15 answers

Help with My 7 Year Old Who Has Become "Worry Phobic"

Over the past few months my 7 year old has become increasingly worried about many things. It started with being out after dark. As soon as it would start to get dark he would ask when we could go home.... even if we were at Kings Island! He would rather go home. He is also worried we won't find our car when we park in parking lots. He spends the whole time wherever we are, worried we won't find the car. Now the worrying has moved to the weather. He's terrified of lightning and is now watching the weather radar a few times a day. If there's even a chance of rain, he says he wants to stay home. When he does go outside he is constantly watching the clouds and consumed by the weather. Yesterday I took him to a play date and the entire drive over he spent talking about the weather. He was also worried this weekend when I took him to baseball practice that I wouldn't be back in time to pick him up. ( I had to drive my 10 yr old to cheer) I assured him that everything would be fine and that I told the coach I will be back, etc. to try to ease his mind. He is 7 and I want him to be a kid and play and have fun. Not worry about things that he shouldn't even be thinking about. He's a tough little kid and loves sports and anything physical. He's always been so easy! But this has progressively worsened over the past 3 months. I'm not sure what more we can do other than continue to reassure him. Does anyone have any recommendations? Is this just a stage or do I need to take it more seriously?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I am truly touched by all the heart felt responses from all you wonderful moms! I so much appreciate the time you took to respond with such good ideas and also relieve my mind that others have gone through this same sort of thing. We will continue to work with my son with many of your suggested conversations and scenarios, and if it doesn't improve then we will look to see some professional help. Thank you again for your help! I love Mamasource!

Featured Answers

It sounds like he is having anxiety. I wouldn't let it go on much longer because when it comes to the point of being "all-consuming" of their thoughts and time. It's time to take him to the doc. You don't want this to become a life long battle. I'm not saying he needs medication, but maybe some therapy to learn how to deal with these anxieties. Goodluck

More Answers

C.,

When anxiety and worry effects his life adversely, and this does, it is time to seek help from a board certified child pychiatrst. This is very treatable, and he will feel much, much better with treatment. He is misserable.

Our daughter started these kinds of issues when she was only 4, and when she could not manage to attend kindergarten, we began treatment (paxil worked for her) and I could kick my self for waiting as long as I did. She has out grown it now at 12.

I would not hesitate to get him the help he needs, it is absolutley night and day and you would not even think about what to do if this were any other organ system than his brain.

M.

It's not just about reassurance but ALSO about "preparation". In other words, if he thinks there is an issue w/ the dark, make sure lights are on at home, even if you have to have a timer on a lamp. Have a flashlight in the car - not a bad idea, anyway. Talk about exit routes for a possible fire, what/where to go in case of a tornado or bad weather. Talk about the things that are PRECAUTIONARY - light lightening rods, etc. Remind him that it is totally unnecessary to worry over something you have no control over. Concern is one thing, take precautions. Worry is yet another, and can be very destructive - personally as well as to other relationships and situations.

He's old enough that you might want to get him a book or two on weather so that he understands it better.

C.,
I've had this issue with my 9 years old daughter, too. She worried about the weather, hurricanes.....I've just advised her that I understand her fears, however there are thing that we can control and others that we can't. I tell her that I and her Daddy are there to protect her. Assure her that we have taken care of her this far, and will continue to do so. I let her know that she should let me do the worrying, and that I or someone she loves will always be there to take care of the bad stuff. I let her know that as the adult, I will be responsible for her , and for her to try not to worry. Just always assure her that we will take care of her. That has seem to work, after a while.
K.

