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.

HotheadPaisan Wed 26-Dec-12 21:56:55

Absolutely I would, I do all kinds of CBT bits and bobs with DS1. We just got refused a psych referral 'after careful consideration', he has ASD and often services just don't have the resources to help.

Slallen Wed 26-Dec-12 23:28:58

Thanks for this thread. My DD has just turned 4 and is really starting to concern me and getting worse! The last few months she has really started to suffer, much 'mummy I'm scaredy' and 'I need my mummy' to anything new or that she hasn't done for a while! Even my regular night to the gym has become difficult! She struggles to get to sleep at night and isn't help by a break in her routine on Wednesday when she go to my in-laws, who despite deep hinting wont put her to bed at normal time as MIL doesn't like her crying! She told me tonight she couldn't go to sleep cos she had a dream about me going on holiday without her! That is a start cos she actually told me what was worrying her!

To top it all she has real issues with DH, he worked away (2/3 weeks at a time) so I was her rock! Was home every night for 6 months and has been away again recently! I have issues with him too but do my best to hide them but I won't lie to her, she wouldn't believe me!

She has started to have issues with her nursery to, not wanting to go and wanting to stay with me, she is absolutely fine when she gets there if she is one of the first in the room but cries if not. She's been at the sme nursery since 8 months so is very settled but school is starting to concern me.

I suffer from anixety myself (perfectionist that cant say no) and see the traits in her but can't seem to teach her my coping techniques!

I know this is nothing compared to what some of you are coping with but it feels good to be able just to get it off my chest and any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Ineedpigsinblankets Thu 27-Dec-12 11:03:03

Hi Slallen, it sounds like your Dd is struggling with separation anxiety, my Dd3 is the same.

I have often wondered if Dd3's was partly caused by her Dad working away on and off when she was little.

We never really knew when he would be home and some weeks he was away all week.

I suppose it could be the reason she clings to me so much and your Dd could be the same.

Tbh we have dealt with it on a day to day basis and because my Dd3 also has ASD we have never really been able to get any help with the separation anxiety.

Your Dd will probably need a really good transition in to school. When she gets offered a place I would recommend making an appointment with yhe Head teacher or SENCO and ask them to help you with the transition into school.

Keep coming on here too for support.

Good lucksmile

tacal Thu 27-Dec-12 20:16:15

Hi pigs, yes it is very hard work and I do feel drained. I am a lone parent and do not have any support in RL.

I am in the process of choosing a school for DS to go to. How do I know if it is an inclusive and caring school? It sounds like you have found a good school. Do you have any advice on what I should be looking for/what questions to ask?

To be honest I have never thought about getting a diagnosis. I have always assumed it is just ds's personality but after joining this thread I am wondering if I should be speaking to my gp. How did you feel when your dd was diagnosed?

Thank you very much for your advice and support it is very much appreciated.

Ineedpigsinblankets Thu 27-Dec-12 21:49:14

Tbh, getting a diagnosis (dx) forDd3 was the best thing for her, she needs people to be aware of her difficulties and she needs to be able to access support.

Do you go to any toddler groups in your area? I am asking because that is a good way to find out about schools, mums who have older children are usually more than willing to share their views.

Try go narrow down your choices and then go and look around. Get an appointment with the senco and then ask them how they will help your son to make the transition into school.

Why dont you pop over to the special needs children board to chat about ocd and getting a dx. I really dont know that much about it but I am sure someone who does will talk to you.

tacal Thu 27-Dec-12 22:07:44

thank you, I will pop over to special needs. I have been asking around about schools and have a good idea which one I prefer. Not sure if we have senco (I am in Scotland). I will find out about that. Thanks again.

