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Any advice for a 5 year old who gets really anxious?

(7 Posts)
susan198130 Wed 10-Jan-18 09:05:58

My son is 5 and he is quite an anxious child. He's been like this probably for the last 9 or 10 months, and it's generally around him needing to go to the toilet.

If ever we go somewhere where he's not been before (or sometimes if we've been there), he will always say he needs the toilet (for a poo). You take him and he doesn't go. As soon as we get anywhere, he'll ask if there are toilets, I'll tell him there are, and then he will need to go. And this isn't the thing that some children have about always wanting to go to the toilet just so they can have a look at the toilets. I know some kids do that, god knows why!

He gets like this with going to school as well. I've told him that it's just in his head, and that every time he gets that feeling, to think about something nice or something that he enjoys doing. When he's with me, I'll just non-stop talk to distract him, but it only works for a while. For his nativity play, he was crying on stage, so I told his teacher. I knew it would be that he thought he needed to go the toilet, it was, he went and as is usually the case, didn't go.

We've done the worry box, that didn't seem to work. We try distraction, and that works to a point, but then I can't do that if he's at school. I've also tried telling him that when he gets this feeling, to take a big deep breath in and exhale slowly through his nose. That hasn't worked.

He's going on a school trip in a couple of months time. It's only a couple of miles away, but I'm going to have to take him there a few times beforehand, just so he's familiar with it.

Does anyone have any advice or has had a similar experience? All I keep getting told is it's just a phase, but I'm concerned it'll just get worse.

selly24 Fri 12-Jan-18 22:15:43

I don't think this is a phase. He is displaying anxious behaviour- using the private surroundings of the toilets to calm himself and give him.his own space and take him away from other people. I would seek help for social anxiety. CAMHS is seriously underfunded, so if you are at all able, would seek out and pay for a specialist with this age group.

susan198130 Sat 13-Jan-18 09:03:16

I think he just gets really nervous, which makes him feel like he needs a poo. Generally, once he's said he needs to go, we take him to the toilet and he doesn't go, he's fine after that.

We went away last summer for the weekend. We went to the beach, and as soon as we stepped on the beach, he said he needed to go to the toilet. Took him, he didn't go. Then the next day, as soon as we stepped on that beach again, he said he needed to go. So it's almost like he associates certain places with this anxious feeling.

I've wondered about a life coach. I've heard about them, but don't really know how effective they are. I might have a look on youtube and see if there are any videos. I did see one life coach online somewhere and it's about £300 (and I'm sure that was only for 3 sessions, which is a lot of money). Money that I don't really have.

CheapSausagesAndSpam Sat 13-Jan-18 11:55:10

A life coach won't be suitable OP. You need a Cognitive Behaviour Therapist.

Have a look here. This is the CAHMS site but if you can pay, ask your GP for a recomendation

www.clinical-partners.co.uk/child-adolescents/cbt

Whether he actually FEELs like he needs a poo or as the previous posters says, he's just saying that so he can get five mins peace is bythe by really.

It's slightly OCD type behaviour....

What happens if there is no toilet? What does he do then?

susan198130 Sat 13-Jan-18 16:07:39

If there's no toilet, he gets upset. We'll take him somewhere away from people, and then we kind of act as if he needs to pee, so take him to a tree or whatever if we're at the woods and see if he can go. That sometimes settles him, but if not, then we just have to find somewhere where there's a toilet or go home. It can be really difficult, especially because everywhere we go, we sort of have to make sure we know where the toilets are.

If we were to go somewhere like softplay though, one that's he's not been to before, he's usually ok because he's doing something that will completely distract him from thinking about it.

susan198130 Sat 13-Jan-18 16:08:59

If I make a doctors appointment about this, can I go on my own without my son, or would I need to take my son? He's not the best talker in the world anyway, he does get very shy around people he doesn't know, so he would probably just end up agreeing to anything they say.

Goldmandra Sat 13-Jan-18 21:55:50

Yes you can go to an appointment without him to discuss this. It's a good idea and I did it when I first requested an assessment for autism for my DD2.

I would strongly recommend keeping a diary for a few days to demonstrate that this isn't just a little boy making sure he isn't going to wet his pants. Problems like this are very easy to misinterpret in ways that minimise them and make them sound like normal behaviour, especially when doing so saves someone's budget.

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