6 year old, worrys more then i do? - FamilyEducation
6 year old, worrys more then i do?
08/24/2010 at 15:20 PM

So I have a 6 year old step-son, i have raised him since he was a baby, he does not even know his bilogical father. Anyway, in the last year or so he has paid tons of attention to anything mom and I say, and being a child he does not always understand what we are saying or talking about, but this child is SUPER smart. Not like "oh my child is so smart" but smart as in he is 6 and has read his mothers twilight books... his is the most gifted child i have ever met. well anyway he is constatly worrying about us having money, or about my job or about food in the house ( though we have had some rough times he has always had food, so there is no reason for him to be worrying about that) So hes been crying and worrying about these things for awhile now, recently he has also started talking about death, and killing people and what heaven is like ect , ect ....and he is constatly attached to us, he will not go away for even 1 minute and if we try to get him to go play with his brother (7) or sister (3) he will go for a minute maybe then come back to us. and if we try to tell him and get him to go back he will cry and fall to the floor and hit himself as hard as he can, and throw the worse temper ever! Im at my witts end, I love him but we cannot be attached to him at the hip 24/7 , is it because he is just so smart that the other kids dont keep his attention so he wants to be with the adults? or what.....this is recent he used to play in his room all the time and never have any problems , so this is a change, not the way he has always been. Its like i go to work, i come home and there he is...he never leaves us, without the hugest fight in the world. I like to spend time with him and do things with him but i cant even get 20 minutes to myself! not to mention he is always trying to ask us about adult things and money and stuff i would talk to his mother about, not him. So should i be worried about this attachment and him being so worried about adult issues???? or the temper tanturms that he hurts himself in?? some help would be nice so i can decide if i need to do something.

What a difficult situation! It must be difficult to have a child so smart and relatively big go through behavior you would expect of a 2 year old. I haven't seen your child (it helps to know their personality) but I have a hunch this is the problem, since my daughter is a lot like him; very bright, but an unbelievable worrier: Your son may be very bright, but that doesn't mean he has the maturity or the life experience to go with it. The result is that he can read, hear, or imagine situations that could possibly happen but are unlikely to happen. And unfortunately, as bright as he is-he may even be genius level-the arguments that you will try and give him will never convince him (I'm sure you've tried) because these arguments don't respond to logic. He will always have a way to explain how whatever he worries about could possibly(but not probably)happen. The other thing is that even though he is probably very verbal and able to express himself with a vocabulary that could probably put a high school student to shame, he still lacks the ability to express how he feels. So he feels, anxious, and frustrated, and he is so overwhelmed by all of those feelings that it just explodes out of him. Banging his head is the only way to get it out. I think the separation thing is probably related to the fact that he has read something about death being final, and so he is afraid to let you out of his sight lest you up and die on him. He imagines that if he can keep you in sight at least he can keep an eye on you and make sure you don't die. Heavy, I know, but real. This is a child who needs to be taught a couple of things: 1)how to recognize and express his feelings of anxiety and fear. This is too long to explain in a post, but part of it involves helping him be aware of his body language, and then tying that to a particular feeling. So, if you see he looks scared, you would say, "I'm looking at you now and I see your muscles are all tight and your body is all curled up. Your eyes are really wide and open, and you're breathing faster than you usually do. All this is telling me you are really scared about something." etc. 2)possibility vs. probability 3)what to do with himself when he feels overwhelmed (listen to music, go for a walk,etc.) You can make up a list with him, and then role-play with him how to choose when to use a relaxation method. 4)You need to put limits on the 24/7 behavior, even though it will be hard for him. You will have to gently push him to be alone, at the same time making sure he has some coping mechanisms to get him through it. 5)All of these fears come down to control- he is scared of things happening that he has no control over, and doesn't think he can handle it if they do. I think little by little, when he is calm, you need to speak to him about it being impossible to control everything. He needs to internalize that not everything is in his control, and that is more than okay, that is good. He also needs to understand that nothing is random, and that whatever happens to him happens for a reason. Also he needs to really hear that while he has no control over what happens to him, he does have control over how he responds to it. You will have to explain to him that by worrying about things that are outside of his circle of influence (ie he can't control whether it happens or not), he takes away his influence in areas that he can control. So you can point out to him that he loses out on fun things to do, etc. when he is not in control of himself. Good luck, if you need more clarification just post back.

Control his access to media. Explain to him that sentences about him killing people are like swearing and "we will not put up with that." Help him express his anxieties, then help him understand about the likelihood of such a thing happening to him. For example, if he is worried about you getting killed in a car accident on the way home from work, talk about how many accidents you have seen on the way home from work in the last year, and how many of them have been fatal. Be honest. Then tell him what steps you take to avoid being in a fatal car accident. Let him know that you are aware of the risks that he is aware of, and that you are being careful. Then tell him, "OK, we've talked about that one. Now, you need to write it down on a check list, and check it off. You don't have to worry about that anymore. When you start to worry about it, we'll go for a run and burn off the adrenaline." Teach him some relaxation techniques, too.