Hello, thank you, in advance, for taking the time to read this.
I am very concerned about my 5-year old boy. He began Kindergarten several weeks ago, and has demonstrated what I’d characterize as ‘intense dread’, prior to going to school, where he cries and nearly vomits. Further, he cried a number of times during school, and when being dropped off.
His anxiety appears to be related to the number of kids that he’s around, and doesn’t know. I’ve gently prompted him to help me understand the nature of his fear, and I think that it has to do with “too many kids”, etc.
He is making progress, slowly, and has created new friendships and is now doing better. He’s funny and playful, most of the time.
But here’s the thing:
In the last several months, we have had both him and his sister (7-years old) in (gentle, easy) Martial Arts classes, twice per week. He often develops severe anxiety prior to, and during these classes. On two occasions, I’ve had to simply drive him home before class even started. The kids have never had to spar, fight or challenge anyone in these classes, by the way.
It’s hard to describe his anxiety: it looks like flight-or-fight, where all he can think of is running out the door as fast as possible. On one occasion, he did just that. Occasionally, he enjoys the class, and participates enthusiastically, though.
I am struggling with this. On one hand, I’m being told that this is normal behavior. On the other hand, I can’t stand to see my boy in distress. He seems really afraid, scared. Maybe this is some kind of separation anxiety; maybe it’s severe shyness (both he and his sister are shy, at first).
His mother and I have divorced; it’s been one year since I moved out. I'm thinking that it's possible that the divorce is affecting the kids, and that it's showing up now, in this context.
Anyway, I don't know what to do, or how to do it. My gut reaction is to get them in front of a counselor or child psychologist, but I don't want to over-react. I am receptive to any input on this important issue.
PS: one other thing: I have an anxiety disorder, apparently inherited from a family member, who also has the same disorder: Panic, Anxiety, etc. I'm wondering whether my son is having panic/anxiety issues? Or is that too early?