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Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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what a seven year old to be scared at night

Customer Question

what a seven year old to be scared at night
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 10 months ago.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to know about your child's fear at night. Coudl you please tell me more about it?

Customer:

It happened suddenly he does not want to sleep in his bed alone even though his bed is in our room,all he says I am scared of skeletons,and he won't put his head on the pillow

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see! Then it just happened, and you have no idea what caused it, right?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Does he look like feeling truly scared, and specifically of skeletons?

Customer:

he says he saw something scary in a book he brought from school,he is a first grader,and I didn't want to cause any trouble for asking about the book at school

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

There you have it!

Customer:

honestly yes last night he stayed up until 2am until I allowed to sleep next to us

Customer:

so how can we stop that

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

It makes perfect sense and most times it just happens like that. People could think reading a book of watching a picture is no enough to create this reaction, but for a child it could be overwhelming, even traumatic depending on his sensitivity, levels of anxiety, and the context leading to this specific fear.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

One last question, why does your son, while being 7 year old still still in your room?

Customer:

my room has like a study area that is where he sleeps,not enough space in the house,and he has sisters so can't put him with them

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then I believe he is not just acting out but truly terrified by the way he perceived the content from the book. It is very common for children to scare each other telling stories around death, ghosts, spirits , skeletons and more, and that could lead to high level of anxiety experienced by more sensitive children.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see.that makes sense. Thanks.

Customer:

so how can I help

Customer:

I don't want to let him sleep next to us,and I can't hear him crying telling me he is scared

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

First you need to get the book he read, talk to his teachers about what happened, if possible know from classmates what happened. Allow him to talk as much as possible about this incident, to vent and feel heard and supported. From there you would work on promoting a better understanding on those situations and beliefs that happen to be distorted, fueling this excessive fear....

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Could you tell me more about that, you say you"can't hear him crying telling you he is scared", how does it affect you?

Customer:

unfortunately he does not read well yet,he just started first grade and he will be seven in two months.

Customer:

I am a mother,I tried t

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I just stated that a core step to support him in this situation is to allow him to emotionally express what he experience, to verbally vent, otherwise he would not feel better but more overwhelmed.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then it should have been an image he saw, or something he was told or heard about it that caused-triggered this excessive fear.

Customer:

I tried to act tough,told him skeletons can't hurt anyone,they are just bones,and tried giving him a hug and put him down,by the time I am in my bed,he starts saying I can't sleep I keep thinking about the skeltons.

Customer:

I will get the book back and talk to him,is that all I can do?? should I allow him to sleep with us or be firm

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Has your son presented any excessive fears in the past, nervousness, lack of self-control or any other similar problem int he past; and how harmonious is the family climate? Any present big stressors or problems, changes?

Customer:

none at all,he is a happy child overall,one boy four sisters,he is the baby,oldest sister 22 and youngest 16,so that big difference in age gave him extra attention,and he usually is very happy,and respectful,all his teachers love him,a wonderful student not a complain from anyone.

Customer:

he goes upstairs in the dark sometimes without turning any lights on

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I think you should be unconditionally compassionate, understanding while promoting his understanding and resilience, and for that you need to also set boundaries and limit. One strategy could be about you allowing him to spend a limit period of time with you, then going back to his bed. I would say that you would create a new tale about skeletons where you could empathiclly each him about positive things, including fear and the way to cope with it. Then you would make a deal with him. He would have 5-7 days to spend some time with you. 1rst night he could sleep there for several hours, t=and gradually less, the following ones. Until the last 5 or 7 day when he should be sleeping at his bed, with your company for a couple of minutes, supporting him.

Customer:

thanks I will try that ,I just wanted to make sure that it is normal for this sudden fear at his age,I remember once I read an article about the stages they go through,and I honestly forget when but

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then try this for a week, besides of using the book, and if after it he continues to show the same of more intense fear, then please look for a child psychotherapist to work with him on it, ideally using play therapy.Once your child is this healthy and confident, a couple of sessions would be enough to let him grow from it.

Customer:

at a specific age they start worrying about everything,and I thought maybe this is the age,thanks again,have a great day.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Yes, this is very common and does not mean there is anything wrong with your son, but needs to be effectively addressed for it not to become a bigger problem. Anxiety is at the core, and he needs to learn to cope well with it, and that's why these experiences could become very helpful, even necessary at multiple levels as long as wisely approached.

Customer:

thanks again

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

At any time situations like this could happen, specially at school, that's why they need to learn and grow from them, as part of their healthy development. You're welcome. Thank you for your trust.Please feel free to contact me to follow up.

Rafael M.T.Therapist, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
Rafael M.T.Therapist and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you

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