20 answers

My 8 Year Old Is Now Afraid of Everything...

I need help. My 8 year old son goes into panic at the sight of anyhing. I can understand maybe bees, dogs he doesn't know or dangerous things like that but he is afraid now of flies, butterflies, bees, fishes, those little teeny tiny bugs (gnats? I think?), going in the water. There is more but that's what comes to mind. He won't even play outside anymore. He wasn't like this before at all. This has been going on for about a couple of years now. I'm just now running out of patience. I have tried everything from talking to him about his fears to getting upset and punishing him. By the way,refuses to learn to tie his shoes because he says he can't do it and now he is even afraid of his bike! Can't ride his bike either. Will not try sports anymore. He did football for a couple of months but now is afraid of that too. Not to mention he now carries a rosary to protect himself and all of us. His pediatrician said that it was normal behavior for his age but I really don't think so. He will get worried if my 3 year old goes to the backyard to play and tries to scare him too. What is going on?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

So just to keep you posted. I still haven't been able to find a therapist appt yet. (We're on Medicaid now). However, we had a breakthrough this weekend. I'm not saying the problem is fixed but at least it is a light at the end of the tunnel. Turns out there is this one kid in school that has been bullying him since last year. This goes to show you that no matter how well or in tune you are with your kids, you just never know. We talk ALL the time and when I would ask about school he would tell me everything that happened except his burden. He has hidden it very well until recently when even the teacher started noticing the differences in him.
Moms we have raised our son to have an awesome self-esteem and until recently it worked. Great grades, great friends, great kid but somehow he has decided in his mind to give this one other kid in his class all this power. No matter how much he is abused, he still follows him around. It is MY son who follows the bully around. I am still going to pursue professional help because something is triggering this behavior in him. I don't know where he gets it or why he thinks it is correct to hang around abusers. It is DEFINITELY not my family situation. He himself admitted that he loves his family and the fact that his mom and dad get along great. He just doesn't understand why he needs to be around this kid so badly. We're still working on it and I will keep you posted ofcourse in case this can help any other moms out there.

Featured Answers

Please look into the PANDAS diagnosis. This sounds like how my daughter started out.

www.latitudes.org
www.pandasnetwork.org
www.webpediatrics.com

Does he have any tics, like sniffing or coughing, eye-blinking or finger flicking?

Any OCD behavior other than the fears- has to have things a certain way, sit in a certain spot, repeat a certain word or have you repeat a certain word or do things a certain way, or freak out with change in routine, etc?

Changes in bathroom behavior around the same time of onset- like wiping excessively or not wiping at all, bed or day wetting?

Any regression to babytalk?

History of strep OR unexplained tiredness or fevers, dark circles under eyes, enlarged pupils and "glazed over" look? Aches, especially in legs?

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or just want to chat.
A.

3 moms found this helpful

I have a friend, she works with children using EFT (some people cal it tapping). She gets remarkable results. She is awesome. I see you are in Jacksonville. She is in Orlando, but it will be worth it. She can help to release the blockages that he is dealing with.

let me know if you would like more info.

A.
###-###-####.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Please look into the PANDAS diagnosis. This sounds like how my daughter started out.

www.latitudes.org
www.pandasnetwork.org
www.webpediatrics.com

Does he have any tics, like sniffing or coughing, eye-blinking or finger flicking?

Any OCD behavior other than the fears- has to have things a certain way, sit in a certain spot, repeat a certain word or have you repeat a certain word or do things a certain way, or freak out with change in routine, etc?

Changes in bathroom behavior around the same time of onset- like wiping excessively or not wiping at all, bed or day wetting?

Any regression to babytalk?

History of strep OR unexplained tiredness or fevers, dark circles under eyes, enlarged pupils and "glazed over" look? Aches, especially in legs?

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or just want to chat.
A.

3 moms found this helpful

Hi D.-

My son is also 8 and has Aspergers so he has been seeing a psychologist for some of his anxiety issues. The psychologist did mention that at this age they become more aware of the mortality of themselves as well as their loved ones so a certain amount of increased fear is normal, however your description seems over the top to me. My son is afraid of any stinging bugs so whenever anything like flies or gnats go by I have to reassure him that it isn't a stinging bug but I usually can calm him and he will stay outside. Since your son's anxieties are having a negative effect on his activities and daily life I would suggest seeing a child psychiatrist/psychologist to see if there is any type of therapy that might help him.

Good luck,
K.

