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Worried about my anxious dd.

(31 Posts)
JessicaWakefield1 Sat 19-Oct-13 22:18:15

DD is 2.7 also have dd2 who is 3 months. Dd1 has always been a bit of a worrier but it seems to be getting worse and not better to the point that I'm concerned it will be an actual problem that she will need outside help with.

One issue is that she will hide when anyone comes to the house, even those she knows loves and sees regularly. She will ignore them to the point of rudeness sometimes taking over an hour to warm up!

Today she attended a princess and pirates party. Loves Princesses begged for Cinderella dress in tesco but point blank refused to wear it even when she saw all the other kids dressed up. She also has issues around getting dressed generally - its always a massive fuss and she usually seems genuinely quite distessed and upset by the end of it.

Back to the party - theres a magic show. Dd (by no means the youngest child there) absolutely terrified of magician, screaming "I dont like it. Get me out of here!" out of 30 kids dd is the only one scared. Did eventually watch the show and enjoyed it but when asked if she would like to see it again replied forcefully "no cos it was scary" . She is the same with tv programmes and at her little music play group things that she goes to. Often seemingly terrified of the props eg. a toy spider. She is always the last to go and get an instrument or whatever and is scared to do so. Won't do any part of the class without me.
One on one with the few friends we have over she is incredibly full on - wanting hugs and handholding until the other child often backs off and runs away from her sad she will also copy another child's emotions - laugh if they laugh, cry if they cry. . She doesn't attend nursery yet so hasn't socialised with very many kids

Sorry its so long and jumbled. I'm still trying to organise my thoughts on it. DH thinks shes fine and will grow out of it but he doesn't take her to groups or play dates so doenst really see. I am a bit of a worrier myself so it could be me over reacting. I would really appreciate honest opinions on whether this is all normal and if I can do anything to help her.

JessicaWakefield1 Sat 19-Oct-13 22:19:00

Thats really long - sorry!

bundaberg Sat 19-Oct-13 22:25:10

honestly? i would speak to your HV or GP.

Your DH might be absolutely right, she may well grow out of it. I am sure there are plenty of children who are simply more anxious than others but who gradually grow into themselves and are just fine,

but there is also a chance that there is something underlying. Things that stood out to me from your post and made me think <hmm> to myself were the hiding from people when they come round, issues with getting dressed, copying other peoples emotions, the really full on behaviour around others (that isn't reciprocated)

I am honestly not one to internet-diagnose, but I have a son (possibly 2!) with autism and you do tend to spot unusual behaviours in other children quite quickly. Not saying your child has autism necessarily, but some of her behaviours could point to something like that.

That said she is very young still, so like I said before there is plenty of chance that these are things she will grow out of. I just would see someone about it now because if they're willing to refer you to the appropriate people then the earlier the better. No-one will diagnose your child with something they don't have, but if she does need some extra support then it's best to get in the system early IMO.

Also, if you're worrying about it then sometimes it's good to see a professional simply to put your mind at rest

omama Sat 19-Oct-13 22:42:48

OP my ds is pretty similar & there is nothing wrong with him at all, its just down to his temperament. He is very sensitive in nature. He doesnt like group activities eg playgroups, music groups at all, goes very quiet & anxious, wont play with other kids, gets very distressed if another child cries, doesnt like loud noises etc, yet at home (where he is comfortable) he is chatty, loud & full of beans.

I'd recommend reading the following book, lots of great hints & tips to help you understand & raise your sensitive child.

JessicaWakefield1 Sat 19-Oct-13 22:57:18

Thank you both for taking the time to read and reply - I will definitely check out the book.
She is very vocal and a proper chatterbox at home, loves having friends over on a one on one and does enjoy imaginative play so most of the major red flags for autism just don't seem to fit - although obvious things like misreading social cues and imitating emotions seem a bit odd...

icepole Sat 19-Oct-13 22:59:43

My son is like this. He has selective mutism. It takes him a long time to settle anywhere. Yesterday we went to a museum and he ended up doing nothing because he just couldn't. He needs more time for things. It is a big worry. I would certainly talk to someone.

JessicaWakefield1 Sat 19-Oct-13 23:14:45

icepole do you mind me asking in what ways is your DS similar? DD does sometimes refuse to talk to adults who strike up a conversation when we are out and about but I had put this down to shyness although she is improving with this - will thank shop keepers etc.
She is ok with new environments eg. soft play or different people's houses and tends to settle in fairly quickly. .

