Separation Anxiety in my Almost 6 Year Old - FamilyEducation
Separation Anxiety in my Almost 6 Year Old
06/27/2007 at 16:24 PM

I need help...

My almost 6 year old has been completely fine attending school and being away from me for 3 years now.  He has always ran right into any situation with no hesitation.  He's a very social and outgoing boy.  About a month ago, he got sent to the school nurse two days in a row from a "sore throat".  His "sore throat" turned out to be a feeling of nauseousness.  He also recently started feeling car sick more, and feeling sick on the swings.  Motion sickness was okay with me - I understood that.  But now he gets his throat feeling ALL the time, regardless of what he's doing.  The problem now is that he refuses to leave me for anything - school, camps, staying with Dad, Grandma or anyone else (who he's always been totally fine with).  He won't even want to do fun things without me.  Before all this he was a very outgoing social boy, and is still is, AL LONG AS I'M WITH HIM.  His doctor gave him Prevacid 2 weeks ago to take care of any Acid-Reflux going on.  Nothing has changed.  I took him to the doctor again today and the Dr. said he thinks it may be more psychological.  I've asked my son if anything "bad" has happened, if anyone has hurt him in any way, if he's seen any scary movies, if he's afraid something will happen to him if we're not together, or if he's afraid if something will happen to me.  It always comes back to his being afraid his throat will hurt.  I've asked why he needs me with him when it happens (we've worked on his breathing slowly out of his mouth, getting air, looking far away when he gets the feeling).  All I do when I'm with him and he gets the feeling is tell him to the above things.  I'm at a loss.  I don't work, and since we're on summer vacation, I can stay with him every minute of the day, but I want to get to the bottom of this.  He eats fine, sleeps well, bathroom needs are normal, and nothing has changed in our home or family dynamics.  Is this just a phase, or do I need to send him to a counselor, like my Dr. recommended?  Any insight is appreciated.  Thank you.

Hey Caringmom,


Welcome to the boards.  I would take him to a counselor because it happened so suddenly and he had always done fine before.  I think that perhaps a counselor will be able to get to the bottom of what is scaring him that maybe he just doesn't have the words to describe to you.


Please, keep us posted.




Hello Caring Mom, I am wondering what the outcome of your son's illness was. I am dealing with the exact symptoms with my 6 year old daughter. She gets car sick, always feels nauseous, and will not do any of the activities she used to enjoy. She is very clingy now and is afraid to go anywhere because she feels she will get sick. I am taking her to the doc today and will start her on antacids. Thanks for your response! -Mel

If this is a physical problem (rule that out first), I'd go to an ENT dr. However, if this is psychological, I'd seek a counceling. When my brother was younger, he used to complain about upset stomachs and headaches often, especially before going to school. He was very clingy w/ my mom. We found out yrs later, it was a psychological problem. He was getting very anxious, especially in new situations. Take him to the drs. and have these things looked into. Please let us know how you make out.

My daughter had these some symptoms as a 7 y/o. She was treated for many things until a GI nurse practioner suggested we take my daughter to see a child psychologist who figured out she has a form of Social Anxiety Disorder. We chose to wait until she was 18 to begin meds. Please make sure your doctor rules out all possibilities.

My son had so many language problems and an emotionally abusive situation with my husband that he was too anxious to leave my side for many years. I got counseling for him (and all of us), my son has been diagnosed and is medicated appropriately, my husband is now dead (suicide), and I worked like heck to get the school staff on board with an appropriate IEP. He is now, finally, able to "be okay" in social situations. I try to prep him. I took him through the "baby steps" of longer time periods. I discuss social stuff- interaction meanings and strategies- with him constantly so that he understands social interactions better. I used the book "Teaching Your Child the Language of Social Success." It is not usually stocked in bookstores, but can be ordered. With counseling leading your list, you can probably work this out with him. I wouldn't talk so much about his problem by asking questions, but work through reading appropriate books or watching appropriate movies with him...playing...what does he build with his LEGO's? Stuff like that. Just listen while he isn't thinking so hard about what YOU want to hear. My son was younger that yours and he is now almost 14. It may take an awful lot of work. And never doubt that the kids at school can be as cruel as anyone to another kid who takes it personally.

The problem may have been something another child has said/done or even the teacher. Your child may have heard or saw something upsetting and the only way he can express the problem is through his art. When he draws a picture talk to him about it. Ask open-ended questions. When he hands you a picture ask him to "tell me about your drawing?" this telling about the drawings he shows you might open up the flood-gates and let you know what's on his mind. It sounds to me like he just needs to remind himself you're still there, will always be there and no matter what he is safe! A councilor would be a good idea if that's what your gut is telling you. reassure him you love him and you'll always be there for him. hope it all gets better.