Dear Dr. Kennedy
I have a 5 year old son that is soon to be 6. He is suffering greatly from separation anxiety when he goes to kindergarten. In the morning when he gets up, the morning starts out fine but when it comes close to leaving he will start to cry and vomit. Sometimes he will throw up all day at school off and on and by the time he comes home he is so tired and his head hurts so bad he just wants to go to bed. School is the only place this happens as he is not without someone from the family being with him any other time. He is fine at his afterschool program because his sister is there. (His sister goes to another school she is 12) He does fine at church when he goes with his grandma because he knows she is in the same building and his sister is there to. He will ask a lot of What if Questions. Like what if there is a fire who will get me? If you answer he will just another what if question off your answer. He also suffers from fits of anger and will pick up the closest thing to him and throw it before thinking. However after he does it he knows what he has done and that it’s wrong. Do you think I need to take him in to therapy? I have tried lots of positive reinforcements with him. He even has what we call a good day chart where he gets points if he goes to school with no throwing up and it seems to do well most of the time. Thanks for your time.
Yes, I would have him evaluated and therapy started. I would not want to feel the way that he must feel all day long. Can you volunteer at the school so he feels more safe? I would try to answer all of his fears about issues at the school just to make him feel safer and if there is a school counsler, maybe they would have some ideas. Can you observe the class? Can he take a family photo, a favorite item, or something that belongs to Mom or Dad with him to school? Do you pray with him before he goes to school? Last but not least, I hate to mention this but some teachers are not nice people and our children shouldn't be exposed to them.
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