My 9 Year Old Son Is Scared Of Everything.


Asked by worried mom

My 9 Year Old Son Is Scared Of Everything.

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".



Thanks for your question and welcome to

I am not a medical professional and cannot give you medical advice.

Phobias are a specific and irrational fears of a object, place or situation, such as fear of the dark. Phobias are quite common in children and can start at any age. Children normally outgrow their phobias as they mature. However, it does sound as if your son's phobias are rather severe and are interfering with his daily activities, as well as with your family life.

It may be time to talk with your family doctor about your son's fears. A therapist may be able to help him cope with his phobias and understand that although we may have fears, we cannot stop living our life. If you allow your son to give in to his fears, you may be making him feel as if he has a right to be afraid.

Some therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, works to slowly expose someone to that which causes anxiety, within the safe confines of therapy. You may want to look for a therapist in your area that works with this type of therapy.

Please let me know how things work out and please feel free to check back on the site and read some of our members posts as well as share your story. We all learn from one another.

Types of Anxiety Disorders


Answered by Eileen Bailey