Signs & Symptoms

Delusions

Is your child worried that he or she is going crazy?

A delusion is a belief that is not consistent with reality. This belief could be evidence of a very serious problem and may need immediate attention. It is one thing for your child to have an active imagination and to believe that dragons are real or that Harry Potter really lives at Hogwarts. Children believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Magical thinking is okay to a point.

If your child begins to become too wrapped up in fantasy or believes in delusions of persecution (someone is out to get me) or grandeur (I am very important and needed to protect our country), this could signal a serious problem.

If your child is anxious, sad, or exiled from peer relationships because of an obsession or belief, it may be time to seek help. Children do see shadows at night. They believe that monsters are under the bed or outside the shower. If the monsters move, talk and tell your child to act a certain way, this delusion could be a problem.

Consider religious and cultural beliefs. It may be that the family has unique beliefs that are not shared by the greater society. However, pervasive delusions that ‘haunt’ children and tell them what to do can be very serious and require immediate attention and intervention.

What do challenges with Delusions look like?

  • Seeming to be out of touch with reality?
  • Believing things that don’t make sense?
  • Having delusions of grandeur, meaning does your child think she is very important to the president or the queen of England?
  • Hallucinating (visual or auditory); seeing or hearing things that aren’t there?
  • Telling you he talks to Bon Jovi at night in his bedroom and that Jon talks back?

Why is Delusions happening?

Many children love the fantasy world and that can be perfectly fine for young children. Some kids love Disney princesses, dragons, Harry Potter, or quirky cartoon characters. Oftentimes, they are indulging in this fantasy for fun and know full-well that it isn’t real. If your child just loves certain fictional characters, that’s not necessarily cause for concern. 

The problem is when a child truly can’t separate fiction from reality and gets very caught up and obsessed with the fantasy world. Psychosis is a detachment from reality that is directly related to a severely depressed emotional state. Children with loose associations, meaning wandering dialogue that does not follow any logical pattern, and ascribing to irrational beliefs, are displaying significant concerns. As a parent, it can be helpful to translate or reframe. If a child says “I am Darth Mal inflicting my power over all!” you may say “Sounds like you’re pretty upset right now. It was a tough day.” It will be important to try to connect the metaphor back to reality.

How can I manage Delusions at home?

Many children love the fantasy world and that can be perfectly fine for young children. Some kids love Disney princesses, dragons, Harry Potter, or quirky cartoon characters. Oftentimes, they are indulging in this fantasy for fun and know full-well that it isn’t real. If your child just loves certain fictional characters, that’s not necessarily cause for concern. 

The problem is when a child truly can’t separate fiction from reality and gets very caught up and obsessed with the fantasy world. Psychosis is a detachment from reality that is directly related to a severely depressed emotional state. Children with loose associations, meaning wandering dialogue that does not follow any logical pattern, and ascribing to irrational beliefs, are displaying significant concerns. As a parent, it can be helpful to translate or reframe. If a child says “I am Darth Mal inflicting my power over all!” you may say “Sounds like you’re pretty upset right now. It was a tough day.” It will be important to try to connect the metaphor back to reality.

How can Clear Child Psychology help with Delusions?

If your child is struggling with this symptom to the point that it is getting in the way of his or her learning, relationships, or happiness, it’s time to seek professional help.

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