing this. :)

Anonymous said...

Knob sounds like a relatable boy! My 11 yo son read Jeannie's diagnosis and agrees. He told me about a friend he has whose mom is overprotective, never letting him sleep away from home or freaking out if he gets the smallest cut. He's not a "bleeder". She's just overprotective. We are interested to learn more about the plot. Have to check out your blog!

Erica (& Anthony)

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

erica! thank you SO much for letting your son read this...and for telling me that he agreed. :) that made my day. :)

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Both comments and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed your time on the couch today.