Children learn by imitation, especially of those they to whom they are closely attached. Sometimes children are attached to positive models, other times, less positive.
First and foremost, it is important to rule out any type of physical condition or injury. Physical conditions could include orthopedic, neurological, or even allergic reactions or food sensitivities.
Environmental conditions could indicate the need for a new mattress, clothing restrictions, new shoes, or some other physical factor.
Does the child complain of back pain across settings? If not, where does the complaint occur most often?
Young children have a hard time separating fantasy from reality. Are they just pretending? Does the child imitate any other behaviors of those to whom they are attached?
Young children have a hard time taking on more than one perspective at a time. Does this child spend an inordinate amount of time with a caregiver or other who talks about back pain?
Young children seek attention. Is it possible that the child is feeling lonely or neglected and is just trying to be noticed? Regularly giving 5-10 minutes of your undivided attention to your child can give them a lot of reassurance.
Is your child concerned about someone who is in pain or distress? The worry that this person might leave them might be causing them to feel anxious or scared and their pain is a physical indication of this stress.
Has the child had an injury like falling off a bike or skateboard? Did they appear to be OK afterward? Sometimes, an accident that does not result in injury is still traumatic and the reactive part of the brain stores this trauma. This can manifest in physical pain. Using a professional therapist to get in touch with this trauma to resolve it can be a way to alleviate symptoms.
It is always helpful to seek counseling for your child so they can discuss issues that may be on their mind that they do not feel comfortable discussing with you. Counseling gives them an opportunity to process their issues in a confidential way and learn coping techniques for their fears, anxieties, or sadness.
Unfortunately, sometimes child complaints of pain indicate abuse. It is important to investigate the environments and the people with which your child spends time to make sure they are safe when they are outside your care. Negative findings such as this definitely indicate the need to seek professional counseling.
Parents Matter Too! You are the protector, teacher, and role model for your child. Yours is the most important role in shaping their outlook about life. Take your job seriously.