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Anxiety in 8 year old DD

(34 Posts)
EustaciaVye Tue 08-Jan-13 20:31:16

My daughter has always been sensitive, although she is sociable and popular.
She is increasingly experiencing highs and lows, is moody and often doesnt know why. I put it down to emerging hormones, however it has been compounded by the fact she has been having wee accidents (likely a direct effect of anxiety over friendships).

I need to help her learn to cope with feelings of anxiety. She seems lost at the moment and I want to help as it is heartbreaking watching her so sad.

GP has referred her to bedwetting clinic to identify if accidents have physical or emotional cause. Accidents only happen during day.

Suggestions welcome.

HotheadPaisan Tue 08-Jan-13 20:58:00

Huebner's What To Do When You Worry Too Much is very good.

EustaciaVye Tue 08-Jan-13 20:59:42

Thank you. I will take a look on amazon.

EustaciaVye Tue 08-Jan-13 21:53:28

She told her daddy tonight she thought she was nothing. Not as pretty as her friends was one example :'(

HotheadPaisan Tue 08-Jan-13 23:23:16

Gah, it's awful when their self-esteem is low. I wish I had some more ideas. DS1 has gone through phases of saying he's stupid and he bets we wish we hadn't had him (is 6.5, has ASD and high anxiety).

I just listen and reassure and acknowledge and tell him all the things he's good at and how lovely he is whenever I can, I think it sinks in.

EustaciaVye Wed 09-Jan-13 08:36:16

It is frustrating as she is bright, popular and pretty. She hides it at school. Her teacher was amazed when I told her dd was unhappy.

HotheadPaisan Wed 09-Jan-13 16:05:07

Hopefully the clinic can refer on to other services if needed? Maybe play-based counselling or something like that? Did the teacher make any suggestions? Can you approach the SENCo for advice?

EustaciaVye Wed 09-Jan-13 18:22:44

Her teacher has been very supportive. They have a special signal if dd needs the loo during lessons. She is keeping an eye on her bht as dd is functioning well at school there isnt much her teacher can do. It is like the facade slips when she gets home. She gets upset and sometimes cant explain why, I think because she has saved it all day and it gets a bit blurred.

HotheadPaisan Wed 09-Jan-13 18:33:00

Is there anyone in the family like this? Anything in particular going on, or it's just bad atm? I don't have experience of this age I'm afraid and I know DS1's anxiety is neurological, he is less concerned about how others preceive him for now but he is self-aware and it will come. He is his own harshest critic though.

HotheadPaisan Wed 09-Jan-13 18:36:53

Oh, he has a period of almost OCD-like toilet-going, 8+ times an hour, I told him his bladder needed him not go so often so it could be stronger, that sort of worked, but his anxieties just jump to something else. It's hard but I just stay calm and reassuring and try to just accept and gently guide and not project and build from there.

Presume the GP has ruled out any possible physical causes?

EustaciaVye Wed 09-Jan-13 20:30:01

Gp has said the clinic will determine if wetting issues are physical or anxiety related so we just have to wait for referral.

dd is very sensitive and also mature. she feels things deeply, has a lot of empathy for others which makes her popular but she is a perfectionist and very particular about things. I am like this to varying degrees but I have had long running menstrual issues which have made me visibly emotional which has probably not been the best example.

EustaciaVye Wed 09-Jan-13 20:30:53

thank you for talking to me. I appreciate it.

HotheadPaisan Thu 10-Jan-13 08:24:49

No problem, you're welcome, hope things get easier for her soon.

EustaciaVye Thu 10-Jan-13 15:30:36

book arrived so I will look at it with dd this weekend. It looks very good.

HotheadPaisan Thu 10-Jan-13 15:38:08

They are - great for age 6-12. It really helps DS1 to see there are others like him.

plus30 Thu 10-Jan-13 22:56:51

Unfortunately I don't have any advice - just a seven year old dd who sounds very similar. She is very bright but isn't great socially - particularly in groups. She is very unhappy at school, yet her teacher tells me she seems happy in class. She is a very anxious little girl - all sorts of irrational anxieties - can be very particular about things (and yet has no sense of responsibility for her belongings) and can be very moody at home. I too think she sometimes gets exhausted with putting on a face outside and succumbs to her real feelings at home. Last sept she tripped and put her hand in dog poo which totally traumatised her - leading to obsessive hand washing, exaggerated sense of smell, refusal to eat and refusal to use her hands opening doors etc. for several weeks. She also became very withdrawn and suffered extreme mood swings sometimes almost contorted in anger as she struggled to process and articulate her feelings. Long story short, we had her referred to CAMS who after two appointments discharged her as a lovely, bright articulate child with no issues and advising me not to worry as much. Instinctively I think they are wrong. She is only seven but I know my daughter has told them what she thinks they wanted to hear. When I asked for a copy of the update letter they sent to our gp I couldn't believe it was about my daughter! Hugely frustrating and I genuinely worry about the future as when we're at home we she never feels very far from a meltdown. She is frequently waking up with nightmares and quite often wets the bed. Exactly as you said in your opening post, it is heartbreaking for her dad and I to watch our little girl appear so lost, particularly when we can't establish any reasons whysad. Apologies for hijacking your thread - it just struck a chord with me. Good luck with your dd. x

EustaciaVye Fri 11-Jan-13 09:04:31

plus30 - not a hijack at all. More the merrier, kind of. I recommend the book at the start of the thread.

