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highly emotional/sensitive seven-year-old daughter - help!

(4 Posts)
scattercushion Wed 12-Mar-14 11:23:56

My dd feels things very deeply, cries at the drop of a hat, is very anxious, has low self-esteem, struggles at school, has borderline dyslexia, doesn't like being left alone, has nightmares, etc etc.

She is also a very caring, sensitive and lovely girl but I am at my wits' end with her. This morning she was in floods of tears about not wanting to do her recorder lesson this lunchtime because she has a playdate with a friend after school and basically wanted to spend lunchtime with her. The teacher says the recorder lessons help with her coordination and short-term memory problems associated with dyslexia so I want her to carry on with these, but tbh it's not about the recorder lessons, it's about how she spirals off into sobbing fits that are very hard to come back to normality from. We ended up being late for school because of it.

I have tried doing a reward chart about trying to stay calm and not immediately bursting into tears. It took a very long time to get those ticks, I can tell you, and you will enjoy the beautiful irony of this: when she finally completed the chart we went to the toy shop and she had the mother of all meltdowns about what to choose and was shaking and screaming and we had to leave. Oh joy. We talked through it and I explained that it wouldn't make sense to buy the reward if she was doing exactly what we were trying to stop. We returned the next day and bought a toy calmly, so a small achievement there.

But anyway... If anyone has any pearls of wisdom to help me I would be truly grateful. I know I was like this as a child and am still anxious to some extent but have managed to control it. So I think dd's huge emotional rollercoaster is touching a nerve with me and making me less patient and sympathetic than I should be. Do I need to just embrace her emotions rather than try and make her control/suppress them? Help help help!

Mumstheword21 Wed 12-Mar-14 12:05:17

Scatter, you might like to try to find a copy of "the highly sensitive child" by Elaine N. Aron - the tag line is "helping our children thrive when the world overwhelms them...".

IME (dd2 is a little younger than yours, but was bad enough for me to source the book!!!) you are completely right when you mention embracing rather than surpressing and perhaps an even greater understanding of her sensitive nature, plus reassurance that you are by far NOT the only one with a highly sensitive DD will help you find solutions to her anxieties. It honestly gets better once you begin to understand her emotions!! thanks

scattercushion Wed 12-Mar-14 12:21:50

Thank you mumstheword I'll buy it! It's good to know I'm not the only one! I despair when all her peers are becoming more independent and she seems to be becoming more fearful... My dh keeps going on about her joining clubs as if that's the solution - do you think that would help?

Mumstheword21 Wed 12-Mar-14 14:42:29

Mh DH was the same but in an attempt to get her to become more 'normal' it only exaggerated the anxiety and made her more fearful into complete meltdown state!!!

I genuinely think the book will enlighten you and also make you at feel so much more comfortable but in terms of clubs etc...if she is a slow to warm up type then it might be a case of finding clubs that 1. She is interested in and 2. Can go to with a good friend (we did this with ballet, we were amazed!!) or even things like swimming where you are always in view until she has gained confidence/is happy in her surroundings.

It sorts of seems a bit like mollycoddling (DH thought this at first, now is grateful the screaming and meltdowns are less frequent!!) but actually once you and her (and others around!!) begin to understand these intense feelings and what may/will not bring them about, you can navigate it all together and it will get easier as a result!

I could write a book about my are so not alone smile

That book will be brilliant though.

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