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7 year old son with Separation Anxiety
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7 year old son with Separation Anxiety

I am desperate for help/advice.  My 7 year old son has always had issues with separation and we had hoped that by now he would outgrow it, but it has reached the point where I fear it may not.  He will not go to any friend's home for a playdate (with one exception), he will not participate in little league etc. even though he is an excellent athelete, and he even follows me around our home (only 2000 sq ft) and gets extremely stressed out if he cannot find me.  Last summer I put him in a three hour a day basketball camp where I ended up having to stay with him because he was in tears that I would not pick him up.  This summer I put him in a summer school program for a few hours, and after only three days he was making himself sick in the morning out of fear that I would not pick him. I guess I had hoped that by making him do these things he would realize that he could in fact handle it.  He did very well in 1st grade last year and with the exception of going to friends' homes, we felt that he was improving.    He has NEVER been left anywhere so to us the fear seems so unfounded.  Last summer we saw a counselor who told us that much of his issue was with control...that he became fearful whenever he had no control over a situation.  I can see where this is true, however, it just seems like all of the fun of childhood is passing him by because he is so scared.  Of course, being that he is a boy both my family and my in-laws have become very judgemental and probably have even fueled the problem with their disapproval and intolerance of his fears.  Do I continue to try to let him work this out in his own time or do I seek some psychological help.  I am truly at my wits end both from worry and the stress I feel from having a 7 year old that barely wants to leave my side.
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From a behavior management point of view, you would be prudent to continue to introduce him to age typical activities and pursuits, and to insist that he see them through. In other words, do not take him out of activities simple because he's upset. You won't be hurting him by doing this. In addition, it would be wise to seek an evaluation, if for no other reason that to availa yourself of a consultant as you move along. Most children who display this particular type of anxiety disorder have never undergone any particular trauma that explains the behavior. It is a biologically-based emotional disorder and it is quite likely that there is some family history of anxiety disorder.
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I know exactly what you are going through.  My 8 year old daughter won't even spend the night at her grandparents house.  She has many friends at school, but refuses to go to their birthday parties or playdates.  I'm afraid that her friends will slowly start leaving her out of their plans.  It just makes me sick seeing her miss out on so much. It's so hard to know how hard to push them. Well, I don't have a miracle cure or any fantastic advise (I'm still working on it), but I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone.  Sometimes I feel like I'm the only mom that has this disorder to deal with.  Most of the kids on our block are so daring and outgoing and here is my little darling making herself sick because she doesn't want her friends to ask her to spend the night.  Well, I hope you get throught this.  Good luck and God bless!!
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Avatar_n_tn
When my daughter was 6, she went thru almost the same thing. I would get a call from school that she was throwing up and needed to come home. I finally took her to the pediatrician who diagnosed school phobia and separation anxiety. He recommended a therapist and we began working with her along with a school counselor. The most important thing was to not pick her up from school(unless she was truly ill with a fever), it came up in counseling that she was afraid no one would be home when she got home from school. She was afraid her dad was going to leave. My husband and I did eventually separate for over a year, and she was like a sponge, picking up all that negative energy. I am happy to say that she is now 14 and a happy, "normal" young lady with loads of friends and extremely smart in school. our therapist worked wonders for her. She got out of my daughter everything she wouldn't or couldn't say to us. Good luck with your son.
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Avatar_n_tn
hi , i also have a 7yr old son who is one of twins , who has problems with leaving me, it is hard to understand as he goes to school fine , and is happy and content there, although he did have major problems to start with at pre-school.
My problem is in the home where he is always calling out for me , when i'm not in eye view, needing to know i am always there , also at night when i put him to bed he is always talking to me down the stairs while he should be trying to sleep and this goes on until he falls asleep, calling i love you etc and looking for things to discuss.
I also can not go out at all during the day or evening with out him , as panic sets in , and i can see the fright on his face even if i say im just going to the car to get something,it has become very fustrating for us both, another issue is parties he will not go unless i stay , and i do stay because i don't want him or his sister to miss out on the fun!  my life revolves around my sons anxieties and i am starting to feel very resentful about this , as i feel we are stuck in a rut so to speak. The only thing i can put his anxieties down to is that when he was about 18months old i had to leave him over night in hospital with a bad chest , while i had to go home to put my  other 3 siblings to bed  , and could not return until following morning as i am single parent and have no family support, i really could do with some advice on this matter as i'm starting to feel alone with it all, and don't know where to turn, apart from my son's anxieties he is a happy healthy cheeky rascal, and i feel it is all holding him back so much in life
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