roundabout1 Fri 28-Dec-12 22:19:16

Hi can I join? So pleased to find this thread, my dd1 is 7 and has always been frightened of loud noises, social situations, changes and what people think of her. It took her ages to settle into school in reception, she did find year 1 easier as was less noisy & more "work" .She has had a very difficult year as she was ill with suspected glandular fever and her illness has continued on & off all year, now they suspect chronic fatigue. Her attendance at school has been about 50% over the year and so friendships has become an issue & she gets very anxious about what she has missed, work & news. She is very much the odd one out at the moment. She has been doing part days most of the term, better for her healthwise but not socially. She had very little confidence anyway & is like a little mouse in the classroom. Since being ill we have struggled to get her into school, its so hard judging whether its the physical illness or the anxiety that is making her feel bad. Usually she has extremely swollen glands & angry looking tonsils when she is physically ill so at least a few clues. We have screaming & crying & begging not to make her go to school, when we leave the house she is ok but so worried that people will know she has been crying. School haven't been too helpful, one the one hand they have been doubting that she is physically ill & thinking it is anxiety yet they dont do anything to help the anxiety whether that is the only problem or not. The paediatrician has sent numerous letters to school saying she needs regulated activity rather than overdoing it but several teachers have commented to her that she doesn't try hard enough - one of them a pe teacher & on ocassions when she has told staff she feels unwell (I'm sure this was genuine as she hates attention so wouldn't make it up) they have ignored her, this has led to her being off properly ill for about a week after each time as she had overdone it. So she feels no one believes her & worries so much about feeling ill that she probably makes herself feel ill anyway. A truly vicious circle.

fuzzpig Fri 28-Dec-12 22:29:33

Hello smile I'm just marking place as I haven't read thread yet (about to go to bed) but what a great thread idea! thanks

My DD is 5.6, and seems to be quite anxious. She worries a lot, and can be quite shy despite being popular she certainly didn't inherit popularity from us and sociable if that makes any sense.

She has a lot of bad dreams and 'bad thoughts' at bedtime about us leaving her, or being angry, or about her hurting people by accident etc, the list seems endless.

She has sucked her fingers since teething began at 7m, so that's more of a comfort thing, but in the last few months she has started biting her thumb - the skin, not the nail. It's gone really nasty and cracked and bloody sad

Off to sleep now but will be back tomorrow hopefully.

Ineedmorepatience Fri 28-Dec-12 22:46:51

Hi roundabout, what an awful situation for your Dd.

What a shame that the school havent been able to be more supportive.

I have no advice really but do wonder if the level of anxiety and illness should mean that she is on the special needs register at school with an IEP in place to support her. Have you ever spoken to the SENCO?

Hi fuzzpig and welcome to the thread, hope you sleep well smile

roundabout1 Fri 28-Dec-12 23:33:56

in need - school have been reluctant to treat her as special needs but according to her paediatrician who we saw recently she should be treated as such. Its a very small school though and I have spoke to the SENCO & she sounds completely out of her depth, they have never encountered a child with dd's problems. We have a meeting set up for the first week of term. The paediatrician does feel that the stress & anxiety caused to dd partly because of her personality & also because of school has prolonged dd's illness. It's just frustrating as school seem to use her quiet & timid nature as an excuse for every problem she has at school, in my mind they know what she is like therefore should act accordingly & try to help make her feel safe & work up the trust. As it is there is no trust between us & the school or dd's & her teachers and as things have got progressively worse throughout the year dd has heard me speaking negatively about them which obviously hasn't helped. I didnt intentionally mean for her to overhear but she did blush

Ineedmorepatience Sat 29-Dec-12 10:34:36

Maybe the time has come to look for a new school and a fresh start.

Dd3 was really unhappy at her old school and they werent helping at all, she meeded a diagnosis but due to the ignorace of the HT who was also the SENCO my attempts to get the right diagnosis for her were blocked.

After I moved her to a totally inclusive school with a great SENCO who has a really good understanding of special needs it only took one term for them to completly understand Dd3 and help me to get the diagnosis.

Dd3 has ASD and really does need support in school. Your Dd needs support too and moving her might be the only way forward.

You could try parent partnership if you havent already, if they are any good they will be able to give you some advice but they do vary from area to area.

Is your Dd really quiet and shy at home or are school seeing a different child when she is there, this is what happens with Fd3 when she is anxious, she withdraws and wont talk to adults at school.

