Dc2 is a very anxious child. But recently he has started to pinch his skin whenever things are hard.
It started with some eczema (but he was also pinch the other elbow where there was no eczema at all). Not he is pulling the skin from his thumb and us picking and twisting his skin (thankfully no broken skin there yet).
I'm not sure what to do now. Even a gentle telling off sets off this behavoiur which makes me stop saying anything to him. But clearly that's not the only thing that causes his behaviour (school is a big stressor for him too)
Ds is 9yo now.
I've seen the book 'what to do when you worry too much' recommended on here for anxiety, if you post on the special needs board you might get more advice, I think there's some CBT work books for children too.
As someone who suffers with anxiety and has since childhood, and a former self-harmer, I think the best things you can do is offer positive and practical help with the worry side of things and be as kind and gentle as possible about the self-harm; mention it but in a way that can boost his self esteem rather than shame him - for example explain how clever his body is that it can heal itself but not if he doesn't treat it kindly, I don't know if it would work if you told him he's your beautiful boy and it upsets you to see him hurt?? depends on his personality I think. as far as I know nobody even noticed I self harmed even though it was probably partly a cry for help, I think kindness is the way to go, he probably already feels terrible about what he's doing but might be stuck in a cycle of feeling like he's in control by 'doing' something to relieve the anxious feelings. tread carefully is what I'm saying I think, he needs to know you're completely on his side
stuck in a cycle of feeling like he's in control by 'doing' something to relieve the anxious feelings.
That is exactly that. ds2 says he just can't help it
The reasons for the anxiety ... I don't really know. I believe that he has some language/social/communication issues but so far haven't found anyone to support my research as to what is going wrong there.
Can I ask, would you say that it is self harming if he keeps pinching his skin etc? I'm a bit worried to be over dramatic even though that's what it looks like for me.
I personally would class causing pain to himself to cope with anxiety as self-harm. Have you seen the GP? CBT could be useful as a way to manage the urge to do it, breaking the cycle will be hard I'm sure but it is doable. I was a very anxious child and my Mum set aside time at night for me to talk through my worries, she always called it "worry corner" and it gave me a dedicated time to be able to talk through anything, no matter how small it seemed.
We've just gone through CAMHS as I though some of his issues could be AS.
2 years of waiting and no support at all in the mean time. All that to come back as 'NO this child is fine'
not no he isn't on the spectrum
I have no faith in CAMHS mainly because they have so little resources that they can't do a lot.
I feel completely lost as to what to do or how to approach the problem. I just know my boy is somehow hurting
That's awful, the support for adults can be poor with mental health but I can imagine it is worse for children.
Anxiety can start very young and they need to take it seriously. I have been anxious my whole life, I'm one of six and the only one like it so it seems to be down to how my brain is wired. Perhaps look at the "Overcoming Anxiety" book as that lays out the CBT methods that perhaps you could adapt to work for a 9yo. I haven't used that particular book but I used the "Overcoming OCD" book during my CBT sessions and I found it useful.
Perhaps also look up probiotics and anxiety as there has recently been a few papers detailing how they can help, I don't know much about it but had heard about it so thought I'd mention it in case it looks helpful.
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