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6 Year Fearful of Being Alone

Question

I’m looking for some feedback on how to handle our 6 year old boy’s fear of being alone. It started about a year ago and seemed to have lessened after a few months but has resurfaced recently with incredible fervency. He is simply terrified of being anywhere in our house without someone there with him, either in the same room or on the same floor of our 3 level home. It’s caused quite a few behavior problems (telling his brother to do a chore I assigned to him if it requires him being alone to do it, refusing to go upstairs by himself to take a shower and get ready for bed if no one is also going to be upstairs, etc.)—all things he will do obediently if he won’t be alone while doing it. I haven’t catered to it, simply told him to figure out a way to obey. Usually that means asking his brother to come along or turning on a CD player so that he doesn’t feel alone. But lately his brother hasn’t always wanted to come. Or he can’t muster the courage to get to wherever he is going and get a cd turned on by himself (which he could do previously.) the other day the boys were playing outside and my 4 year old came inside with my 6 year old right on his tail screaming bloody murder at his brother for coming inside without him—“you KNOW I don’t like to be alone, you HAVE to stay outside with me until I’m ready to come in!!” I’ve tried to be super matter of fact about it. I pray with him and send him on his way. But the recent increase in his fear is really disrupting our home. I casually asked him tonight what he was afraid of (I’d previously not asked on purpose.) he said that someone would break into the house and steal him and that he’d never see us again. Or that a snake would bite him (which is obviously not going to happen in the house, but is something we have to talk about occasionally bc we live in an area with rattlesnakes and he plays a lot outside.) please help! Should I just stay the nonchalant course (which after a year, doesn’t seem to be working and lately has resulted in him trying to engage me in arguing/reasoning with him and getting really frustrated when I don’t engage.) or is it time to put the proverbial foot down? And if so, how? I practice authoritative language already so I anticipate needing a plan of action/consequence for him not obeying. Thoughts?

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