2 moms found this helpful

HI D.,

My daughter started this at age 6. She would even hide under the bed for no reason saying she was scared. Moths were the insects she would squeal at the most, lol. At age seven she was diagnosed with ADHD. I proceeded to try and work with her ADHD when my sister recommended detoxing my house.

Household chemicals are neurological stimuli/toxins and will mess with a little mind. When I detoxed my house, not only did the pediatrician remove her diagnosis at the next visit but I also notice her fears subsided. I remember when I was little there was one medicine that made me paranoid. Meds and household chemicals (bath and body, laundry stuff too) are all synthetic chemicals and can do all sorts of things to us and also contraindicate and make it even worse.

Detoxing can be simple and it can be inexpensive. This may not be your son's entire problem but I'm sure it would help. I know it wouldn't hurt. Let me know if you want more information. I'd be glad to help.

M.

2 moms found this helpful

Trust your gut. If he can't participate in life because of fear, it is a problem that requires treatment. I would not begin to give you a diagnosis, or tell you about my kid's diagnosis, because that would not help you today, but find out for sure what it is. From what you describe, I would start with a board certified Child psychiatrist, and go from there.

He is misserable; worry and anxiety are real and he can't fix it with out help.

As for the shoes, maybe he is not refusing, or maybe he is refusing for a reason. If you get his fear under control with treatment, and it was not just some fear of bugs, or something else that caused him to refuse to learn this skill, explore the issue more. Many kids with sensory processing issues know that they "can't" an so they are afraid to try, especially if they are afraid of everything else. Get the fear and anxiety under control first, and then see where he is.

Good luck,
M.

2 moms found this helpful

I have a friend, she works with children using EFT (some people cal it tapping). She gets remarkable results. She is awesome. I see you are in Jacksonville. She is in Orlando, but it will be worth it. She can help to release the blockages that he is dealing with.

let me know if you would like more info.

A.
###-###-####.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm with Mimi on eliminating household chemicals. I'm extremely sensitive and experience profound mood changes when exposed to a number of different things, plus my sleep is disrupted, which does not help with long-term emotional health. I do reasonably well when I keep the total load low. I've also been in group testing situations where I've seen children go from chatting or coloring to tearful misery or screaming rages in a matter of minutes when a new chemical was placed under their tongues.

Please don't get mad at the little guy. Fear isn't chosen, it isn't rational, and it will not yield to reason, arguments, or punishment. Additional stress is only likely to add to his emotional burden. He really needs professional help.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Well, it seems as though your son may be insecure and have a slight self-esteem issue which is hard to take I'm sure. As a parent, you must be concerned, frustrated and really worried because there are so many life lessons being over looked by his fear, beautiful experiences. You mention the rosary. Perhaps, you can "read" a story or make one up about a boy who was protected by all things evil, all dangers when using the rosary. If this is his security "blanket" milk it! Let him know that the presence of God is always with him and the power of protection lies within the rosary (or other object). Children relate to things tangible easily. Also, mention that God is in those creatures. There is a Genesis book for children (the story of the creation of the World) that may begin to lead him to see God in all His creation, nture and all it's beauty. I'm a bit surprised about the age but every child is different. Remember that punishment and reprimands may aggravate the situation. The key here is teaching him to get a hold of his feelings and control the fear, not be punished for something he has no control over. Find stories about valiant heroes, brave children who end up succesful in their pursuits and see if he may become inspired. Good luck and pray together and thank God for some of the things he is scared of to see how meaningful they can be in the scheme of life (bees for pollinating the flowers, fish for feeding the hungry, spiders for eating flies, bikes for providing transportation for those who cannot afford cars, etc.

As for activities go, I suggest dabbling in music, it's an outlet for him that may seem safe and is more of an intellectual and sensitive art than sports. (I admit, I am a music teacher) But this does help children with learning disabilities, self-esteem issues, shyness and emotional distance, imagine what it can do for you son......it may bring a sense of purpose or a sense of success that can trickle down to other aspects of his life.

Be patient, strong and supportive. Also, beware of what he is exposed to in the media. This may carry a bigger impact than anything else. If this situation continues and gets out of hand or you find yourself out of sorts, consult a therapist. There is no harm in this, even as support for you. You know what is best for your child.

It sounds like your child has had something set off fearful, hyper-protective thinking patterns... the pediatrician is not accurate in saying it's normal, it's something that the child needs to be able to communicate about and be guided in learning to change those thoughts and release the fears - therapy that uses cognitive-behavioral approaches and stress reduction methods could help him. Punishments won't likely do any good and he may need someone else to speak about the fears with him to help him release them.

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