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How to help 11 yo DD. Not sure if this is health,mental health or development/behaviour.

(13 Posts)
platforms Tue 01-Mar-11 20:46:36

Where do I start?

I guess this has come to a head because DD has a 2 night residential trip coming up in a few months time. Its for all of the year 6s before they leave, it will be great fun and everyone from the small year group will go.

DD wants to go but theres a potential problem.

Any sleepover that shes been to, if there has been more than just her and the host friend, has ended up in her in tears, claiming to have a tummy ache. We end up getting a call from the host parents and have to pick her up.

This has also happened occasionally when shes been to a birthday party.

We've tried talking to her about it but she claims not to know why shes getting the tummy aches and that it isn't because of anything else (eg. its not that she doesn't want to sleep over as she does).

Our theories include:
-she feels out of her depth when theres more than one other friend (although shes generally fine with groups at school/activities/parties)
-she gets excited or nervous and that gives her tummy ache. She also has a fear of vomiting/others vomiting so maybe worries that tummy ache means she will be sick??
-she is crap when shes tired and isn't good at getting to sleep, so if surrounded by lots of chattering excitable friends maybe she hates the fact she can't just go to sleep.

She wants to go on the trip. We DO NOT want a phone call on the first night saying that she is beside herself in tears, has tummy ache etc and could we pick her up (we also don't want to pay £200 for her to come home within hours!). The residential is too far away for her to come home at nights (and also I feel she would miss out on a great bonding experience with her year group if she came home)

What should we do? Talking to her seems to get us nowhere as she claims not to know why it happens. Should I approach the GP and if so what can they do? (counselling? placebo meds? treatment for anxiety?)

Tras Tue 01-Mar-11 20:52:39

It definitely does sound like anxiety. You could talk her through some relaxation techniques, ie breathing etc. Why don't you try encouraging her to have a few overnights before this? Even somewhere new with you.

I can understand your concerns about the money but also agree it would be a great experience if she could manage it.

schroeder Tue 01-Mar-11 20:57:08

It's a big step isn't it? My friends daughter had never been able to stay overnight without her parents until her year six trip, she did manage it in the end and enjoyed it too.

Speak to the teacher they've probably dealt with this kind of thing before and should be able to reassure you.

I didn't think my ds would cope with 2 nights away either, but they grow up a lot in year 6.

I know what you mean, especially about the money. I don't know what it's like at your school, but here everyone goes and when 1 couldn't they had to sit in with year 5-a terrible fategrin

platforms Tue 01-Mar-11 20:57:23

Thanks for replying Tras -my post was longer than I intended!!

Shes fine with overnights at grandparents, or when we're on holiday or even when shes stayed overnight at a friends (when she has been the only guest)...its just when others are added into the equation I think.

Do you think she needs 'professional' help with the relaxation techniques though? And if so who?

platforms Tue 01-Mar-11 21:01:04

schroeder - she won't miss us {wink]! Shes stayed with grandparents for about 5 nights without us so its not being away from home or the time that seems to be the issue.

I will talk to the teacher though.

I really, really want her to go and enjoy it. From what I've heard about the trips in previous years they have an amazing time.

Sirzy Tue 01-Mar-11 21:13:19

I can fully understand your daughters position, I was very similar to her but wouldn't stay anywhere else. Quite hard to explain but with me it was worries about things going wrong, and also about not being liked. I have never been popular and always worried that I would be left on the sidelines while others played/chatted etc (perhaps why you DD is fine with only one person?)

I made excuses not to go on school holidays in year 6 and year 7. We had no more so I missed that experience which I regret now so I really would try to push to get her there if you can.

I was 14 before I finally did it, I am in St John Ambulance and went on a residential course. It was a massive step for me and I still remember how scared I was when I was dropped off there but when I was there I was having so much fun I didn't get a chance to get homesick. Since then I have done so many course and although I was always nervy when I went it was always fine.

Do talk to the teacher, when we have young people coming on courses who we know are nervous we know to keep an eye on them from a distance.

Discuss with them her making contact with you and if she should or not. Sometimes phoning home makes the homesickness worse, and makes the parents panic if they don't sound happy. Sometimes it can help though and can also put parents mind at ease.

I would say to an extent the school may need to be cruel to be kind and if she feels "ill" the first night to tell her "well lets see how you feel in the morning" and take it from there. Of course if she gets really upset then you will have to step in but generally when they get tucked up bed gossiping away they forget about all the nerves and the next day they are fine.

Good luck, do let us know how she gets on.

platforms Tue 01-Mar-11 21:48:08

Thank you for sharing your experiences Sirzy.

I'm glad you overcame it in the end.

What you said about "worrying" rings very true. DD is such a worrier, even about things that she doesn't need to worry about, things that don't even involve her or things that don't warrant anyone worrying about them.

1234ThumbWar Tue 01-Mar-11 21:52:24

You could also ask her teacher about the sleeping arrangements. Sometimes they are in rooms of different sizes, perhaps she could be put into a smaller group.

PixieOnaLeaf Tue 01-Mar-11 21:58:06

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PixieOnaLeaf Tue 01-Mar-11 21:58:26

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llamaface Wed 02-Mar-11 09:44:43

What happens when you have several children to stay at your house?

Could you teach her simple relaxation exercises - deep breathing, muscle tensing and relaxing. Have a look at

obvioulsy will need some simplifying for a yr 6, but could defniitely put some into practice. key is to practice lots NOW so she is really comfortable with techniques. Talking about tummy ache, and how its our bodies telling us that we feel worried might help (ie its NOT that you are poorly!) Show her anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of, and can definitely be beaten! If she is the anxious type, skills learnt now to cope could be v helpful in the future!!!

platforms Wed 02-Mar-11 13:08:58

Actually I was just wondering about having some sleepovers and seeing how she gets on with a few friends staying rather than just one. Might be OK if its on her territory?

I'll also take a look at the relaxation techniques.

Thanks all for input so far.

jqH Fri 21-Oct-11 13:21:54

Probably a bit late in the day to be adding to this topic but that could be my daughter you're describing. How did the Yr6 trip go?

My dd was fine on her trip in 2010 but went to a guide camp this summer and had to be picked up early after a couple of days. She is fine during the day when they're active but at night seems to develop the tummy ache (she is also extremely paranoid about being sick - though she never really has much experience of it).

We also suffer at sleepovers and if she has her phone I normally get texts about how sick she feels.. So i'm never really relaxed when she's away as I keep thinking I'm going to get a call.

It seems as though the desire to take part in these things is overtaken by the anxiety. I am a little worried about a ski trip she's going on in Feb and need to give her some coping mechanisms...

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