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Fears and Obsessions

487 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  amis2girls
My ds is just over 3.5. He has been afraid of dogs since he was about 6 months old. He was afraid of the dark for a while but that passed pretty quickly. Now he is terrified of bugs. This is tough because we live in the woods and it's spring! Not so much the huge brown spiders (eek) but anything that flies near him. I am trying to be supportive but this is the nicest week of weather we've had so far and he refuses to go outside. I really need to get outside, sunshine and exercise are huge stressbusters for me. How can I help him with this?

Also he is having a very hard time with transitions again. Leaving somewhere usually causes a tantrum, no matter how I approach it. 10 and 5 minute warnings used to work but not anymore.

He is also acting a bit obsessive as well. Yesterday we colored in a huge coloring book for about 40 minutes. He was really into it and had a great time. I warned him that we had to clear off the table for dinner in 5 minutes. He became hysterical and insisted that he had to color/finish EVERY page before he could put it away. I told him he could do 3 more pages but nothing helped. I had to take the book and put it away myself. He was so upset about it. This is only one example of this type of behavior, I could go on.
He also (I guess the correct term is perseverate?) on things. for instance, in the car he will ask "what street are we on now"? Or "what does the sign on that van say?" Over and over again, the entire time we are in the car. Then he acts like he doesn't believe me or isn't satisfied with my answer, so he keeps asking, getting angrier and angrier. I try to change the subject or ask him to clarify, but he just gets more upset.
I try to be patient with him but I find myself mentally exhausted from the constant barrage of questions/demands.

Do you think this is in the range of normal?
He is a bright sensitive child, very smart, but life just seems so difficult for him on a daily basis.
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About the fears - I was a kid with a lot of fears, so I can relate. I can say from personal experience that you want to take it slow and easy and never reprimand him for his fears. I know you didn't say that you did, but just wanted to throw that in there. My now 6 year old ds had a lot of fears too. With dogs, he just simply was not really exposed to dogs, so when he was around one, he didn't know what to think of the jumping, sniffing and tail wagging. We now have a dog and he is over it. But, we just got our dog about 6 months ago, so if you would ever consider that, it may be too early for you. We had other reasons to get a dog too, but that was definintely one of them. Since I grew up afraid of dogs, which is common and normal at 3 or even 6, but by 14 I know that it just gets embarrasing - lol.

About the bugs - Ds was afraid of those too, so we studied them. We read books about bugs and spiders. We looked at dead bugs with a magnifying glass and we have a "pet" spider every summer on our back porch, which he felt safe with since it wasn't in the house. We have even fed our pet spider with dead bugs - lol.

Regarding all of the other stuff you mentioned. I don't really know for sure, but it could all be within the normal range for a 3 year old. I know that at 3, my ds didn't switch gears quickly or easily. If he was engaged in something, he wanted to keep at it. And, he did and still does ask a lot of questions about all kinds of different things. The proverbial "are we there yet" when we are traveling, every 2 minutes. His is "how close are we?"

Maybe some other moms will have some more insight on those things.
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My DS is almost the same age and up until now pretty much had 'no fear'. Now he is afraid of everything! Things he used to like before are now scary. With my DS I think it's just becaused he's discovered the new emotion and is trying it out so to speak. Not that his fears aren't real, but I think a lot of it for him is just exploring what really is scary for him. I hope that makes sense.

He was also doing very well with transitions, but know it's a different story. We've always had to give him warnings too, but they're not as effective as they used to be. He's always been a pretty mellow child, and would of course balk a little when it was time to change and do something else but would do it fairly easily. Lately he just bursts into fits.

I know exactly what you mean about being obsessive too. It's mostly in the car when he wants to know what something is. It's so random sometimes that I don't know if he's really asking about something specific, or just asking to ask. Half the time I can't answer him because we're driving. I'll ask him to explain it to me to see if I can figure it out but he just keeps asking the same question. Sometimes he doesn't even give me time to answer before he's asking again.

Once in awhile we have an episode like you described with coloring, that is totally out of character for him.

The other day he asked for something I didn't have, when I told him that he said "Yes you do mommy" and got more adamant about it everytime.

Sorry that I don't have any advice for you, I'm thrown for a loop with my DS too. This isn't like him at all, and it came out of nowhere.

I'm hoping it's just a phase for this age and we'll get back on track soon. I've been really patient with him and trying to work through these changes. Another thing he's doing is starting to whine/cry when he can't do something instead of asking for help. We went through this with him at like 2 years old, but he learned to use his words quickly and we haven't had a problem since. Now all of sudden he's reverted back to the crying/screaming/whinning.

Hang in there mama!
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my mil and i were just talking about this last night. she told me to trust my children with regards to their fears b/c when she was little and would stay with her grandmother, she use to see a witch fly past her window every night. noone believed her ("oh God, barbara, stop making up stories... shut up... go to bed..."). finally one night, her wise aunt said "she's talking about this too much to not be anything, i'm going to sleep with her tonight and see what's going on". lo and behold, the aunt saw her "witch"... it was the way the lights from passing cars were shining through the blinds or something. i felt so bad for her and definately trust my children's fears... whether made-up or not, i at least acknowledge the fears.
I didn't mean that we don't acknowledge his fears, we do!! We talk about it with him and work on ways so that he feels better and more secure. We never say to him that he shouldn't be afraid or that it's not scary, or get mad at him if he's afraid of something.

I guess I didn't explain it right.
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oh my heavens... my post wasn't about anything you said
!!! i'm so sorry if i made you feel that way, i was just telling you guys a story my mil told me last night about fears! sorry!
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Boy, I'm on a roll today aren't I? Maybe I should go take a nap and come back so I can read correctly!!! Sorry I misunderstood.

off to get a nap!!
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I want to thank you all for your replies. It seems like everyone I talk to hasn't had these type of issues with their kids at this age, so I was starting to get worried. I remember my nephew (now 13) was alot like this at 3.5, but my sister's reply "I don't remember, I blanked it out"
He's got adhd now so that worries me a bit.

Oh, we got around the bug issue already. We've read alot about bugs and he is interested in them but when he sees one flying near him he panics. I found an old butterfly net in the cellar and I told him that was his bug zapper. If a bug flew near him all he had to do was wave it at the bug and say "shoo"! It worked great and we spent 2 hours outside. It was 65 out so I was loving it!
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My oldest is four next month. In the past few weeks she has developed a fear of running water (sink, bathtub, flushing toilets), the microwave
:, planes overhead, i.e. anything loud.

She gets stuck on things, too. "Where are we going?" "Why not?" "What does that say?" She has dictated every action of her new sister since we brought her home. Driving with her is so interesting.

Glad you got outside!
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