My 5 year old will 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 you leave the room.... It's so bad she will follow me in the bathroom... Has to sleep in my room... Will scream n cry she is scared if I ask her to go do something in the other room... She will make her younger sister go with her.. Recently she has taken up bed wetting because she is so scared to leave the room and go alone to the bathroom... Even if I leave lights on... Whats going on? What could be the problem?

  • 1
    Have you asked her what scares her about the room, and did she give any answer beyond "I don't know"?
    – Layna
    Jul 8, 2016 at 6:41
  • Are there any factors in her life that are causing this and that you feel comfortable to talk about? Your child definitely sounds stressed. Can you do anything to alleviate those factors? Jul 8, 2016 at 17:19
  • Possibly you have a mouse or a rat and your child is afraid of encountering it alone.
    – Warren Dew
    Jul 16, 2016 at 6:32
  • Did this start suddenly, or gradually, or was it always there and built up recently?
    – mattdm
    Jul 18, 2016 at 3:20
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    What types of TV or movies or Youtube type videos does your child have access to? It is possible that your child has seen a scene from a movie/tv show that is super scary, or even an advertisement on the beginning of a youtube video. That happend to my kiddos. There is some scary stuff that pops up for no reason.
    – Jeff.Clark
    Jul 25, 2016 at 23:43

6 Answers 6


I would like to add the perspective of one who was once a child who was very scared for what must have seemed like no reason at all. I don't know whether it will help, but my situation was similar (although to some extent less severe, I would sleep in my own room although I was actually afraid to do so) to that described by the OP. I would not willingly go upstairs by myself even during the day, once in bed I would not get out again until morning unless someone was with me etc

As a child I had a recurring nightmare about monsters which lived under my bed. This I believe is not unusual for small children. What made mine somewhat different is that I have also always suffered from very occasional episodes of sleep paralysis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_paralysis, usually when very overtired or ill. When I say very occasional, I mean it has happened maybe 5 or 6 times in my life, but even now that I understand what it is, it's terrifying. As a child, I believed it was the monsters "visiting" me, and as a consequence nothing my parents could say or do would convince me they weren't real. I KNEW there were monsters under my bed, they had spoken to me and I had felt one put its hand on my chest while I was "awake" (this is a common halucination associated with sleep paralysis) they were just always hiding when my Daddy looked for them.

In my case I eventually grew out of my nightmares (there was a defined last dream where the presence of the monster made me realise I was dreaming, turning the nightmare into a lucid dream in which I drove them away, never to return) and convinced myself that the monsters probably weren't real after all, or at least had left or not followed us to our new house when we moved. It was years later when I saw a documentary on sleep paralysis that I realised exactly what I had experienced.

I'm not saying that this is the cause for every child who has this kind of phase, but just consider that what may seem rather silly to you as an adult, may seem very very real and utterly terrifying to a child who does not understand and lacks the words and confidence to express what they have experienced.


Sometimes, if we try too hard to soothe and ease all their emotional reactions, we wind up reinforcing them. Having your undivided attention and energy, as a child, is obviously preferable to not, and if kicking up a fuss makes you go to great lengths to "fix" that, then they get rewarded for it.

Not to say it's an intentional thing. Maybe they don't like the idea of being alone, but, as with all unknown or new things, they will resist at first, but acclimate if they have to. If they are able to get you to acquiesce instead of having to deal with that new experience, then they'll keep doing so, or even escalate.

Parents sometimes just need to develop a thicker skin about the kids being upset. They're kids, they get upset quite easily, but they also get over stuff very quickly. It's the upside to having the attention span of a child. We just have to fight our protective instincts when we know it's just about being upset vs protecting them from harm.


Oh poor thing. Its so hard to see your child frightened like that -and frustrating to :). All of our kids around that age became SUPER imaginative. Which can be good, but depending on what your kids are watching, what's happening in the home, and how they are feeling about themselves - this wild imagination can invent some pretty scary scenarios.

