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Anxiety and Stress Disorders (Children)

Stressful Behavior for A Child

10/10/2006

Question:

My step son has recently began to go #2 in his pants. He has had some discipline problems at school such as chewing on his shirt till drenched and talking baby talk. He says he has a headache at 8 years old when I never even knew what that meant at his age. Should I be concerned about entering a new school year? He is from a divorced marriage (2 years old) and his mother moved in with her boyfriend about a year ago whom he seems to get well along with.

Answer:

There are a lot of stressors in your step-sons life but the re-emergence of toileting difficulties at age 8 signal that the problem is serious.  The concept of regression states that when one is stressed one regresses to an earlier developmental stage of mastery, and both physical anxiety symptoms and toileting regression seem to suggest that your step-son needs to see a behavioral specialists for evaluation.

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Response by:

Floyd R Sallee, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati