Support thread for parents of anxious children

(178 Posts)
eggsfloursugarbutter Fri 07-Dec-12 12:01:22

I thought I'd start this as I have a very anxious DS and I feel that I am the only one in RL. I figured that there must be lots of us out there and it always helps to feel like you are not alone.

My DS is 4.4 and started school in September. He has not found it easy since the beginning, but since returning after being off sick last week, he has been so anxious that he has vomited every morning in the classroom sad. His crying is what I would call "hysterical".

Trying to get out the door in the morning is a battle, with him running back up the stairs, clinging onto the door frame and refusing to put his shoes and coat on.

He has been quite a clingy/anxious child since he was a baby, so it is not just exclusive to school. He is terrified of going to the dentist, Father Christmas, dressed up characters, parties, trying new things, the list goes on. At this stage, I don't know if there is an underlying reason for it, or whether it is solely anxiety, but I am working closely with the school and GP to monitor it.

I am also 6 months pregnant, with not a lot of support around me and finding it quite difficult and stressful. So if you are going through something similar or have done in the past, then please post it here and perhaps we can all help each other smile.

eggsfloursugarbutter Wed 12-Dec-12 11:09:15

Oh no, sorry to hear that, what a shame for her sad. I think when they are tired and stressed it just makes everything feel so overwhelming for them. I often feel like that myself!

Can they show her what she has to wear for the play so she can see it visually?

Glad you have had help from the school - it makes such a difference when they understand and are willing to help.

I didn't have a great morning - lots of tears and "I don't want to go to school, I don't like it, etc" but thankfully no vomiting and he went in calmly to meet his TA so fingers crossed for a good day. I am counting down the days til the holidays, but then I know that the stress will kick in again when it's time to go back in January...... I wish there was a magic wand to fill them with confidence and happiness!

Ineedpigsinblankets Wed 12-Dec-12 11:59:54

I know how you feel, I could have easily kept Dd3 at home this morning but I know in the long term that is not the best thing to do.

I have my fingers crossed that the HT has managed to put something into place for her for the last week of term.

Ineedpigsinblankets Wed 12-Dec-12 13:48:59

Well she came home a bit more positive. HT bought her a piece of toast at snacktime, bless him. So at least she ate something after not having any breakfast.

She has said she will stay all day tomorrow so fingers crossed she wont try to go all day without eating.

Am feeling happier now than i was this morning and am going xmas shopping when dp gets homesmile

eggsfloursugarbutter Wed 12-Dec-12 14:45:48

Glad to hear you are feeling a bit better and that your dd seems a bit more positive smile

eggsfloursugarbutter Thu 13-Dec-12 12:00:52

How is DD today pigs?

youmeandtheoldzifferzafferzuff Thu 13-Dec-12 14:10:59

Thanks for the welcome, eggs and Ineed. Good tip about getting down to his level - we do have a bit of trouble with communication and I wonder if that is contributing to the anxiety. I often feel he doesn't fully understand things we say and he doesn't seem to get the idea of back and forth conversation or asking/answering questions. We're going to be seeing a SALT too, so hopefully that will help.

We were prompted to seek a referral to the paediatrician by the HV who picked up autistic traits at a development review. It's such a long process though.

Hope your GP appointment goes well tomorrow, eggs. When I went I brought a huge list of everything that was concerning me and I think that was useful as I cried for half the appointment and probably not in much state to remember everything! She also kept the list and sent it with his referral.

Ineedpigsinblankets Thu 13-Dec-12 16:22:28

Well, Dd3 stayed all day at school and ate some of her lunch, which is great.

She is in a horrid mood now though, very tired and grumpy, bless herwink

eggsfloursugarbutter Thu 13-Dec-12 17:22:50

Hi youme - your ds sounds very like mine - doesn't seem to understand what you are saying. I often have to repeat myself several times, normally if he is engrossed in something else or doesn't want to do what I am asking. A lot of me wonders if that's just "normal', but I'm not sure as I don't have any other children to compare him to. One thing that ds's teacher has commented on is that sometimes children can have intermittent hearing which can affect their behaviour - she asked if we had had it checked. The only thing is that when I tried to make an appointment, they said that they don't check it at such a young age. Not exactly sure how you find out if there is a problem then!! But might be worth looking into if you haven't already? Thanks for the info re the GP appointment - I'll make lots of notes and take them along.

pigs - glad to hear that dd stayed all day at school and has eaten. Shame that she is in a grumpy mood, but it is such a tiring time of year, and the cold and dark won't help. Is she looking forward to Christmas? Not long now!

eggsfloursugarbutter Mon 17-Dec-12 12:27:34

How is everyone doing? Good weekend?

Ineedpigsinblankets Mon 17-Dec-12 16:40:18

Yep not bad thanks, Dd3 is much better and went to school with no difficulty today. She is excited about her christmas party on thursday and breaking up on friday.

How about you eggs?

eggsfloursugarbutter Tue 18-Dec-12 11:34:36

Glad to hear it smile. It must be nice for you to know that she is happy and excited.

DS is really worried about his Christmas party today and Christmas activities in general. It makes me feel really sad because I feel it should be an exciting and fun time of year (I remember literally being overcome with excitement as a child!), but he is not enjoying it at all as he doesn't like Father Christmas! I think he is worried that he is going to turn up and frighten him, or that someone will make him sit on his lap or something sad.

So many people have commented on how young he is for school, and I am seriously beginning to question whether or not I did the right thing in sending him, and whether I should take him out until year 1.

Ineedpigsinblankets Wed 19-Dec-12 15:50:05

Hi eggs the only problem IMO with skipping reception is that it is a good introduction to school, the children should be playing most of the time and only sitting and working for short bursts.

There should be many opportunities for children to explore both indoors and outside.

Once they get to year 1 it is much more bums on seats, although that might suit your Ds better as it might be less frantic.

I think you should go and see the SENCO/ Class teacher and get their views.

You could keep him off for christams parties and things if it really stresses him out. I never see the point of taking a child to a party if they hate itsad

homeedmama Wed 19-Dec-12 20:39:01

Phew! Its not just my DS then! I am literally going out of my mind with him atm & though Im very patient with him, there are times when I just feel like crying with frustration. We moved house in June and it has triggered a prolonged 'bad patch' with his anxiety. He suffers from nightmares & OCD type behaviour which is extremely hard to deal with I find. I feel like I cant go anywhere with him atm, nothing is fun sad
Nice to find this thread smile Shame you guys have to deal with this too.

tiger66 Thu 20-Dec-12 10:18:24

Thanks for starting this thread. It is great to know that there are other children out there and other parents going through the same thing. My eldest is now 5 and we have been referred to the child development team for a diagnosis. He suffers from regular 5/7 days feeling sick, not wanting to go to school. He is very bright for his age (says the school) but suffers with huge anxiety and prone to meltdowns on the slightest thing is out of routine. I always have to thing about every possible thing that could go wrong with situations and think of how I would deal with it of it occurs. It is exhausting. My second ds is a breeze in comparison. I can take him anywhere and not have to think about things in so much depth. I love both my boys but find life a lot harder with the elder one. We are finding ways of coping but hopefully the child development team can help us and the school deal with it a little better. Thanks again for all the mums on this thread. Although it's not nice to hear we are all struggling, it's nice to know it's not how we parent that some kids just give us more challenges and that we are not alone

eggsfloursugarbutter Sat 22-Dec-12 11:50:02

Hi all - sorry I've been awol for a bit - Christmas chaos!

Welcome to homeedmama and tiger66 !

pigs - I know I'm in two minds about this school thing. I just really feel that he's not ready at the moment, but perhaps after the Christmas break, when the nights get lighter etc it might get better. He definitely improved a lot in his preschool year from January onwards so fingers crossed. He's had so many bugs this term which won't have helped either. I think that year 1 might be better for him as it's more structured, but I just don't know. He enjoyed his Christmas party after a while, but he needs a lot of reassurance and coaxing from teachers to join in. He just has no confidence in these situations.

Hope all is well with your DD at the moment smile.

homeedmama - Sorry to hear you are having such a hard time. I completely know how you feel and how a relatively small change can trigger a rise in anxiety. It is so exhausting having to constantly second guess what is going to set your child off - impossible to relax as a parent. I started this thread because no-one in RL ( especially my friends who don't have children ) seem to understand. One friend in particular thinks that DH and I are crazy and that we should just make him do things/let him cry. As if we haven't tried that for the last 4 years!! Glad we all understand each other here.

tiger66 - Your ds sounds just like mine - anxiety and meltdowns. We have been to the GP twice and seen the school nurse, but they all seem to think that there is no medical reason for his behaviour - that he is just too young to be in full time education. I am pregnant with ds2 so your comment about yours being a breeze in comparison is giving me great hope! I would go crazy if they were both the same I think! I'll be interested to hear how you get on with the child development team.

Hope everyone has a lovely Christmas if I don't speak to you before smile!

Ineedpigsinblankets Sat 22-Dec-12 19:34:17

Hi homeed and tiger, it is good to talk to other people who are going through similar things.

