My 9 yr old son is scared of the dark, ghosts, being alone . . . everything. He won't even go outside alone anymore to play. He takes our dogs into the bed and bathroom with him. He won't sleep in his own room and needs someone to "snuggle" with him in the dark until he's almost or completely asleep.
I consider my home stable. Both parents are still in the home, we live in a safe neighborhood, the kids go to a great grade school. His older sister is much more secure. He has seen a few scary movies, most recently Paranormal Activity, which really freaked him out, but that doesn't explain his reluctance to go outside alone . . . I am really at a loss to figure out why he's so frightened.
Recently, he's begun to gain weight due to lack of exercise. He refuses to go outside alone and responds to our pressure to face his fears with anger, then tears. I feel awful for him and try to comfort him, but my husband thinks he "needs to toughen up; to grow up".