Sensitive and emotional 8 year old daughter :((16 Posts)
My almost 8 year old dd is having emotional problems again. Her worst fears are about me dying when she is at school or the house burning down to not liking her new teacher and getting told off for doing her maths wrong. She gets extremely stressed when doing her maths homework too. It always seems to flair up once a year and she is even getting upset even saying goodnight to me at bedtime. She also seems to have very sensitive sense of hearing and smell which I don't know if they are connected in any way. Has anyone had similar experience or have any ideas on how to deal with it. I did read in an american article about making a list of her worst 10 fears and arranging them from the worse to the least so if she is having a problem she can rate it and as to how she is feeling.
My 9YO DD has similar fears and we deal with them by putting each one into context. We work out how many people there are in the world/country, how many get killed in accident each day and then work out how likely it is that something will happen to me while she's at school. I sometimes relate things to leaves on a tree or grains of sand on a beach so she has a context in which to understand the numbers.
I think listing your DD's fears would be quite an overwhelming experience for her. You would be better getting her to take small, manageable steps towards facing her fears so she can see that they are not realistic and the fear itself is all she is scared of.
The sensitive smell and hearing could be related to sensory processing disorder. If she is hypersensitive to certain sounds and smells she could find school quite a challenge as does my DD.
Thank you Timandra, I have never heard of sensory processing disorder before. My dd often smells things I can't smell at all and she gets very upset at loud noises such as the school fire alarm being tested and worries if she hears a strange noise she doesn't know.
It's hard who to know to talk to about these things, I don't know if her GP could help in any way. I have asked her teacher to speak to me if she has any concerns. You wonder where they get these worries from as she was a very happy baby although it may have been when she started nursery as she always cried when I left. The only time she didn't was when her sister joined her for a few months. I do tell her that mummy is always sensible at things like crossing roads when she is at school and I also tell her it's ok to have these feelings. She was worried about telling me today she had been put in a lower maths group even though she was happy about it herself. I told her I am happy if she is happy and that hopefully she won't struggle so much.
The GP could make a referral to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) if the fears are getting out of hand and preventing her from sleeping, living a normal life, concentrating in school, etc. Depending on your local provision there may also be an OT she could see either through the GP or through CAMHS to assess her sensory processing.
Sensory processing disorder can make the world seem very scary as the child can be assaulted with overwhelming sensations without warning when nobody else around them seems to understand how they are feeling. We sometimes have to use disabled toilets because of my DD's fear of the noise of hand dryers and I can't use a food mixer or vacuum cleaner while she's in the room unless I have carefully prepared her for the noise and we have an agreed signal for her to tell me to switch it off. She has some earplugs to wear in school and staff know not to wear heavy perfumes or sit her next to certain children whose smell she can't stand (washing powder perfumes I think).
My DD also worries dreadfully about being told off at school but that is because she has Asperger's Syndrome and doesn't seem to realise when the telling off is not directed at her. This makes her constantly worried that she could be told off for something she's done unintentionally.
I hope your DD's teacher hasn't ever told her off for getting things wrong. That would be a very destructive approach to take! Putting her in a lower maths group sounds like a very sensible move if she's getting worried about the work and happy to move down. If she can relax a bit more she'll probably find the same work a lot easier.
I hope you find a way to calm her fears a little.
It might be worth googling Dabrowski's Overexcitables- we've had similar experiences with our DD.
Thank Timandra and for your advice flussymumms, will go take a look. Haven't managed to get on Mumsnet for a while as DD has been in and out of hospital. She is basically making herself ill with her worrying and given herself stomach pains. The doctor is going to refer her to speak to someone and hopefully soon.
Oh goodness, almost, what a worry for you. Are you okay? Must be difficult to cope with.
It's quite odd reading this thread because I was very much like this at your daughter's age. From ages 5-12 I think I spent every single night in my bed, unable to sleep, thinking what would happen if my mother died.
I also got very very upset if I couldn't complete school work, as if I was failing myself and my family. I was over-sensitive to everything, and just worried. About everything. I had more phobias than normal, too.
My son (now 7) is a worrier, like me. He has had a few nights where he thinks horrible things, mostly about how rubbish he is at school and how all his friends are cooler than him (when in fact, of course, he's lovely and cooler than the Fonz!)
We have devised a trick for him, and thus far, it has worked. He has a memory bank of Good Thoughts. They can be memories of good or happy times, or fantasies of things that will happen in the future. DS likes to think of the massive house he'll have when he's a man and when his mind turns to sad/bad things, he makes himself walk through the house, choosing where the TV goes/ what food that will be in the fridge/ what pets he'll have. If the house one doesn't work, he thinks of what will happen in the movie he'll write when he's a man. Or what he wants to put on his Christmas list.
It's a technique that takes a bit of time to perfect, but it worked for me as a child, and it seems to work for my son too.
I can't recommend the book 'what to do if you worry too much' enough. you can get it from Amazon. My daughter (almost 10) is a terrible worrier, worried about the pets dying, any film that has anything the slightest bit scary in it etc etc. If it is any consolation my oldest dd was very similar at 9, she is now 13 and as tough as old boots
Thank you for your replies. I am sorry I haven't been on since your messages so have only just found them. @CachuHwch, I have heard of the good thoughts before so might give it a go. My daughter actually ended up in hospital because she started getting stomach pains from the worrying but they decided it was through stress. She has been seeing a support worker at school who has helped in some ways but they even admitted they have no idea where the worrying about myself dying comes from. She has finished seeing this SW now but still has worries. I believe it will be the start of the new school year when they come back but at least the school are aware and trying to help
Want to mention breathing, as random as that sounds. Please, please, please read the Goldie Hawn book Ten Mindful Minutes, I think it could help your daughter enormously with anxiety etc.
Did I say please read it?!!
Do you know if the books is available in the UK MinimalistMommi?
Also 'the highly sensitive child' available from Amazon.
Yes, it is Almost I ordered it from my local library. It will be in Waterstones/Amazon though.
The information in there is about children/teens and it was eye opening to me. It's about how breathing deeply can change stuff in the brain immediately and can help turn off anxiety/fear etc. sorry I'm not explaining it very well. It's helped me and I'm in my thirties. Just doing three minutes of deep breathing in a day can change your how outlook/way you feel/reduce anxiety. If you do this before bed, you sleep deeper and wake up more refreshed/relaxed. I've dealt with a lot of anxiety due to cancer etc and still suffer now. Breathing properly has helped me like you wouldn't believe. Please try to read it for your daughter.
Thank you for the book recommendations. Going on my library site now to see if they are available
Thank you HotheadPaisan, I shall add it to my list to look for and read. So glad I came back on mumsnet today, had some great comments/suggestions.
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