Q&A: What should I do to help my child who believes people are coming for him?

Ask A Doctor Question: 

child wont sleep and he believes people are coming for him and they can see him thru the phone. what should I do?

- Tanisha


Christopher L. Smith, LCAC, LMHC, LMFT -

There are lots of factors that could be involved in your child's situation.
Your child may be at that imagination stage where lots of things that adults see as not real are real for your child. If that is the case, are there other areas of your child's life and your child's life in their imagination that can be employed to help them in this situation?
Your child could have experienced events that were traumatic to them - such as child protective services taking them or someone they know out of their home or knowing of custody battles that had someone pulled away from where they saw as home. These types of situations will require careful processing and reassurance based on the local situation and the likelihood for the future.
Having the child be actively involved in things that are reassuring can be helpful. This could be in ensuring that home is secure before bed, could be in bed time prayers for protection, could be in knowing who has called, could be in self monitoring of what is watched on tv, etc. 
In all of this, it might be helpful to have a qualified outside person (counselor or therapist) be a safe place for your child to talk for a little while. Not sleeping can in turn cause all sorts of problems on its own.
It is possible to restore wholeness and peace in this situation.

--Christopher L. Smith, LCAC, LMHC, LMFT
New York, NY does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any Ask A Doctor Q&A content. Read full conditions of use here.