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Carol Kryder LMFT
Carol Kryder LMFT, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 808
Experience:  APA Board Certified, Diplomate,Substance Abuse Professional, 20 years family therapy experience
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I need a pediatric psychiatrist!!! My son is 3 and a half years

Customer Question

I need a pediatric psychiatrist!!! My son is 3 and a half years old. He is usually more sensitive than other children of his age. But yesterday night, he apparently saw a nightmare. He was terribly shaking all night long, refusing to get out under the blanket. He was crying because "It is too dangerous and robots were going to hurt us." Today, all day long, it's very difficult to distract him. he is obsessed with his idea of shooting robots. He is hallucinating. He claims he sees robots; he actually follows unseen objects with his eyes. He is agitated and tries to shoot robots with his toy gun. He also says there is a gun in his eyes so he tries to shoot robots by staring in the space and blinking. His reaction seems too much for just a scared child who saw a nightmare. What should I do?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Carol Kryder LMFT replied 8 years ago.
Hello and Welcome to <

Your son's behavior is certainly disconcerting and alarming, and I recommend you take him to his pediatrician if it continues. In the meantime, I suggest you try the following:

1/ Do not allow him to see any TV or movies depicting violence, and especially not robots. At bedtime, dim the lights in his room and read him a quiet story about animals or people, feelings, etc. Nothing about adventure or certainly not robots.

2/ Sometimes it helps to give him a "special" flashlight which will destroy any monstor or robot that it shines upon. Let him sleep with this at night. I have also seen colored or fragranced water in a spray bottle work for eliminating monstors.

3/ While his symptoms are alarming, it is most likely that you have a very bright child with an excellent imagination, and he has been overstimulated. At this age children have difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality and his imagination may have overtaken his thought processes. He may not necessarily be halllucinating, but he needs to see his doctor just to make sure.

The important thing for right now is to allow him to deal with the robots in his own way and assist him. Walk with him into his room and ask him where the robots are and help him destroy them until they are all gone. You want him to have some sense of control over his environment so he won't be so afraid.

Also, your fear will feed his fear. You must model calmness and a sense of being in control as if you squirt monsters with water bottles every day. This will calm him down. I can assure you that it is extremely rare for a 3 year old to have hallucinations It would be wise to eliminate any stimulating material from his environment, and get the medical evaluation as soon as possible.

Please let me know if you have further questions. I am sure we can work this out. Please know that I wish you well and I am here to help you further. We will get through this together.
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Is there any simple way/method so that I can distinguish if it's hallucination or just overstimulated child's mind, before taking him to a psychiatrist?
Expert:  Carol Kryder LMFT replied 8 years ago.
Yes. If you try the interventions I have suggested and most important, if you model calmness for him he should calm down within a few days. If the robot visions and agitation continue after one week, I would have the doctor check him out. Please don't worry. This is most likely the imagination of a bright and creative little boy. Be sure he gets plenty of opportunity to be creative. You may suggest to him that he draw pictures of the robots and pictures of himself liquidating the robots.