HotheadPaisan - could not wait for the weekend so dd and I went through the book last night. It is brilliant, and quite enlightening. we read through and I have suggested she writes in the sections by herself (partly so I dont influence her).

When asked who else she knew that worried about things, she said ' noone'. I was flabbergasted really. She genuinely doesnt see that other people have issues and it helps me see just why she feels so isolated.

The explanation of physical symptoms of anxiety seemed to strike a chord too and she seemed to realise her tummy ache is linked to how she feels, rather than something else to worry about. The relaxation techniques were fun to try.

We are going to start ' worry time' this weekend, another good thing for dd as it will give her permission to park stuff until later. She is a real conformist so being allowed to put a worry aside until a scheduled time makes sense to her.

At the end of reading the book together she gave me a hug and said ' thank you mummy, it is just what i need' and she seems quite motivated. Only one day in but I am keeping everything crossed.

EustaciaVye Fri 11-Jan-13 09:07:01

plus30 - it must be so hard holding it together all day in public. Although it is horrible to see the meltdowns at home, I am kind of glad they happen, as otherwise there would be no outlet.

cq Fri 11-Jan-13 09:19:49

Sympathy for you all, and glad to hear I am not alone. My DD is 11 now and has been suffering from low self esteem and mild depression for several years. Like others, she seems to put a brave face on it at school, is happy and sociable according to teachers but always seems to be on the periphery of friendships and parties etc. She is not good at putting effort into friendships as she doesn't ever believe that people genuinely like her, although she is funny and kooky and sweet. She's just different, and some girls don't like that and have given her a hard time over the years.

At home we had tears regularly in the evenings, moodswings, door slamming and temper. We moved back to the UK from the States in the summer, and she started a new school for Yr7, which I thought would be a great new start as they would all be new together. However the isolation is still there, although I now realise it is imagined rather than real, but this doesn't make it less real in her eyes.

We had tears the night before term started after Christmas, and she has now taken herself off to the School Counselling service as she says it upsets her more to talk to me, because she doesn't want to upset me. sad I have tried every approach, from just listening, to trying to talk to her and give her advice, to sometimes exasperation and telling her she is the luckiest girl on the planet and has no reason to be miserable. That last was not my proudest parenting moment but sometimes at 11.30 on a school night when still lying on her bed and trying to understand her, my patience is not good.

The tearful evenings are becoming fewer, slowly, but I do wonder if she is just hiding it from me more successfully.

ledkr Fri 11-Jan-13 09:40:33

Hi my dd is ten and been like this since the summer. Before that she often said she had a worried feeling but didn't know why.
She too seems happy enough at school but is anxious about everything.
Everyday she asks me where I am going and will I be there after school (I have never not been) at one point I couldn't even take my trolley back whilst she sat in the car in full view if me and with dh and mil in car too.
The worst thing is bedtime where she is often awake until 1am as she is scared I will disappear. Scared of burglars and bad men coming to take her. She also burst into tears about anything and worries about school work.
I just try to talk about her worries a lot and reassure her. She enjoys dancing and guides and I feel they are great confidence boosters. Does your dd do anything like that?
I have been reassured by the amount of children on here with similar issues and just hope it's. phase.

ledkr Fri 11-Jan-13 09:41:49

I'd there anyway of these girls supporting each other via text or Internet?

HotheadPaisan Fri 11-Jan-13 13:56:14

That's great EustaciaVye, really good start. DS1 finds worry time really helpful, so much so he decides not to bother with it by the time we get to it. He's also developed a range of techniques of putting worries in imaginary bubbles and blowing them away, he came up with that one.

EustaciaVye Fri 11-Jan-13 18:57:04

cq - it is very hard not to lose patience when you have tried everything.

ledkr - my dd is only 8 so doesnt have email or phone yet.

I would def recommend the book mentioned. dd has just skipped off to bed with it so she can fill in the writing bits. She also came home and was forthcoming about some bad things that had happened but accepted the positives eg, her friends looked after her when she fell over, and in ict when she lost her work. Small, but positive steps.

HotheadPaisan Fri 11-Jan-13 19:22:23

Another good thing, especially if they're prone to negativity (Huebner does a good book on that too) or dwelling and good before before bed - do thorn, rose, bud - sonthing bad that happened today, something good and something they're looking forward to.

cocolepew Fri 11-Jan-13 19:40:31

My DD had a nervous breakdown at 11, she had always been anxious, a perfectionist etc. Her teachers were and friends were unaware of her problems.

She saw a therapist, who was wonderful. One of the things she had to do was keep a note of how high her anxiety was that day, on a scale if 1-10. She would write what it was that was making her anxious that day. We would talk about it, but only if she wanted too, in case there was a solution I could suggest to her. Then she would write about something good that happpened or what made her feel good that day.

She is now 15 and still has anxiety but is anlable e to cope better. She still does a exercise she was taught by her therapist, here it is in case it helps someone else.
Press your thumb and first finger together, one or two seconds, then the other hand the same. DD has intrusive thoughts due to OCD and this clears her mind.

If I'm remembering correctly it stimulates both sides of the brain to work. Children with anxiety have the emotonal side of their brain working stronger than the logical side, this helps balance it up.

The exercises Brain Gym and Primary Movement work on the same principal and are used in schools.

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