JessicaWakefield1 Sat 19-Oct-13 23:19:12

Also who would I raise these concerns with? A GP? Would they take this seriously at this stage? I can't help but think they'd write a lot of it up to terrible twos and a new baby sister (as DH does!) I wish I could be so relaxed about it. I feel so bad for her that shes anxious when she is two years old - she should just be happy. I feel I have failed her.

bundaberg Sun 20-Oct-13 08:46:16

It's worth writing a list of your concerns, no matter how small and taking that.
See the gp and explain why you're worried.

bundaberg Sun 20-Oct-13 08:47:56

You haven't failed her at all. Won't get into a full on nature vs nurture debate but I think a lot of personality is inbuilt.
Failing her would be ignoring your concerns or not even noticing her anxiety! You aren't, you're doing your best and that's all anyone can ask for :-)

HighVoltage Sun 20-Oct-13 08:56:40

Just wanted to second the Highly Sensitive child book recommendation.

DS1 has definitely shown traits of high sensitivity - always startled at new stuff generally, loud noises, sudden changes in light, used to cry at sad bits in stories (or even when characters got dirty). But, whether it was helping him through the book's understanding or possibly growing up a bit he is much less sensitive at 3.5 and even when to the cinema for the first time last week.

He's still not good with new people but we practice greeting new people as a sort of game (one if the book's tips) and he's getting more confident.

TheOnlyOliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 20-Oct-13 09:13:55

We've moved this to behaviour for you
<cheeky Sunday morning bump>

JessicaWakefield1 Sun 20-Oct-13 10:27:03

Thanks for all the advice. I have just ordered the highly sensitive child book off Amazon - even just reading the reviews a lot of it seems to fit dd. Hopefully it will help me help her..

Goldmandra Sun 20-Oct-13 11:08:49

Some children with HF Autism can present like this at two but so can children who are simply shy and sensitive.

I thought my DD1 was just shy and sensitive but she received a diagnosis of AS when she was 12 because her difficulties made High School do much to cope with.

You can't rule out Autism because a child gives eye contact or plays imaginatively (especially if it's solitary play) any more than you can diagnose for just those reasons. Autism is a whole complex picture which goes across many aspects of a child's life and ruling it in or out requires a comprehensive assessment.

Children grow and develop in different ways and your DD could grow in confidence and overcome her difficulties or they may become greater as she gets older.

If you get to a point where you feel that her anxiety is preventing her from leading the life she should, that's the time to ask for an assessment.

In the meantime stop blaming yourself and keep offering her opportunities to do lots of things without too much pressure which will only serve to make her anxiety worse.

JessicaWakefield1 Sun 20-Oct-13 17:41:57

Goldmamdra I really dont think she's autistic, she literally has none of the symptoms of autism on the several checklists I've looked at. She just seems so anxious in certain situations but by no means all social situations.
She also definitely prefers to play with others than by herself and is ok in small groups it's just after playing ok for a while she then seems to become too much for the other child. Following them, hugging them and trying to get them to join in with her games. In large groups she is definitely intimidated and shrinks into herself. Situations like parties are a struggle for her but smaller parties at people's houses that she knows she is fine and after a few minutes can be the life and soul!! Which is just so contradictory to her other behaviour and so nice to see.
The other thing I really don't understand is the intense fear of certain tv programmes and books (the gruffalo is a big no go area!)
I wonder if it would help or hinder her if she were to attend nursery?

pukkapine Sun 20-Oct-13 17:51:18

I have 3, nearly 4, year old twins and they are just like you describe... or were... they are definitely improving with age. They no longer hide ALL the time when people visit. And honestly I don't give a fig if people think they are rude because they are shy - I have an older one so maybe I'm more immune to that. Of course I encourage pleases and thank you's but they are shy and pushing them to be more 'out there' than are comfortable with would be counter-productive. I find that giving them what they need in terms of time to adjust to situations, gentle encouragement, is far more productive in bringing out their true selves away from the shyness. So to be honest I'd be inclined to agree with your DH and say it's just temperament and will be ok.

Goldmandra Sun 20-Oct-13 19:47:24

OK. I must have misread your posts because I had the feeling you were in two minds. Parent's instincts are generally a good guide.

Do you think she could be getting some sort of sensory overload in large groups?

The key to supporting anxious children is usually making them feel as safe and secure and possible while offering them opportunities to explore and experiment. For that reason sending her to nursery may make matters worse for her but who knows? When people ask this question there is always a reply from someone who feels that starting nursery was the making of their anxious child.