My son is six and has issues with this a lot. :( It's heartbreaking and even tiresom to me sometimes. We can in a 10 minute drive go through about 10 things that he is worried about it. We go to a psycologist to help with his anxiety. (Definitly not saying you need to do that. Ours has been going on for years, not months). At our last appointment we talked about worries, what worries are and what they do to our body. Worries can do a lot to a body--Your hands get sweety, figitiness, tingly skin, increase heart rate, increase breathing, stomache aches and makes your mind worry more.
Your son seems to have the "worried mind", where once he really gets on a topic he can't get off it and if he does it's onto another worried.
So, we do deep breathing each time he starts to get irrationally worried. 5 deep breaths, before we ever start to talk about it. We discuss the event in a positive light, only showing that it's not as bad as he things. Also noting that you understand he is worried and everyone worries sometimes. The other thing we do alot is research. We look up what he is worried about and try to educate ourselves. We get books from the library and have some around the house.
Learning how to correctly deal with our worries are very important. Explain to him that you worry about things and what you do about it. Let him know he's not alone and show him how you deal with your worries.
We talked to our pedi. and she said that for anxiety she does not like to medicate. There is no reason at such a young age. She suggested the psycologist and the psycologist is through childrens. She is awesome. She too does not think there is a need for medication, just a little extra help learning how to cope.

It sounds like he is having anxiety. I wouldn't let it go on much longer because when it comes to the point of being "all-consuming" of their thoughts and time. It's time to take him to the doc. You don't want this to become a life long battle. I'm not saying he needs medication, but maybe some therapy to learn how to deal with these anxieties. Goodluck

Hi, C.,
I believe this is a phase (having been through it myself with both children) and I found the best thing to do it talk, talk, talk. We talk about what the concern is, and if it could happen, and what we would do about it if it did. My children felt much better when they felt they had some control over things. And they do. They might not have control over whether a tornado comes, but they DO have control over how they respond to it. (eg. If the siren goes off, go to the basement, turn on the tv to see where it is, and if it's possible it could hit our house, take the position under the table.)

Finding the car! Oh, I remember that one well! :) And here is a approximation of the conversation we had:

But what if we can't find the car when we come out? There are so many cars!

Okay, Cade, let's say we can't find the car. Then what?

We'd be stuck here! We wouldn't be able to get home!

Really? Well, what do you suppose we would do if we truly could not find our car?

(panic stricken) I don't know! We would just be stuck here all night!

Take a deep breath. Now, think! What could we do if we were stuck here?

(long pause) We'd have to call Daddy and tell him we weren't going to be home. (then the AHA moment) Oh! We could tell Dad to come and get us!

That's right. We could tell Dad to come get us.

What if Dad didn't answer?

I guess we'd call someone else.

What if no one answered?

Seriously, Cade. Think about that. Out of all the people we know - do you really think it's likely that NONE of them are going to be home?

Well, it might happen.

Okay, then. Let's say that happens. We can't find the car. We're stuck. The store closes at 9:00. What happens when the store closes?

Everyone goes home.

Right. If everyone goes home, how many cars would be in the parking lot?

None. No, wait! Ours would be in the parking lot! It would be the only one! So we could find it!

That's right. So everything would turn out just fine. And no matter what, you and I would be together, and you will always be safe with me.

Thanks, Mama.

So, after that long response, :) my advice is to just talk to him, admit that some of the things COULD happen, but are unlikely, and if they did, how could it best be handled. What would be the worst outcome? My children soon saw the worst outcome wasn't really that bad, after all, when they thought it through. And now, they come up with their own scenarios and solutions. So it was a great lesson in problem solving! :)

Blessings to you, and your son,
J.
P.S. For us, the worst of the phase lasted about six months. Hang in there!

My daughter is 8 and she is the same way. The weather seems to be the biggest thing she worries about. She is so scared of a tornado and we even live in an area that in my 36 years, I have never seen one. Also, bees are a phobia of hers. She is always so worried about everything she can't enjoy anything. Hope you get some answers and maybe it will help my daughter. Good Luck!

Sorry for the late response but just saw your post. From the time one of my sisters was very young until now (30s), she has always been a worrier. Even though she recognizes that she worries more than others, it's just not something she can control which is more frustrating for her and seems to heighten her anxiety. It was recommended to her by a dr. that she not watch the news. He told her to trust in the fact that if something important or big happened, she would hear about it in many other ways. That seemed to help a huge amount. There's so much negative info. on the tv, about the weather, environment, terroism, etc., that she honestly would seem to worry about something not even close to us. I hope even this small recommendation can help.

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.