At her new school she has named adults who she trusts who keep an eye on her and who she can go to if she is anxious.

roundabout1 Sat 29-Dec-12 18:22:50

Yes dd is loud & boisterous at home but not in social situations even with close friends, she has always been this way. I have considered moving schools but dont think dd will cope with it well. She has a lovely best friend who is in her class & I really dont think I could separate them.There isnt another school that near either so logistically it would be very difficult. The SENCO is dd's teacher so should know her well anyway but doesn't seem to! They seem horribly out of their depth but I dont see it should be that hard, if they looked into her possible diagnosis there is lots of advice re education & regarding her being withdrawn, to be there are obvious things they can do (stupidly these have only occurred to me recently so never suggested them before blush ) I think if she had set people she should approach when she feels ill & knows what to do in every possible set of circumstances - eg if its at lunchtime, or normal classtime this would make her feel a lot happier & help reduce the anxiety caused by "what if I feel ill" Apparently her class haven't been told the reason why she has been off - as in she's unwell & gets tired easily. I dont know if its not the done thing but if her peers knew why she was acting how she is & why she's absent so often it would really help. There are some lovely children in her class (& some not so!) & I think if they knew what dd was going through they would look after her a bit more.

fuzzpig Sat 29-Dec-12 18:35:01

Hello again, just wanted to finish what I started!

The main reason I am worried (oh the irony) is that anxiety has ruined MY life. I have had diagnosed depression for 12 years (almost half my life) but a lot of the issues are panic and anxiety. I only recently accepted this. I am so used to worrying that I don't even see it as worrying, if that makes any sense! Anyway, I am now pursuing a dx of Aspergers, for many other reasons, although the psychiatrist I saw reckons I have OCD confused. We also have stressful situations at home, I was dxd with ME/CFS last month, and DH has been injured/out of work. We are really trying hard not to burden DD with this but I know she must pick up on it.

What is worrying me is her checking - she has to repeatedly check we've said something (I do this too). If it's something like an own clothes day at school she will be terrified to the point of tears that we have got it wrong until she finally arrives at school and sees other children. It's just a little thing really, but when I see those flashes of myself in her it really makes me scared that she is like me.

roundabout1 Sat 29-Dec-12 19:03:16

fuzzpig - you have described my dd to a tee regarding unusual days at school. She asks a 1000 times or so it seems if I've got the day right & is only reassured when she sees others out of uniform. It is so me, as I am anxious too not about everything but about turning up late, hate parties etc. I would so love dd to have more confidence than me

mathsconundrum Sat 29-Dec-12 19:44:46

Hi it's great to find this thread. DD is 6 and is anxious on several situations. I'd be interested to hear if others have similar children. In many ways she's developed well. Early talking, good sleeper, easy potty training, great company for me, funny and sweet. She's not worried about routine and accepts change easly. She reads soc situs well on the whole. There are however issues o do with fear and anxiety. She cannot speak to strangers, extended family etc. She will say please and thank you but rarely hello and goodbye. She seems to have a combination of anxiety about communication mixed with the thought that there's only any point in takg to people ho are relevant to her. As a toddler she was scaared of, soft ply slides, fr c. y rant to try fruit and veg. She gets cross if she loses games (only at home, more amenable at school), often feels slighted by friends and tends to negative thoughts. She loves friends who are silly and fun and has a friendship group. She is shy ay school tho. Apologies for typos, New phone.

borninastorm Sat 29-Dec-12 20:00:06

This thread couldnt have come at a better time for me.

Ds2 is just 2.11 and is anxious about so many things. His anxiety manifests itself in total meltdown tantrums that can last up to 20 minutes.

It's only recently that I've come to the realisation that he is a very anxious child. As a baby he could cry for hours and screech in this awful high pitched scream that hurt my ears. He rarely slept through the night until he was almost 2. Although he still has many waking nights which mean screaming and nothing can calm him, all i can do is hold him as he screams and scratches.

He scratches himself so badly that he bleeds when he goes into meltdown :-(

On other days he can be happy and content and fine.

Just a couple of weeks ago it was his preschool nativity - we had 3 temper tantrums before 9am due to it being so far out of his comfort zone and out of his routine.

I've got two older teenagers (who just by being teens are hard work!) but ds2 has stressed me out so much I'm exhausted and find myself in tears recently for no apparent reason.

I'm so pleased to hear I'm not alone with an anxious child.