JessicaWakefield1 Sun 20-Oct-13 21:49:52

No Goldmandra it does read like that - sorry. I think I'm just very confused by some of her behaviour as it seems at odds with other parts of her personality.
I will definitely be holding off on nursery for now. She's had a big change with the arrival of dd2 so will be leaving it at the moment.

sittinginthesun Sun 20-Oct-13 22:00:59

my nine year old son was very similar at that age. He was terrified of entertainers, strangers etc, refused to wear fancy dress, wouldn't join in at parties. ..

I saw our gp and health visitor, and also spoke to nursery as he went part time from six months. everyone agreed that it was just his nature and that he is super sensitive.

at nine years old he has learned to manage most areas but still finds new people and situations a struggle. I was posting here a few weeks ago about this!

I found it was best not to force him, just let him find his own feet, but to encourage and look confident when we were facing a new situation togethed.

Goldmandra Sun 20-Oct-13 22:32:17

S'OK, Jessica.

Just so you know, I would have been saying very similar things about DD1 at this age so I know where you're coming from. I had a HV telling me she was gifted and would never cope in mainstream education, friends telling me she was too clingy and I should farm her out to a nursery, and family telling me she was perfectly normal. To be fair she was pretty normal for our family but that doesn't mean she was normal smile

I think you're right that any concerns raised now would just be put down to the new baby. In your position I think I'd sit back, watch and wait for a while, perhaps keeping a diary of her behaviour if I thought I needed to get professional advice because it's so easy for people to dismiss concerning behaviour as normal until the severity and regularity of it is very clear.

It is OK to ask for an assessment, perhaps in 6 to 9 months, based solely on her anxieties. They will automatically consider things like ASD but will take your views into account and can just give you strategies to help with anxiety if that's what you want.

In the meantime enjoy your two little ones. Before you know it they'll be off to uni shock

birdsnotbees Sun 20-Oct-13 22:42:33

My DS was very like this at the same age. Wouldn't join in, very distressed at noise, big groups, new things. Tried nursery, had to take him out. Took him ages to settle into pre-school & then school. He's now in year 1 & happy, confident, a completely changed child. Still reserved in some situations but nothing like he used to be. I beat myself up about it endlessly when he was small but we were patient & he had similarly kind & patient teachers at school - which made the crucial difference - & I know for a fact now that it's nature not nurture as his little sister is the total opposite. Keep an eye on her, but she sounds very sensitive, like my DS, & it turned into a blessing for him: he's a clever, kind & funny boy who has great empathy for others.

sittinginthesun Mon 21-Oct-13 19:32:08

I've just bought the Sensitive Child Book, after hearing so many people mention it on here.

I'm amazed - not only does it describe my son, but also me and to some extent my DH. We were only discussing earlier today how the world seems to have moved on and people with our personalities have been left behind to some extent. I'm still on the first chapter, but it is making so much sense.

Certainly worth a read, OP.

icepole Wed 23-Oct-13 15:43:26

He gets very anxious around people, he shuts down when he is outside the home and can't talk adults. If he visits a friend or cousin he takes about 45 mins before he will leave my side, a bit longer to start speaking.

icepole Wed 23-Oct-13 15:43:39

He gets very anxious around people, he shuts down when he is outside the home and can't talk adults. If he visits a friend or cousin he takes about 45 mins before he will leave my side, a bit longer to start speaking.

LittleSiouxieSue Wed 23-Oct-13 16:47:05

I think I would try nursery from 3 because there might be real problems ahead if she is not beginning to play and have some confidence around other children and adults. I do not consider nursery "palming off" because you can start with small input and increase as confidence grows. The nursery will have experienced staff who can advise and I am always sorry when people jump to diagnose autism! This is wrong . Also have you considered that she is getting worse because you have a new baby? I remember my DD1 changed into an attention seeking monster when her sister arrived, especially during breast feeding sessions! Could the behaviour, where she becomes the centre of attention due to her refusal to take part, speak, dress, hide etc be part of the realisation that baby no 2 has arrived? I don't think her behaviour is consistent in that she is picking and choosing when to be scared. It appears to be, mostly, in front of other people or getting dressed to get maximum effect so that you comfort her, spend time solely with her, cajole her etc etc. I am not sure a GP will have the answer but I think I agree with your DH that she will improve as life with her sibling becomes the norm!

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