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Anxious 10 year old

(10 Posts)
thelastwingedthing Thu 18-Feb-16 11:25:55

I just found my 10 year old hiding in her wardrobe. She wouldn't tell me why but it seems to have been because I wanted her to go for a shower. I've found her in there before in tears over various things - not wanting to go to school, not being able to work something out in her homework, feeling crowded by her siblings etc. She has frequent headaches (no medical explanation), occasional migraines since the age of 6, and tends to melt down under pressure at school. She won't talk about what worries her. Her teacher is aware and very supportive. She's a quiet kid and generally reluctant to put herself forward, unless she's performing music, when she's all confidence and happy to be on stage.

I worry that this is going to get worse with puberty. I'm reluctant to take her to the GP as she's unlikely to talk and I don't want her feeling that there's something wrong with her. What can I do to help her?

thelastwingedthing Thu 18-Feb-16 11:48:24

Whoops, I just realised there's a child mental health forum. I think this may need to be moved.

thelastwingedthing Thu 18-Feb-16 22:02:56

Since my request to move the thread hasn't been acted on yet, does anyone here have any helpful suggestions?

Marchate Thu 18-Feb-16 22:23:11

Hello. I read this earlier but had to go out, sorry. I also wanted to re-read before replying

One of my children was depressed and anxious from a young age. I didn't seek help, but looked after her through her bad times. It was infrequent at first but got worse in her mid teens. She is now almost 20 and has serious mental health problems

Of course I blame myself but I have been told the advice would simply have been to do what I did anyway! But I always think I could have done something better

Headaches, migraines, days off school, intelligent but left school young with few qualifications

One of her conditions (recently diagnosed) is OCD. I am not insulting your intelligence, but if you only know the myths about OCD you should read up about it. I say this because what little I knew was wrong! My daughter explains, we all have obsessions, we all have compulsions. What makes it a disorder is those things taking over your life and making it difficult to have a normal day

I only suggest this because of the shower and the hiding. It may not be OCD or anything like it - I'm not a doctor - but she sounds fearful of normal, everyday things

I hope this helps a bit

Squashybanana Thu 18-Feb-16 22:29:15

There's a useful book called 'anxious children, anxious parents' which gives parenting suggestions to support youngsters with anxiety. There is a companion book for children called 'playing with anxiety, Casey's guide for teens and kids' to work through together. Another good book is by Dawn Huebner 'What to do if you worry too much'. Give these books a try to feel more confident in what as a parent is helpful. It is hard; if these books don't help I would go to go for Camhs referral. Good luck.

thelastwingedthing Fri 19-Feb-16 00:21:42

Thanks Marchate. Oh, I hope it's not OCD! I haven't seen any evidence of repetitive or compulsive behaviour. She's pretty slapdash about most things. I have just read about not wanting to shower with OCD because it's hard to stop - yes, it is worrying. The hiding seems to be the way she's trying to cope - it's an enclosed space, out of sight of everyone, where she can shut out the things that are upsetting her.

Squashybanana My local library has the first of those books and I've just placed a hold. Some others also came up in that search that I will look at. Thank you, books are always a popular option in this household.

I had to force her to go to school this morning, in tears. So unlike her to not want to go to orchestra rehearsal. I can only conclude that it was because she has a new, slightly larger violin and needs to re-learn her finger positions.

I will of course take her for assessment if I can't help her at home.

fruitmedley Fri 19-Feb-16 08:22:30

My 10 year old son has recently been having some anxiety attacks - very tearful, can't sleep, stomach ache. He actually threw up from it the other night.

Coincidentally, I gave him the what to do when you worry too much book yesterday. He loved it and said it was helping already. Next time he starts getting anxious we will sit down and work through the exercises in the book. Fingers crossed it does help. He is starting a new school in sept where he won't know anybody so I want to try and deal with this now.

thelastwingedthing Fri 19-Feb-16 08:41:38

Fruitmedley I'm sorry to hear you're dealing with something similar. Have you felt that you need to reconsider your son's new school because of the anxiety? Do you think they'll be supportive enough if he's still having concerns? My daughter will be starting high school next January so we're facing that challenge as well.

fruitmedley Fri 19-Feb-16 09:17:11

I'm not sure if it's the school which is worrying him or not. He's done really well to get into a local grammar (probably, find out on 1st March) and he's very excited to be going there but I wonder if subconsciously that's causing it. I think also it is part of his personality, and I think being on the verge of 'growing up' is quite daunting for him.

I think there's a lot of expectations and change put on this age group which must be tough.

sadie9 Fri 19-Feb-16 10:56:28

I think what's important too with starting new schools etc, is that we don't keep talking about the new event or the new school all the time (because we are worried ourselves). Even hearing it said to people 'it's a really good school' 10 times a day proudly might make the child think they won't be able for it. Instead if the subject comes up talk about non-pressurised things - the subjects the child might be interested in, they have really nice art rooms, the teachers are really nice and helpful, it has a nice atmosphere, and that other children have found they really like it there, found the work really interesting etc.
I found it useful to listen to the 'script' that I was speaking in relation to the new event. My own anxiety was bringing up the subject a lot unnecessarily, because it was on MY mind not the child's mind.
If you have a book about feelings, the time to work through it is when the child is not anxious. Being anxious makes it harder to take stuff in, so it is helpful to do these things when the child is relaxed and try to make it interesting and fun. When they are not anxious they are not bothered talking about it, so a way to bring up the discussion is that you might do some of those exercises too because sometimes you are anxious yourself when you start something new. Everyone is. And that it's perfectly normal to be anxious, it just our minds trying to prepare us for new things. Also that feelings can make us feel uncomfortable but they are not harming us.
And that in our minds the new event can seem huge and really big and scary, but actually when we do stuff in real life, we only do it one minute at a time so actually we live our lives in manageable chunk size pieces of time. So reassure them that you and they can manage situations one piece at a time.
There is also a book called The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron.

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