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Why is my 5 year old crying over garbage?

My son is 5 years old. Recently he seems to be overly attached to items being thrown away. It can be left over food from a meal, or a food wrapper. He is inconsolable. He will cry for about 45 minutes over anything he sees thrown away. We've asked him why he's crying over garbage, and he says he doesn't know why. Yesterday he started saying that his brain needs help. Being as it's now Sunday, I can't get any help for him. Does anyone have any idea what is happening to him?
Here's some additional information:
He has separation anxiety, it was so bad until he was 4. He was even afraid of other children. He's been in a special preschool to help him to get over the fear of his peers. He still won't talk to, or acknowledge an adult (outside of family or teachers) talking to him. He will hide himself behind me or his dad.
There are no domestic problems. My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years. We have always lived together. 5 year old knows of only this house since he can remember
2 Responses
Avatar universal
I suspect your son suffers from severe anxiety - perhaps he also is selectively mute.  I might suggest you read the information on the site "selectivemutism.org", starting with the FAQ's.  If anxiety is the issue (and frankly, I believe it is), nothing in your life or your son's life caused this issue - anxiety is a genetic trait which he inherited at conception.  However, with proper treatment and early diagnosis, the prognosis for anxiety is excellent.  If anxiety is the issue, I assure you that your son will not outgrow it nor will it go away but he can learn how to "manage his fears/anxieties" and lead a very normal life.

I might suggest that you contact your son's doctor/pediatrician and ask for advice re this issue - if he/she is unable to help you, then ask for a referral to a medical specialist with experience in anxiety disorders.  By the way, hoarding (and I expect that is what is occurring when you throw away your son's items) is one of the signs of OCD - also an anxiety disorder.  You might wish to also check out other anxiety sites on the internet as the "Child Anxiety Network".  Googling phrases as "anxiety and children" or "anxiety disorders in children" or similar words/phrases should give more information.  Please contact your son's doctor tomorrow - your son is correct - "his brain needs help".  If you feel that we can offer additional help, please do not hesitate to write.  I wish you the best .....
Avatar universal
Thank you for your comment. My husband/son's dad has a degree in psychology and he believes that you are correct about the OCD. I looked up OCD/Anxiety in one of his textbooks, and I agree with you both. My husband will be getting in touch with the doctors tomorrow for sure. We just discovered this evening that he's been hiding bits and pieces of garbage/trash in one of his dresser drawers. I saw him pick up a piece of torn paper off the floor and take it to his room. I took a picture of his drawer (promising not to take anything) for the doctors to see. It's amazing to me how I've two sons and both have issues (my oldest has Asperger's). What is wonderful is that we love them both so much. Thanks again.
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