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Separation anxiety in a 9 year old girl, advice please.

(7 Posts)
mrsnesbit Wed 28-Mar-12 14:14:35

Asking for my sister.
My wee niece has just turned 9.
Its always been there but is almost unmanagable at the moment.
At night she doesnt go to sleep till 11pm as she is in and out all night with tons of excuses, she constantly shouts out from her room to check my sister is there.
I picked her up from school yesterday, my sister cycled home behind us, niece was beside herself that she couldnt go with her mum, craning her neck to see her mum, when out of sight, niece was almost hysterical. (managed to calm her by saying we would race my sis and she should wait for her at the end of the road and walk the rest of the way home with her mum.

Constant attention seeking behaviour, argumentative, attitude, rude to sisters friends, rude to us..especially when there is more than 1 person with my sister, its like she cant bear any competition for her mums attention.

My niece stays at my mums house 5 nights a week, then goes to my sister flat at weekend. This is just because my sister works nights.

I have suggested she contacts her GP/HV/school re some councelling. Niece cant/wont say what is bothering her so much, she is very difficult to talk to.
Any advice.?

candr Wed 28-Mar-12 21:22:26

Try giving her a book to write and draw in daily, she should write what has stressed her out that day and then choose whether to share it with mum (they generally do want to share as it makes them feel very grown up). Does she go out with friends and their parents to see how her friends are with their parents?
As for the night time I would revert back to infant hood and settle her using the rapid return but not engaging in conversation. Remind her when she goes to bed that mummy is in the other room and needs some peace and quiet before 'her' bedtime. It may be that there is no problem she is just trying and getting attention for her behaviour and your sister needs to be firmer with her. She may find it hard knowing her mum is out when she is at grandparents so wants her when ever she is around, has she done any sleepovers as that is a good way of breaking the habit, she will not want to seem babyish in front of her friends.

mrsnesbit Thu 29-Mar-12 20:29:04

Thanks candr.
She has been on a few sleepovers but unfortunately is very disruptive and none of the families have been able to get to sleep till way into the wee hours (4am on the last sleepover) she will not settle or be told.

Funnily enough im not sure that she needs mush sleep because she doesnt go to sleep till after 11pm every night, and gets up next morning cheerful and without appearing to be tired the next day.

The diary idea sounds like a good one, i will suggest this to my sister. Thanks again.

candr Thu 29-Mar-12 21:03:38

Does her school do a residential trip cause if they do your sister needs to work on this quickly to enable her daughter to go. I encouraged parents to have sleepovers at their own house too. Does she ever stay overnight with relatives?
I used to cope on very little sleep at her age but she needs to be able to stay in bed and be quiet to allow others to sleep (dim light just enough to read by if necessary) I hate to say it but she sounds very stubborn, if a friends parent tells her to go to sleep and she keeps them up till 4am she needs to sort out her attitude.

gaunyerseljeannie Thu 29-Mar-12 21:10:13

See GP for a referral to CAMHS. This is about more than the presenting problem and your sister needs to be part of the solution.

mrsnesbit Fri 30-Mar-12 13:08:58

I agree that there is much more to this than what is on the surface, hence my suggestion that she takes her for councelling. This needs to be explored and managed and dealt with.

If niece was my child, i would be very very worried about her mental health and the fact that teenage years are looming, if there are these issues at aged 9, God only knows how these will explode then with hormones thrown into the mix.

She is a very troubled little girl but we are not sure why or what to do.
Its bad enough that family & friends do not want to be around her, avoiding contact with her and kids at school wont have anything to do with her becuase of her attitude and nasty tongue. Kids go home in tears because of her apparently and she is forever bieng asked to leave the classroom and pulled up for behaviour.
She just shrugs, scowls and claims to not care.
Its so upsetting to see this because she is lonely and troubled.

candr Fri 30-Mar-12 19:32:28

Has your sister spoken to the teacher as if she was in my class I would put her on a positive behaviour chart where she gets ticks for good attitude and behaviour in lesons and has to get 4 out of 6 ticks for example to get a reward, I would allow her to choose a different friend each time and thy get some special play time ie 15 min computor or outdoor play time as this also helps create better friendships and children look forward to being chosen by her. You don't dwell on the lessons she doesn't get ticks for just make it positive. If the school won't do this your sister can do a chart at home and ask the teacher each day to say how many ticks she earnt.
There is always a reason behind this kind of behaviour, she may talk to a teacher if she won't talk to family, kids used to tell me all sorts of stuff they thought their parents would say was silly.

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