Posted by: Anon | 2009/07/03

Very fearful son

Dear CS

My 8y old son is bright, happy child who does well at achool, is a great sportsman and a very social child with many friends. We are a typical nucleus family and he spends lots of time with both his parents. He is my oldest child. He has never had any traumatic experience.

He does however seem to have great fears - outside of what is usual for children his age. If the pertrol light goes on, he has a panic attack. If we drive up a steep hill, he becomes scared. If it rains hard he goes pale and clammy and becomes very scared. Today my husband took him and some friends to go ' fishing'  with their nets on the rocks. He asked to go. When they got there, he fell apart completely. He cried hysterically and wanted to come home - eventhough all the othe children were having fun. I asked him what he was scared of and he said he was scared the waves would get bigger and knock them over, and I said and then and he could not articulate his fear then.

I think it is just part of his makeup and said to him it is ok to be afraid. My husband is totally frustrated and thinks we should not tell him it is ok, as there was no threat and he was being irrasional.

What do you think, is it normal and what is the best way to deal with this. I dont want to make his fears worse by ' pandering'  to it but I also understanf though it looks silly to us,it is a real issue for him.

Thank you

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Our expert says:
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Ja makes an excellent point. It is far more dangerous for a child to UNDERestimate the risks of life ; but very uncomfortable for him m( and embarasing for his Dad ) for him to over-estimate them. A child psych could probably help him to get these risks in proportion ; to look for and appreciate safety factors and preautions, as well as risks. I wonder whether he shows signs in other contexts of blowing some issues out of proportion, to the extent that he feels helpless facing them, rather than more accurately assessing risks and resources and recognizing how to cope with both what is and what might be

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Our users say:
Posted by: Ja | 2009/07/04

If those fears could be channelled he has a great advantage. He has thoughts i try to teach my kids. Think about what can go wrong and take care.
It just seems that he magnifies them untill they are overwhelming.
Cant wait for the Doc' s response.

Reply to Ja

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