11 year old w/schizoaffective d. believes I am going to kill him

I’ve been handling the other hallucinations and paranoia but for quite a while tonight he was afraid of me. I stayed calm, but eventually had to get him into bed. Tonight was not violent and I somehow managed, but I would love to hear from others on how to work with a child’s psychosis. He has been hospitalized many times and in s currently in an IOP program. I’d really like to keep him out of the acute hospital so he can make some progress in IOP. Acute hospital stays are like going to the Er, it doesn’t actually fix the problems, just stabilizes. So I would love some advice on how to manage and parent him when he is fearful of me.

1 Like

I have no experience of dealing with a child with SMI but I do know you can’t argue with a delusion when it active. I can say that if I were you, now that he has spent the night safely with you in the house, I would remind him how he was feeling, ask him if anything bad happened and ask him to try to remember that next time he feels afraid (home-grown CBT basically). Then I would try to make plans in case it happens again. So, for example, if you have a friend or relative who could stay over, make an agreement that if he feels afraid again, you can call a third party to be in the house. I think you probably would never need to call them because just knowing you care that he is afraid is likely to stop that particular delusion in its tracks. For me, one particular thing that tends to stop my son’s paranoid delusions about me is to stay calm and tell him I love him. It’s odd, in a way. The first time I did it, I thought he might not accept it, he might accuse me of lying or having ulterior motives, but he didn’t. He stopped. Once, unfortunately, he flipped into an outburst of self-loathing, but I could soothe him.


Wow - that sounds really challenging. So sorry you and your son has to go through this. We have a list of “first aid for psychosis” tips here that may be helpful:


Are you close to a good early psychosis treatment center. I would call them and see if they might be able to help too. They tend to offer good therapy programs as well as other medications management, etc.

It sounds like he has a lot of anxiety - have you talked to the doctor about possible anxiety treatments for him?
Also - some people on our forums swear by L-theanine for helping sleep.

Here are some links that may help:



I’m very sorry you and your son has to go through this. I am new to this with my 25 year old son, but I can tell you that you are on the right site for support and your not alone. Because your son is very young, just continue to give him as much love as you possibly can give him. I am sending you a big hug! :kissing_heart:

I don’t know how different it is to have a child with psychosis. My family member is an adult.

This is a good page: Schizophrenia.com, 60 Tips for Living with Schizophrenia; tips for coping, handling schizophrenia crisis and relapse situations Communication tips are partway down.

I think body language is really important when someone has a lot of fear. Being side by side and giving personal space. Physical contact only if requested or agreed to. Difficult with a child, but try not to stand above them or directly across. If possible, relax your own body as a kind of non-verbal cue that it’s safe.

Since he has an IOP, is there a social worker or someone else on the team who can help educate you on how to care for him?