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Why does my child get scared so easily?

Q: My son is 8 years old and weighs 20 kg. He is active, intelligent and bright in his studies. However, he gets scared very easily and immediately withdraws himself. He gets scared even if we raise our voice a bit. He is scared of his school friends who are stronger than him. He gets scared even if his teacher scolds the child next to him. We were blessed with a daughter 15 months ago. Consciously we are trying to give more attention to him, so that he should not feel lonely. But despite our best efforts, he complains to my wife that we care more for his sister. My father and he don't get along well and my father always finds faults and scolds him for the slightest of reasons. My father lives in a different place and visits our house rarely. How should we tackle this? Till 5 years of his age he was constantly affected with fever, cough and cold. He has become stable a few years ago. We are not sure whether we are responsible for his behaviour. Was it due to the sympathy and care on him when he was ailing? We are worried whether he is developing any psychological problem? How will he face the challenges when he grows up?

A:I think you have located the problem, even in the points you have mentioned in your letter. The first one is the child’s health. He seems to be very low in weight. Do consult a doctor or Nutrition expert to check if he is eating the right kind of food and adequate amounts of it. Make sure that he gets enough rest and sleep. Cut down his TV hours, if possible. Introduce board games, which he can play with someone in the family, or building kits where he can work by himself. If you are under the guidance of a Counsellor or Psychologist, share this information with your father and ask for his cooperation in building up the confidence of your son. Ask your son to help his parents in bringing up the little girl, but do this gradually over a period. Make a game of it and let your son pretend to be a baby, sucking a milk bottle. Show him pictures of himself when he was a baby and let him see how special he was. You will have to play it by ear, taking the actions that include your child and are for the well being of the whole family. Most of all, your son needs to improve his vitality and good health.

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