I am soo glad we have finally broken up, dd3 has really chilled today and apart from being a little grumpy she is getting back to her normal self.

homeed it sounds like you are having a really tough time, do you get any support in RL and have you ever been over to the SN children board on MN. It is very supportive and people who's children dont have a diagnosis are made very welcome.

tiger it sounds like things are moving forward for you and it is great that you have a child without anxiety too so that you can get a bit of balance in your life.

eggs, hope you manage to get a break from stress about school even if it is just for a couple of weeks.

Merry Chrimble everyonegrin

tiger66 Tue 25-Dec-12 19:44:36

So pleased that school has broken up we have had a lot less feeling sick. I have my little boy back confident again. 2 weeks of calm before the schools go back.

On another note though - not sure if this is part of the same thing. Do any of your children have a problem with playing board games that means they have negative outcomes eg snakes and ladders where they go backwards or games where things get taken away from them? My little boy has had major meltdowns over this over the last few days. Thanks for being supportive.

goldmum Tue 25-Dec-12 20:11:42

Just marking my place - DS1 is also very anxious, but we made it through Christmas Day without too many tears. He gets very overwhelmed by anything different, but his sensitivity can also be his strength as he has great empathy. So hard sometimes though. Hope everyone else had a stress free day!

HotheadPaisan Tue 25-Dec-12 20:27:11

I have agonised over whether it was right to keep putting DS1 (6.6) through school as it's been difficult from the start. Just in the last week or two though I am getting a kiss goodbye just outside the door and he's taking his bag in himself. It has been a long road and we've only just got started with education really.

It's easy for me to say now, and maybe he should have been PT for longer, but I felt the worries would just grow so we had to keep on keeping on.

Huebner's What to Do Series books are very good. We also stopped worrying some time ago about him and us missing out on things and just adjusted to the things that could be managed at the time. Again, some improvements in where we can go and what we can do lately.

HotheadPaisan Tue 25-Dec-12 20:28:51

Oh and look up PDA and anxiety and control, it's interesting and the strategies are good even if it doesn't fit exactly.

Ineedpigsinblankets Tue 25-Dec-12 21:41:31

Hi tiger, yes my Dd3 struggles with games like snakes and ladders and frustration type games where pieces get sent home.

Tbh, when she was younger we would generally give her some lea way, just so we could get through the game.

These days she prefers monopoly and cludo, she is quite willing to lose on occasions so long as she is convinced that the game was fair.

Of course her version of fair isnt always the same as everyone elses.

Dont give up, he will get there but maybe careful choice of games might be needed.

Good luck smile

tiger66 Wed 26-Dec-12 17:55:22

Sannaville - how did you get on with CAMHS? I do wander if at 5 my son is too young to be referred but also worry about some of his behaviour and wander if it might help ie when he says to me "I am useless and rubbish at everything." I don't know where that has come from as we have never said stuff like that about him. I don't want to make him more anxious by asking him to be referred but also worry that if I don't get some help we are going around in circles and not helping him. Feeling like a crap mummy about it all really and worry that I have created this and it's all my fault. I just have got to a point where I don't know what to do for the best. Wish there was a manual for this. Anyone recommend a good book? Thanks for this thread and sorry I'm having a bad day with it all today x

tacal Wed 26-Dec-12 19:15:09

Thank you so much for this thread. It is just what I needed. It is so reassuring to know that it is not just my DS who has anxiety problems. There are times when I feel so frustrated and useless because I find him so difficult to deal with, especially in public. No one is RL understands and family blame my parenting skills. He was a difficult baby and I first noticed OCD type behaviour around the time my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I think it was his anxiety about the situation which caused the OCD type behaviour. It was extremely hard to deal with and made it difficult going out with him. Since then we go through good spells and bad spells. If he is worried about something the OCD comes back. He can not deal with it if simple things do not happen as he expects them to. He is four and will be starting school next year. I am really worried about it.

Ineedpigsinblankets Wed 26-Dec-12 21:14:42

Hi tacal and welcome to the thread smile, it is very hard work living with an anxious child it can be draining.

Do you get any support in RL?

I am really lucky that since we moved Dd3 to an inclusive/caring school I have been able to access some suppory from the SENCO and HT.

Does your ds have a diagnosis? My Dd3 has a diagnosis of ASD.

She is my limpet grin

tiger66 Wed 26-Dec-12 21:40:45

Hotheadpaisin just seen your thread on huebners series of books. Would you introduce them to a child without having seen a medical professional about anxiety?

Just looked them up on amazon and they look good. Thanks for the link

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