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7 yr old boy with Separation Anxiety

I was what some people would have considered an over pertective parent. I figured my behavior with my son was because of being a first time Mom. I now know that I was suffering from an anxiety disorder. My 7 yr old son was my first born. It was only after the birth of our daughter, when my son was 3, that I realized I wasn't myself. I have now been on medication for over 2 years and it has helped me tremendously.  My husband feels HE had anxiety issues growing up and still does as an adult. My husband has never been treated for it.  Up until today I kept assuming I caused my son to have separation anxiety due to the way I treated him as baby/toddler. After reading some of the postings I'm guessing my son may have a biologically-based anxiety disorder. He cried for the first month & last month of 1st grade. He cried all previous years of schooling as well. I was always the only Mom trying to lovingly push my son into the classroom trying not to cry myself. During preschool I figured it was "somewhat" normal but he's going into 2nd grade. He never like loud noises or bright lights as a baby/toddler. He would always cling to me during park district classes and not participate unless I was doing it with him. Here are a few things that have happened over the past couple weeks. He was invited to a vaca. bible school outing at his freind's church. He was all excited to go but then balled and begged me to take him home once we got there. We had to leave his friend (his mother knew)and go home. He goes to tutoring 2 days a week. He's been going since the begining of the summer. He's been doing fine but the last two times he cried. I managed to get him in only to have him bolt outside 30 mins. later with the teacher chasing after him. Luckily I was parked just outside the door.
We tried a sleepover at his favorite Grandma's house. We thought if he saw that his little sister was okay with it he may be okay ONLY to receive a phone call at midnight that he wanted to come home. Grandma said she tried everything and that he was shaking he was so upset. In closing I just want to know what I can do to help him on a daily basis. I am seeking counseling for him. I really rather not medicate him but being that my husband and I both have an anxiety disorders does that mean it's probably the route they'll take with him? My son is a happy boy with many friends and many interests. He plays sports. He love's guitars. He has one and plays it a lot. I keep telling him we should get him lessons but I get that old familiar "No, I can't do it. I'm scared." look. I want him to blossom with all his potentials. Please help.
9 Responses
242606 tn?1243786248
A child whose parents display anxiety disorder is no doubt in the at-risk category to display such a condition as well. However, your son is only seven, and the form of separation anxiety he manifests does not warrant treratment with medication at this point. Rather, continue to encourage him to participate in age-typical pusuits and keep him 'in the mix', so to speak. You don't have to get to the point of forcing him but, at the same time, don't defer to his reticence each time it occurs and never at the first sign of hesitation. At times, such as at school, it's best to let him be - simply say good-bye, leave him in the capable hands of the teachers, and be on your way. If you stay around, he will not be able to settle in as readily as he will when you leave.
Avatar universal
Hi. I know exactly what you are going through.  My daughter is 8 and suffers from the same anxiety.  I spent the night with her at my mother in laws this past Saturday just so she could see what it was like.  I tried to get her to stay over the next night , but had no luck.  It's so hard to know when to push them and when to back off.  I'm already dreading the first day of school.  When buying her school supplies she started to fret and cry. When she cries at school she gets very embarrassed and self conscious and this makes being there much worse.  My daughter also has many friends, but refuses to attend birthday parties and playdates.  I, too have anxiety and unfortunately my daughter has inherited this gene from me.  My husband (anxiety free) has a much more calm and positive approach to her anxiety.  My husband feels as if she will grow out of it in time and that my obsession with making her better is only making things worse. I think we try so hard beacause we don't want our kids to go through the same things we've been through.  Well, I wish I had some great advice for you, but as of yet I don't.  I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and that someone else is going through the same thing.  So, good luck with school and God bless.
Avatar universal
I have a 6 year old daughter who has these issues I can't even leave the room we are in together or she freaks out screaming through the house wondering where I went. I tell her if I'm taking a bag of garbage outside,going to the laundy room, or even going to the bathroom. She is afraid I wont be there to get her from school and is crying when school lets out and she does not see me as soon as the door opens. I didn't think there were other kids out there that were like this!! She doesn't have any kids in the neighborhood to play with and wont go away from home for a play date. I hope she outgrows this. I was going to tell the Dr on her next visit about this behavior and see what he thinks. I'll keep you posted. Any help from others would be greatly appreciated.
Avatar universal
Unfortunately, I am in the same boat as all of you here.  Today was my son's  first day back to school in the 2nd grade and he cried, he kept following me out of the classroom, they eventually brought in an aide to sit down with him.  He has been doing this since pre-k and not only just the first few days of school the crys and fits will last up until the last days of school. He does have his good days though. I was hoping it a phase but today I realised there is more to it. I was like this too as a child, also my dad and an aunt.  So there is a genetic factor.  My son won't even use the school restrooms (we make sure he uses the bathroom before school.) He won't participate in sports even knowing that he would enjoy the activity. He gets nose bleeds all the time occuring only when in school or anxious situations. He won't play with boys his own age, only girls, he says boys intimidate him and they are rough.  As soon as I left that school today I called his doctor for an appointment to hopefully get a referral to someone who can treat this disorder.  This is so frustrating for him and me.  I will keep you all updated and I hope you do the same as well.  Good luck to everyone.

