My 8-year-old has suddenly developed fear of darkness – Times of India


Query: I have a son who is 8 years old. He is a very sensible child, good in academics and also well mannered. Though he is well mannered, he gets irritated often for little things which go against his liking. He feels every small thing is problematic and if we tell him anything strictly, he bursts out into tears. He also has a younger brother who is 3 years old. He scolds the younger one and tries to control him and expects the little one to listen to him at all times. I have also seen that he is afraid of the dark and tries to stay within our vision in a room out of fear. This had developed recently and he is unable to cope up with the situation, though I regularly counsel him about it. Please give me advice on how to overcome this problem.

Answer by Dr Rachana Awatramani: Many times when there is a second child born, you will see a change in the behaviour of the elder sibling. Sibling rivalry is the concern of many parents. They will experience jealousy, competition, fighting, etc.

I understand that you are worried about your elder son who is showing certain change in his behaviour and also controls the younger one. He is also being afraid of the dark and not leaving your sight. I would suggest you visit and let him speak to a counselor who will be able to help him cope with his fears and also identify the reason for his change in behaviour.

What I understand is that he is feeling insecure and also showing signs of sibling rivalry which you can cope with by practicing the following things; 1. Create a cooperative environment, this can be achieved through spending quality family time. 2. Treat your kids faily. If you are buying something for the younger one make sure you buy something for the elder one as well. 3. Spend individual time with each one and make sure it is well balanced.

You can also use storytelling to build a secure relationship between you and your children and between the siblings.

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