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Advice needed about my 7 year old...

posted 1 decade 3 years ago
Hi, I am new to this web site but am at my wits end over my 7 year old son and would appreciate some advice.

My son has always been a very independant, happy child until a couple of months ago when he began to have issues being alone in the house. The problem started with him beginning to be afraid to sleep alone at night. He would cry and work himself up to the point where he was hysterical and would tell us he was scared of burglars breaking into the house. We tried the usual methods of reassuring him, sitting with him until he fell asleep and trying to support him in these new fears but none of them have worked. It got to the point where he was choosing to sleep on the floor in our bedroom in a sleeping bag rather than be in his room alone.

The problem then escalated to the point where he now follows us around the house as he is too scared to be alone. He will follow me up to the toilet, the shower, will sit for hours un-occupied and bored just so that he doesnt have to be in a room on his own. When we try and make him spend some time on his own there are usually tears and he will resort back to these worries about burglars and sometimes ghosts. It is getting increasingly frustrating and also I am convinced that at times he is simply saying these things just as an excuse to be following us round.

I am divorced so my son spends time at his dads house on a weekend and during the week. When he is at his dads he never voices these worries or issues, is happy to play outside on his own, in his bedroom and will go to sleep every night with no problems. This tells me that his worries go deeper than 'burglars and ghosts' as surely if this was the case he would be scared of them wherever he was.

He is also developing strange habits in other ways. He has a big obsession with the time at the moment, asking every few minutes what time it is, how long things take, how many hours/minutes/seconds there are in a day. It is becoming something that he fixates on and I am un-sure as to whether this is normal either.

My boyfriend moved into our home at the beginning of the year, something which my son was (and is) happy about. I am sure that many people will assume that these problems stem from this and yet I feel confident that this is not the case. The only problem we have in that area is that each time I give my boyfriend a hug or a kiss my son will have to jump in and have a hug or a kiss too. He is fixated on how many hugs or kisses my boyfriend has had per day and how many he, my son, has had per day. If I am busy, for example cooking the tea, and say that I cant drop everything to hug or kiss him, my son will cry and become very upset. This is my son who uptil a few months ago never used to cry and was always very 'grown up' in that respect.

I have tried to reason with him, explain things to him, comfort and reassure him and yet none of these things are working. It is absolutely exhausting with the constant need for attention and reassurance and is becoming a massive problem in our family. I am un-sure where to turn from here as no matter what I do he is not responding to our input.

I would appreciate any advice, similar experiences, etc. Thank you in advance!! xx

posted 1 decade 3 years ago
I think his emotional reaction doesn't have to mean he is unhappy about your boyfriend moving in, but it could still be related to that fact. Think about when a new baby comes into the family and how it can affect older siblings. They may totally love their baby brother or sister but still feel confused, jealous, unsettled or just desperate to find a new balance in the family and home. My oldest is 7 and as the oldest of three has always been grown up but sometimes she still has emotional outbursts and wants love and attention as all kids do. I haven't been in your situation but maybe a good balance of plenty of cuddles, but being firm about ROUTINES!

posted 1 decade 3 years ago
Hi, thank you for your reply. I do think that this has definately become more of an issue since my boyfriend moved in, although he has been through this stage previously. Just over a year ago at our old house, we had an attempted break in which left my son feeling very insecure. I felt he had gotten over this issue and so it came as a surprise when it started again recently.

I do have to say, I think that some of it is an act on his part. I do not believe he is as terrified as he makes out. Perhaps he remembers back to the time after the break in when he was scared and all of the comfort and reassurance he was given and has chosen to resort back to that behaviour in order to receive similar treatment??

Saying that, I have an amazing relationship with my son, we are constantly affectionate towards him, tell him how much we love him countless times a day, reassure him and comfort him and so in that way, there is very little more we can do - which is what I am finding so frustrating. It would be impossible to show him any more love and affection and comfort and so I am now wondering where we go from here!!

Either way, thank you for reading/replying, it definately helps just to write it all down!! XX

posted 1 decade 3 years ago
We actually has an attempted break in when I was about 9/10 years old and it really shook me up. I started suffering with night fears/sweats. Couldn't sleep, was absolutely terrified and constantly scared of the dark, being alone, any noises in the house etc. But with your son being a little younger when it happened I can't really imagine how much he would remember or would have taken on from the incident. I'm sure like many stages children go through it will pass eventually. I seem to have ups and downs with mine all the time.

posted 1 decade 3 years ago
Before sleep, use sleep rituals, story telling, shared games ... Your last sentence before you leave the nursery shall always be the same, reassuring and very personal (for example: "Sleep tight, I love you the most.") Determine the time of going to bed and stay consistent in its implementation. Order and discipline strengthen children's belief that there is the family hierarchy, which creates a sense of security.
Try to talk to. Ask your child what was tormenting him, whether he's good, what happens in the school, how he spent the afternoon at Grandma, does he have favorite friend, whether he might be playing with you something of his choice. Show him that you have the time for him and that he can rely on you.
Try to relax a family atmosphere, more play, less cry, the less argue with the family ... Remind your child that you love him, show him how by non-verbal way, hugs and kisses, and open, direct statements.

posted 1 decade 3 years ago
There is obviously a deep-seated paternal issue here. He longs for the security and confidence that having a father entails, but at the same time, he feels the need to compete with the new man of the house (whom he knows is not his father). You son, will need constant and clear communication from you and probably needs to spend some quality alone time with your boyfriend too. Oh, and constantly assure him of your love!

posted 1 decade 3 years ago
Thanks for the replies. It all makes a lot of sense what you have all said.

My son has an amazing relationship with his own father and spends time with him each week. He also has an amazing relationship with my new partner although I do agree, he needs to spend more quality time together just the two of them as he seems to thrive on that. He often asks me can I not go out so he and my partner can be alone!!!!

I will continue to reassure him of my love, something which I tell him repeatedly every day. Hopefully the situation will improve. Thanks.

posted 1 decade 2 years ago
I think his is a teasing kind of behavior, a kind of insecurity he might be feeling due to your boyfriend. Also, would suggest you to give more attention to him when your boyfriend is around so that his insecurity reduces. Its also important your boyfriend speak to your son, play with him, take him out. As a kid he is expecting same kind of love and affection as he gets from his dad.

posted 1 decade 2 years ago
I've also experienced that to my niece. We're live together in one house with her mom (my sister). Sometimes she was afraid when the sounds she heard outside her room usually in the windows when she was lying in her bed.. She can't sleep because she was afraid of burglar because she saw one time a man outside our house. She thought that man will go in inside the house. Is this normal for a kid? Any parenting advice or parenting tips would gladly appreciated. Thank you!

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