My 5-Year-Old Daughter Is Scared of Everything

14 July, 2020
Q My 5-year-old would not go into a room alone by herself. She won't go to the bathroom alone or even play in the next room alone.

She freaks out if I leave her by herself. It's so bad she would follow me in the bathroom. She is scared if I ask her to go do something in the other room.

Recently, she has taken up bed-wetting because she is so scared to leave the room and go alone to the bathroom.

What could be the problem?

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•It could be that she saw a movie that scared her or a story that frightens her. Please do ask her about any movies or stories she has seen or heard.

•You may wish to engage her in art or coloring projects. Encourage her to give her fear a name such as Mr. Spider etc.  Ask her to color a picture of (name the fear).

•You may wish to then sit with her and color a picture illustrating safeness

•Encourage her to do things alone.  Use a timer and ask her to play alone for 3 minutes. When she is done, reinforce this behavior by verbally praising her and giving her a small reward


As salamu alaykum,

Thank you for writing to us. I’m sorry to hear your daughter is living in fear. 

Being scared of the dark or if new situations and places is common at this age however she is afraid of almost every situation wherein she may be alone.

Sister, have you talked to her to try to find out what exactly it is that she is afraid of? When did this start?  Was it a sudden fear she developed or has it been a gradual onset? Has anyone new been in the home? 

Is there a chance she was threatened, hurt or otherwise abused by someone that you do not know if?  These are hard questions to ask sister, as a mom, I know. However, as parents things can happen even when we are most vigilant.

I am not suggesting that this is the reason or even stating anything happened because we do not know. All I’m asking sister is to please check it out. 

By evaluating the above questions you may find out why she is scared and what she is afraid of.

While children at this age have very active imaginations it could be that she saw a movie that scared her or her a story that frightens her.

Please do ask her about any movies or stories she has seen or heard.  You may wish to engage her in art or coloring projects.

My 5-Year-Old Daughter Is Scared of Everything - About Islam

Encourage her to give her fear a name such as Mr. Spider etc.   Ask her to color a picture of (name the fear).

If she is willing, ask her to tell you 3 things that will happen to her if she is alone and then ask her to draw a picture of each one. 

You may wish to then sit with her and color a picture illustrating safeness….that is-things that negate her fears such as a nightlight, your presence in the home, a favorite toy, etc. 

By countering her fears with security measures that she can see (a coloring project she can see and keep) this may Insha’Allah be useful as a reminder when she feels fear or is afraid to be alone.

Encourage her to do things alone.  Use a timer and ask her to play alone for 3 minutes.

When she is done, reinforce this behavior by verbally praising her and giving her a small reward.  Insha’Allah build up the alone time in slow increments until she is comfortable being alone.


Check out this counseling video


Insha’Allah sister this will pass with assurance and patience.  If it does not, or you find a reason to believe she was harmed when you were not around, Please do consult a child therapist in your area for professional help and counseling for her.

You both are in our prayers, please let us know how she is doing.

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.