My son, who just turned 6, complains of frequent nightmares, is scared to go downstairs to his room on his own and also is irritable/easily angered at home. I've also noticed that he is very picky when it comes to cleanliness especially in relation to food. So he is having those issues along with daily conflict with his 4 year old sister. What can I do to help him? He seems to be doing just fine in Kindergarten and has several activities during the week where he gets along well but his father and I are not making any progress with his behavior at home. When I've asked about the nightmares and why he's scared to go to his room alone he says he's afaid of bad guys or being eaten by a bear.
Just a brief additional note: The reason for the evaluation is to figure out if the anxiety your son is displaying is outside what would be considered normal for his age. In other words, a certain amount of anxiety or fearfulness (such as concern about going to his room alone) is typical of the age and not really a matter of concern. It is a very positive sign that he is doing well in school. This would tend to support the notion that, even if he is experiencing a degree of anxiety beyond what you would expect at his age, it is not a serious matter. Finally, remember that many children of this age are finicky eaters, and you don't really have to dwell on it as long as he is healthy and developing well. Is that what his pediatrician indicates?
He is likely not esperiencing nightmares - if he truly is having nightmares, you would know it because of his frightened, upset response. In other words, it would not be what he teels you that would give you the knowledge. Many children who wake up at night and are frightened say that they are having nightmares. What is really the matter is that they are scared. They are waking fully and are fearful. This sounds for the most part like prety normal behavior, but there is an element of anxiety that is a bit outside the norm for his age. It would be wise to arrange an evaluation to check this out.
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