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9 Year Old - Anxiety/Depression or both?(10 Posts)
I am really stuck not knowing what to do. Dd is 9 and has always been a bit of a worrier, but now I think she might be depressed.
At school she puts on the appearance of being quite happy, but this year her concentration has gone downhill and she struggles with certain aspects of schoolwork and friendships. If something happens at school she tends to bottle it all up until she is at home and gets very angry to the point of being hysterical. She takes a negative view of everything and doesn't believe she is good at anything despite us telling her the opposite, yesterday she said she feels sad all the time while everyone around her is happy . At home we also have dd2 who is 3 and is very demanding, dd1 feels dd2 gets all the attention, leaving her out.
I don't know where to start with getting help. I feel there is nowhere we can go to at this point and I am scared that I am blowing everything out of proportion. What makes it confusing is that dd will appear happy and normal for a while, you think everything's ok then suddenly we get an outburst and are back to square one.
Please advise what I should do.
Can you talk to your daughter about it? If not, perhaps ask her teacher to offer her space to talk and see where it goes.
I have tried, but she doesn't want to - the issues only come out when she has an outburst and she is not calm.
I have spoken to her teacher about it at school this week, when I thought it was more about anxiety. Her teacher has said she can talk about these issues, but she's not the most approachable and even though she has the opportunity to talk to others at the school she chooses not to.
Ask school nurse or GP to see her? From your point of view the things I would recommend are
- start a list/jar and write down her strengths, positive things that happen or things she achieves, keep adding to it
- you and any other parents or grandparents find things that you and she enjoy doing together and up the amount of proper 1:1 activity time she gets
- think about your and her other parents style (are you a worrier? Can you sound critical? Are your expectations quite high? Lots of rules, or not enough?) Think about how you can work on these things. Relax on expectations if you can, unless they are too few.
- you could get her a diary or journal where she can write down any thoughts (she can write a code on the top of the page for whether its a page you are allowed to read or not).
- give her small age appropriate fun responsibilities (like learning to use the oven) and praise her to the hills for what she does. Get school to do the same.
- make sure she has good sleep hygeine and enough rest and activity
- model 'not catastrophising' 'mind reading' 'thinking the worst' etc...show her how to balance her negative thoughts or predictions with more realistic/optimistic thoughts
- if she spends time worrying, teach her what to distract herself with
Sorry, long, and not to say you don't do any or all of these things, but ime these things done well can make a really big difference.
Sorry, I missed the thing about dd2. Key to make sure dd1 gets attended to just as much, without tantrumming. I know this is hard, but really important for both children.
I've been having similar issues with my DS of the same age. First stop should be your GP - mine was fab and referred for counselling and to CAMHS. It's still an issue but I feel we've got much more of a handle on it now, and it's reassuring to know he's 'in the system', if that makes sense.
Also, you don't have to answer this here, but are there any other changes or difficulties at home that are unsettling both of them eg arguments, adult mental health, changes, uncertainty. In which case addressing those is important.
Brilliant ideas there safetocross! School sound like they're thinking of how to support her- it may just take some time for her to feel secure enough to open up
Thank You for the suggestions, they sound really good.
I am a worrier and suffer anxiety myself, and think dd1 picks up on this.
Dd2 is a major factor, as dd1 feels that since dd2 was born she has got all the attention. Dh works 6/7 days a week and comes home late in the evening so they spend the majority of the time with me, and it's been difficult getting the dc to do things together. Lately dd1 is getting more resentful as dd2 is quite competitive, trying to do anything her sister does, which irritates her and if they start playing together they usually end up arguing.
If I go to the school nurse or GP does dd have to be there or can I go myself? I am not sure if I can speak as openly in front of her in case of upsetting her.
No she doesn't need to be there but if you wanted to be referred on its good to keep her involved. I'd start with school nurse and get their advice, they will know local wait times for different services etc.. and may be able to do some direct work themselves.
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