Ineedmorepatience Mon 31-Dec-12 16:56:36

Hi born, your little one sounds hard work.

How is his development generally? Does he have much language?

I am only asking because if he is delayed as well as very anxious it might be worth trying to get a referral to your local child development centre where they would be able to assess him to make sure there is nothing underlying.

Good lucksmile

Busyoldfool Mon 31-Dec-12 20:58:29

Thanks for the thread. I am just about to go out, (NYE and all that!), but my DS is nearly 12 and we have all these probems. DX of Dyspraxia so there are a range of things he is dealing with but the anxiety is pretty difficult. He had a panic attack in the dentist the other day and passed out on the floor. Vomiting, OCD type behavior, nail biting, sleeve chewing, night waking , clinging, excessive fear of the dark, strangers, school, anything new. I am not at all patient - although I was when he was younger.

I'll mark my place and come back to this - thank you.

Ineedmorepatience Mon 31-Dec-12 23:51:13

Its great that this thread has really taken off, heres to 2013 and lets hope our sensitve souls get the support they deserve school this year and that we are able to give them the love and patience that they need.

Good luck everyone smile

Ineedmorepatience Mon 31-Dec-12 23:52:50

That should have been " the support they deserve at school" blush

CuddlyBlanket Tue 01-Jan-13 00:04:01

Hi, we have struggled as a family for years with dd2. The cause looks to be Hypermobility syndrome/ehlers danlos syndrome and a possible autonomic disorder.

Symptoms as a baby were gastric reflux, reluctance to do things, then as a toddler extreme tantrums which still happen a little, phobia's that are rational ie previous bad experience brings on a phobia, one is school refusal.

Ineedmorepatience Tue 01-Jan-13 10:34:56

Hi cuddly there are 2 thread runnnig on the special needs children board about hypermobility.

One is current and has some interesting links to pages about hypermobility.

The other is a long running one about eds and hypermobility and there are lots of knowledgble people on there.

Ineedmorepatience Wed 02-Jan-13 13:47:19

Just thought I would bump this thread incase anyone needs some support smile

Eek... Can I join?

DS1 is nearly 10, he is a sensitive chap, has severe atopic eczema and generally a lot to,cope with in hislife so far re illness and until a few months ago I would have said he was coping and maturing. He had intensive SLT for a stammer and late to talk which meant he was hard to understand when he started school but the stammer slowed as he learned to read. He is sporty and v bright but no close friend ATM, he was one of a posse of 4 quirky lads and is now the only one left at school as all others relocated rather suddenly within a year of each other. He has always struggled with playtimes at school, being left out and tussles over football which always suprises me as he loves football, plays for a team etc. He has struggled with dry nights and isa severe clothes sucker and nail biter.

There is lots going on for him and I know he is anxious. School say not, that he is popular and happy, and I have tried not to be a hovering parent but I know I need to help him but I just don't know how. Broke my heart before Xmas to hear him melt down over a small accident and call himself useless at everything.

I feel lost as DH and I thought that we were doing all the right things re: self esteem, especially as he has so much to contend with with his eczema. I think over Xmas I can see him stammering again, sorry for ramble but I am feeling lost and sad and I know I need to do something to help him but I don't know how to approach all this. Have been told steroids mean he is well into puberty already, which makes sense as he seems v tearful and is having huge rages once or twice a week...how much is hormones?

Ineedmorepatience Thu 03-Jan-13 11:05:54

Hi fairy and welcome, it sounds like your ds has had alot to cope with.

I expect a lot of what you are dealing with now is probably hormone related.

Does he have any friends outside school? It must have been hard for him to lose his friends at school.

Just out of interest, did the other quirky boys leave because their needs werent being met? That is what happened at Dd3's old school, all the quirky and most of the sn children have moved on.

I wouldnt dream of trying to teach my granny to suck eggs but have you tried Aveeno cream for his eczema?
I know 2 people whose severe symptoms have almost disappeared since using it.

Ignore me if I am talking rubbishgrin

I havenk advice for you other than lots of cuddles and reassurance which I am sure you already do.

Keep coming on here though, its been quiet this week, I think everyone is busy with the dc's being off school.

Good luck smile

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