Anxiety in 11 year old dd - gp or self help?

(12 Posts)
HeyMacWey Sun 26-Jun-16 13:49:58

DD has low level anxiety - it first started a few years ago when I got developed a long term health condition.

She saw a school counsellor a few times but this was mainly around behaviour management (her anxiety was manifesting itself in anger problems at home).

She's just coming up to starting Y6 in Sept and we've been talking about anxiety - she's a real worrier, finds it hard to make any decision, and struggles when there are a lot of people about - worrying about what's going to happen. She also doesn't put her hand up in class as she's worried she'll get the wrong answer etc.

Some things we can overcome ie by arriving early at events etc but I want to try and help her get a grip on it before secondary school as I know the teen years can be a real peaking point for anxiety.

I've seen a few cbt type books which look interesting but should the gp be my first port of call?

Any ideas?

sydenhamhiller Tue 28-Jun-16 13:50:10

Hi - I am afraid I don't really have any answers but wanted to bump your post, and also sympathise - my DD in Y5 (DC2) is like this, and I also want to try and 'scaffold' her confidence before secondary school in a year's time.

If school helped in the past, might they be able to help again? And maybe you could go and see the GP - they might be able to reassure you and your DD?

As I said, I am struggling with a similar thing here, and don't know what I am doing, but thought I'd just share what I am hoping is working for us:

I have bought a few books to go through with her: Smart girls guide to... (and insert issue of choice, e.g. knowing what to say, boys, confidence, etc.) They are American, so sometime slightly different culturally, but it's a focus for us to talk about these things without DD feeling I am lecturing her. And I think also reassuring to her that lots of girls can feel like this, and that's ok - it's how you deal with it.

I have also adopted the word 'catastrophising' and after letting her vent (e.g. violin grade 1 exam this morning) - what if I forget, what if I am nervous, what if a string breaks, what if what if what if - I say gently, 'I think you might be catastrophising', and we talk through what she'd do if any one of these unlikely events happen. I think is helping a bit, she doesn't get sucked into such an emotional, teary vortex as often.

We also found a couple of things on the internet I have printed out and stuck up in the kitchen: one a list of 'losers' such as Einstein, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, JK Rowling (failed exams, got fired, told he had no imagination, Harry Potter rejected by lots of publishers). The other is a list of what you say, next to a list of what you could say instead: "I can't do this, it's too difficult" becomes "this is quite tricky, but if I keep at it, I'll get better". Again, once she starts, I just refer her to the list, so it is not an annoying mum pep-talk but true-fact golden advice from the all-knowing internet.

Lastly, we talk about how you have to master the thoughts and feelings in your head: acknowledge them, they are valid, but they can't affect what you want to do. So if you feel nervous, think 'I feel nervous, and no wonder, it's my first violin exam ever'. But then as soon as the negative "i'll mess up" type thought start, you have to park them, think of something else/ do something to take your mind off the issue. (Oh gosh, is this avoidance?)

As I said, I am doing this by the seat of my pants, who knows if it is working. It's a new thing for me: my son (DC1) is quieter and shyer, but very 'stoic' if that is the right word. He had his first music exam yesterday but you'd never guess unless you knew him, he just goes even quieter until it is all over.

I hope you find an approach for you and daughter that works.

HeyMacWey Tue 28-Jun-16 13:56:22

Thanks for your thoughts and ideas.
I've booked an appt for the gp to see what they recommend.

I had a quick look at books earlier but lots seem to be American and don't translate culturally.

I like the idea about 'catastrophising'. The thing is DD rarely worries out loud - she's more of a bottler - it's only when I've questioned her about things that she's told me about the excessive worrying.

Is so hard isn't it?

Somuchtodotoolittletimetodoiti Mon 22-Aug-16 20:38:15

I've come on to Mumsnet for the first time in ages looking for support/advice in this area.

My DD (10) has had a tricky summer - she has always been a bit of a worrier, but I think the thought of going into Y6, SATS and her first residential in September has tipped her over the edge. She has become very clingy and emotional at the slightest thing. Constantly 'not feeling very well' or her tummy is hurting. I've had several days off work as she hasn't felt well enough to go to her summer school, only for her to be fine as soon as she knows she's not going.

I try and be really patient with her, and talk it through, but she closes down very easily as soon as I start to gently challenge how she's feeling (and if truth be told, I'm not the most patient person in the world, so it doesn't always work out great sad)

How did you ladies get on with the books? Worth a try? Any other advice gratefully received...

anotherdayanothersquabble Mon 22-Aug-16 20:47:33

I have two anxious children. I have used Bach flowers to good effect with both of them. DD has needed more help and she saw a lovely psychologist who did some resilience work with her, talked about morals, values, perspectives, how different people perceive things, how we feel about things and how we can deal with them. We also use mindfulness visualisation of putting thoughts in bubbles to look at them, she has feelings magnets which she uses (I will link... ) and the biggest visible difference is our morning yoga routine, turns DD from an inward looking quiet child who looks like she might not make it to school into one who just gets up and gets on with it. I will link to this as well..

anotherdayanothersquabble Mon 22-Aug-16 20:49:08

yoga

anotherdayanothersquabble Mon 22-Aug-16 20:54:45

Feelings Magnets

anotherdayanothersquabble Mon 22-Aug-16 20:57:20

I was less proactive with DS as he seemed to be generally anxious but not as acutely so. We just keot talking. He started year 7 last year and every step was like staring up at an icy mountain but he climbed each and every hurdle and is stronger for it.

TanteJeanne Mon 22-Aug-16 21:03:46

My son has anxiety. We were referred by GP to CAMHS (NHS child and adolescent mental health services) but refused the first time. After the 2nd referral , over a year later,he was seen. He was missing up to 3 days school a week by this stage. I think it had to be quite serious before CAMHS will get involved.
Informing yourself - e.g. No Panic/ Young Minds websites, public library, and talking through with your child are best, unless you can afford private therapy. (We tried a bit of hypnotherapy- I wouldn't recommend it. Pleasant experience but ineffective..)
If your child can explore and understand what's happening to them and why, it can help them overcome/ manage/ live with it.
The obvious good diet/ sleep patterns help.. But practising breathing techniques to disperse adrenalin, relaxation techniques, physical activity all help.

Mipe Sat 03-Sep-16 21:17:58

My dd is 10 and has always been anxious, she was referred to CAHMS last year and had a few sessions there but it didn't make a huge difference (they talked a lot about mindfulness which I thought was great but she says doesn't work smile). One thing that she really likes is the free Kooth online counselling for children, it is supposedly only available in certain areas but as it is anonymous I don't see how they know where you live! They have a forum where children can post and every post is vetted before it goes on, it seems quite secure and has really helped dd to see that she is not the only one who feels this way (and indeed lots of people are far worse off) x

chocomochi Sat 03-Sep-16 21:37:55

Following. I think my DD (6) might have some form of anxiety, mute when strangers talk to her (library, shop assistants), fiddling fingers in new situations, worried about failing. However, she's fine in familiar surroundings and places. Will try some of these tips on here to see if it will help in new situations.

HeyMacWey Sat 03-Sep-16 22:21:33

Thanks for that mipe - will have a look at it. Glad your DD had found something that helps her.

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