Home » Boy is an old man in a boy’s body.

Boy is an old man in a boy’s body.

Asked by on with 1 answer:

I am writing to get an opinion or suggestion. I know a 10-year-old boy who lives with his mother and little sister all the time. His parents got a divorce within the last two years.

The problem:
“E” is a 10-year-old boy with a very high IQ. He is in some special classes for smart kids. He reads a lot and enjoys science shows on TV. He analyzes everything—he cannot answer a simple question, What is your favorite color?, without thinking and analyzing the question and answer.

Word association does not work either. He does not laugh and smile like most 10-year-olds. He says the kids at school act “stupid or silly” but what he describes is being kids. He is a “what if” person, worrying about things kids and sometimes adults don’t need to worry about.

Example: he won’t play video games because he is worried about the electric bill increasing. Shouldn’t he be worrying about high scores? He told me that he read if a boy rides his bike too much he might be unable to have children. What 10-year-old thinks about stuff like that? He only plays outside or with his sister every now and then. Even if his mom is acting silly he won’t join in—having a water fight with friends and sister, he would not even go outside to watch.

I know that when he is with his dad they work on the farm, and watch the news and news shows all the time. He reads consumer reports and news magazines instead of comics. He is an old man in a 10-year-old’s body. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Any suggestions? His mother and I are very worried about his behavior. Please reply with any help. Thanks a lot.

Boy is an old man in a boy’s body.

Answered by on -


Of course, I can’t make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter. But I really, really hope your friend will take her son for an evaluation. Much of what you say is consistent with Asperger Syndrome.

AS is a neurobiological disorder that is on the autism spectrum. People with AS have normal to high intelligence but often have significant difficulty with social skills and communication skills. Often they have a highly developed interest and expertise in one or more narrow and unusual topics. Sometimes they are overly sensitive to sensory stimulation. Changes in sounds, light, tastes, smells, etc can be experienced as painful.

Paradoxically, they often have a high tolerance for pain. Because these people are neurologically different, they often appear odd or eccentric to others. It’s very important for those around them to remember that their behavior is not intentional rudeness or craziness. They really do see the world differently.

There are certain parts of the world that are referred to as “Aspie colonies” by those who know and love these people. You will find a higher than expected concentration of “Aspies” in companies that develop computer programs or that involve highly technical skills, in certain departments on college campuses, among teenagers who are involved with gaming, etc.

AS is more difficult in childhood than adulthood since children can be very cruel to those they perceive as different. Aspie kids are often teased and bullied by their peers and seen as odd by adults. It is helpful to get a diagnosis because it gives the behaviors a name and provides parents and teachers with a direction for providing help and support. Please do a web search for more information and see if any of this fits the situation you described in your letter.

An important caution: I am only making a guess based on a letter. It is also possible that the boy is reacting to his parents’ divorce by trying to be his idea of the “man of the family” for his mom. Then again, it could be something else.

Of most importance is that you have a legitimate concern that this little boy is overburdened by something. Trust your instincts and encourage his mom to take him to a licensed child psychologist for an evaluation.

I wish you well,
Dr. Marie

Boy is an old man in a boy’s body.

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Boy is an old man in a boy’s body.. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 25, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.