Our son, as a 4 year old, unfortunately saw "Home Alone" while playing at a friends house and he was never the same. Seems silly, but for him the idea that robbers would come into the house and try to get him became VERY real. So maybe keep an eye on what your 5 year old is watching.

Our daughter around the same age witnessed her grandfather die and it made her very scared to leave our side. She worried that if she did it might be the last time she saw us. It took her a LONG time to get over that fear and it was VERY difficult to even leave her at school, or dance, or to play at a friends. One thing we did that seemed to help was giving her something to hold on to that she knew we would have to come back for. To a child security is everything. So maybe try leaving a personal item with her - your watch, for instance, or a piece of jewelry and tell her you'll be back for it in the morning. Supposedly this helps them develop a sense of continuity throughout the night and establish a feeling of direct connection with you.

There are likely dozens of other things that could be going on in her little head. This is a difficult scenario for sure. You do definitely want her to learn to face her fear and work through it. So I wouldn't pander to it, but you must also have loads of patience and offer encouragement like you never have before. Build her up so that she thinks she is the queen of the world and capable of everything. You obviously already done the potty training bit, so you know that a little encouragement goes a long ways. Encourage her in everything and reward her for the small progress she makes as she gains her bravery back. Breaking a cycle of fear is difficult even for adults so be loving and celebrate her progress.

Good luck!


My daughter (now 10) had this same problem and still does to a lesser extent. I can only speak from my own experience, but I believe it had to do with stuff going on inside her own head. She has a great imagination, like all kids and scares herself with thinking there are ghosts in the closet or under the bed. My husband and I never permitted sleeping in our bed, so this wasn't even considered. But she did cry sometimes. We would just soothe her and then leave her alone with a hallway light on dim. She is still scared sometimes, but nothing major or often. I think your child will grow out of it. But I think if you let her sleep in your bed it will take longer. I may be wrong, just a gut feeling that kids will get away with what you let them get away with. Good luck with it.


I don't why she's behaving this way, but I tend to think it's readily solvable with the help of a child psychologist. I think a licensed professional would be able to get to the root of the problem and resolve it pretty quickly.


You know, children are really in tune to us as parents. My suggestion would be to try as hard as you can to simply normalize the situation. I would tell my child " I know you are afraid of certain things. I don't think you need to be, but these are your thoughts and I respect them. You can always talk to me about anything! I won't tell you that you are wrong about your fears." Then show respect. Example "Susan, I am going to the bathroom to brush my hair, if you need to go and would like company, now's a good time." "Susan it's bedtime. I would prefer you to sleep in your own bed. Are you ready to tonight?"

If not, then " A compromise then, you can fall asleep in my bed, but yours is for you to sleep in. I will bring you there and be sure to leave the light on for you" My 10 y/o, adopted girl slept with a light on till she was 8. She still climbs into my bed. She has had many fears that I simply cannot reconcile, but the less I make of them, give her respect and avoid over thinking things, the happier she is. I always tell her, you can talk to me, and I promise to listen with my face (no phone or computer). She can also let me know if she would like a response or if she just needs to vent. Lights are out now, she goes to the basement alone, and more. When we make their deals BIG deals, they get scared. Been raising kids for 32 years. Still learning.. Whatever you choose to do... Good luck! And yes, it will pass.

  • Hi Donna - welcome. Can you please read How to Answer and edit your post to be in line with the guidance there. Without reformatting and some spelling and grammar updates it is very hard to read.
    – Rory Alsop
    Aug 9, 2016 at 10:36
  • Hello. I have read, and am not sure what I am missing.
    – Donna
    Aug 9, 2016 at 11:31
  • Currently your post is a big wall of text that is difficult to read. I tried to parse it to try and edit it myself, but wasn't sure exactly what you were saying.
    – Rory Alsop
    Aug 9, 2016 at 13:01

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