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Rituals in children

(4 Posts)
Thomcat Tue 25-Oct-11 12:39:25

I am a bit worried about my 5 year old, maybe a bit overly worried but thought the best thing I could do for now would be to trash out these worries with Mumsnetters.

In the last week I have noticed my 5 year old tap her cheeks, then cross her arms at the wrist and tap again and then, i think because she does it quickly, she taps again with uncrossed arms.

The reason I'm possibly overworried about this is because my 36 yr old sister has HORRIFIC OCD and has had it since she was 3, really bad since she was 13. It's the sort of OCD that prevents her working, going out, having friends.... or a life sad

Last night I spoke to DD2 about this, very gently, asking her, in a smiley way how it made her feel when she did this and did she have nay other little thigns she liked to do like this.

She showed me how she liked to pull her top down, 2 tugs to each side, cross arms and tug again etc and then she showed me how she likes to click her teeth together in little multiples in a certain way and how each set of teeth tapping together has a colour code or something.

I told her it was ok, that it was fine and that I had a funny little thing about colouring in when I was little and assured her not to worry about telling me this stuff etc.

I've made an appt to go and see my GO next week to talk about if there is anything I should or shouldn't do.

Meanwhile, anyone else with experience of this.
Am paranoid she'll end up with OCD as bad as my sister and I already have a child with additional needs.
It's that time of the month for me so probably extra emotional but can NOT stop crying!

Elibean Tue 25-Oct-11 13:12:49

((Thomcat)) can only imagine how memories of your sister might be flooding back, as well as the stress of worrying about your dd, not to mention hormones!

I'm no expert, hopefully someone who is will come along soon. I would say that my eldest dd developed some phobic tendencies at around 4-5 - she is repulsed by buttons, of all things (it has a name, and I've discovered is not uncommon - but pain with school uniform) and tends to be scared of new situations, heights, anything that makes her feel out of control.

I think your way of handling it so far is wonderful - hats off to you, honestly. The most important thing, I discovered in talking to adults who had phobias as children, was the way their parents reacted to it all: not minimizing, but not exaggerating/fussing, keeping trust and openess so they could talk about it. You did it beautifully.

I think you are wise to talk to your GP, and get information...at the same time, be careful (I'm sure you will be) not to over-react to self-soothing behaviour your dd could possibly just grow out of. Also, has she started school recently? Or made any other changes that might be increasing her anxiety and/or need to feel safe? If so, I would try talking about/around those situations...give her space to externalize any worries or conflicts....play with little dolls who are starting school, or doing wahtever it is that might be worrying her.

DO remember your dd is not your sister smile, whatever her issues.

Good luck, and hang in there - I'm sure someone wiser than me will be along soon!

Thomcat Tue 25-Oct-11 13:22:36

Thanks so much. Can't tell you how nice it is to read your post. I feel so anxious about it, although of course will never let her know that.
You're right of course, she's not my sister, thank you. It is VERY important that I do keep telling myself that. Maybe the tears I'm crying is partly to do with the grief I feel over my sister. Partly becuase I have a child with additional needs already and I just want DD2 left alone and worry free. I'm sure it's just one of those things and she'll grow out of it but jesus the worry!
Thanks again for you words. I am very concious not to give life to these anxieteies by talking about them and making them grow, but also don't want her to feel ashamed and more anxious about them.
God this parenting lark sucks sometimes.

Thomcat Tue 25-Oct-11 13:31:48

I meant to say that I can't think of anything that has happened recently that might have made her more anxious. She is in year 1 at school and seems very happy. It's quite academic there but I would say that she is thriving there. She is very passionate and a little highly strung has loads of energy and always seems really happy.

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