Avatar universal
Fortunately, my son is on the other side of this problem now.  He had the same anxiety problems that each of the posters have talked about. I myself have major anxiety and have a long family background  of anxiety behavior.  After my son turned 9, I finely had enough with it.  I took him to a child psychologist and he put him on a low dose of Prozac.  It took about 2 1/2 weeks and my son was a different child.  He is now 15, has lots of friends, talks to anyone (even people he doesn't know), is well adjusted and happy.  It was so hard at first.  I didn't even tell anyone that we had put him on medication.  Suddenly friends and family were making comments and how much happier he seemed and that he had finally "outgrown" his shyness.  He didn't outgrow it.  He is still on medication for anxiety.  He will probably be on it all his life, but he is happy, healthy, and able to face the world now.
Avatar universal
I COMPLETELY disagree with the pat advice to not give in to your child until they are over this behavior.  From K - 8th grade, I suffered TERRIBLY from separation anxiety from my mother- they divorced when I was 3. I was ok at sleepovers or at my friends, but school was another story.  I would cry for hours on end and have the most horrible panic attacks.  Way back then, the only advice any of the counselrs had was that my mother shouldn't give in and I should get over it. At age 7, I remember telling my Mom I just wanted to go to sleep and never wake up.  Death seemed better than suffering this terror on a daily basis.

At age 12, I had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized.  What a welcome relief to not have to go to school every day.  For whatever reason, the hospital felt safe to me and free from anxiety.  Because of this breakdown, my mother began looking at other school options.  She found an alternative school, which I believed saved my life.  It was a wonderful, caring, accepting place where I felt I fit in.  No more crying (except on the last day before summer break - I was going to miss it!) and no more panic attacks.  

I now have a 6 year old child who is exhibiting the same preference for solitude and panic about school.  There is no way in hell I will let him suffer the same torture that I did.  Some kids simply can't "get over it".
Avatar universal
My 14 yr old daughter had a nervous breakdown: including Anxiety, Depression, and Obsessive Compulsive thinking.
She has been an inpatient 3 times...while the doctors argue
over which meds to give her etc.  I feel like selling my home, and moving to a cool mountain top...no meds...just fresh air and sunshine.  She was a top student, self motivated, shy ...but generally well liked.  Now I can barely deal with her problems...the medical bills I cannot pay, the egotistical doctors...and all I want to see her do is pass the 9th grade...one day at a time.  I am beginning to lose my grip, and get resentful...I am a single mom...and have a younger son who is 7...and we cannot even spend an afternoon doing anything...because my daughter wants to feel bad all of the time.  I love her...but I feel that I need the school district to help place her in a residential setting where things are a little more plain...I cannot even sleep with her in the house.  Every noise in the night might be her trying to find a way to hurt herself...and she cannot live at the mental health clinic.
I have nearly been fired from a good job that I have had for 10 years.  My rep is in the trash...all because I am trying to hang in there for my kid...and then people you think would offer support...use this as an opportunity to kick you when you are already in a spot.
Avatar universal
I need help.  I don't know what do do anymore with my child. I love him very much and i feel he has anxiety seperation.  Every morning I leave him in the bus for school and he is always crying. He sits alone.  He doesn't talk to his friend anymore.  He says his friend doesn't want to be his friend anymore.  His teacher contacted me telling me he has been crying for the past week in class.  He hardly  sleeps at night and wakes up exhausted and crying begging me to leave him home.  I spoke to his pediatrician since his kindergarten teacher felt he doesn't focus and now his second grade teacher told me the same thing. She told me that its like he is in another world.  But the pediatrician feels he is fine and that nowadays teachers just send children to phychiatrist for anything. But I personally feel he needs help.  Now that I am going to start a new job after 3 years he begs me not to send him to an afterschool program.  That the kids are mean to him.  I don't know I am stressed out on thinking that if I start working he will have panic attacks. My son tells me all the time that he is afraid of something bad happening to me that if he comes home from the bus and I am not there he won't know what to do.  I try hard to reassure him that everything will be okay. That he will be fine.  He is also afraid of dying.  I dont know if maybe since I lived in NYC and he saw when the twin towers fell in TV if that affected him. He has been so scared of everything lately. I bought him an over the counter herbal remedy called "focus" to see if it calms him down and it did but when I noticed he was too calm I stopped.  Now I started again because he has been just too emotional lately. Missing his family in NYC and tells me he has no friends here in Arizona. Help me please!!

Avatar universal
A related discussion, My 7yr old crys everyday for no reason was started.
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