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DDs mental health, should I worry or is it her age?

(17 Posts)
sensesworkingovertime Tue 16-Apr-13 16:35:41

Hi, DD is 11 yrs. She is sensitive, thoughtful, kind, funny, loves animals, loves to read (not trying to say she's perfect but has lots of good points).

Anyway her funny moods are wearing me out. Only today she came out of school with a long face saying she hated everyone on her table, blah, blah, nobody likes to play the games she plays, nobody is a loyal friend and they all let you down. She seems to become more attached to inanimate objects (today it was a pencil she found on the floor) because it was 'special' and 'it doesn't let you down like people do'.

But she is so up and down, other days she comes out talking about one particular person she likes and seems friendly with but this changes like the wind. She never seems to make a good friend with one particular person. It is wearing me out worrying whether she is okay and listening to her moaning today really got me down.

LightAFire Tue 16-Apr-13 18:10:45

Might be hormones partly to blame?

Also though might be worth talking to her about stuff like what makes a good friend, how to keep friends etc, if she doesn't seem happy. See if you can work out whether she really does just have a bad crowd (can happen!) or whether she is perhaps being a little unrealistic in what she expects from friends, or whether it's just an occasional mood and other days is she actually ok.

If it gets any worse ask to see her teacher and see if they've noticed anything. Also at that age - she must be coming up to secondary? Does she perhaps feel a bit anxious? Anything else going on?

Children can just go through patches of falling out with friends - my DD went through that at start of Y2 and then got over it again, and sorted out more arguments as a teacher than I've had hot dinners! But always worth digging a little to see if there is anything really troubling her. Good luck!

sensesworkingovertime Tue 16-Apr-13 19:58:40

Light you must have read my mind I was just thinking that and she is getting well developed.

You speak wisely, yes, we have had chats about the friends thing before but it will do no harm to have another I agree. She does seem to have some bad luck, I mean at home there's hardly any kids and the ones there are aren't too pleasant. Once she played with the boy round the corner, suggested they clean cars and give their earnings to charity (!!!!shock not the sweet shop) and I don't think he has bothered with her since.

I will speak to teacher if things don't improve, she is coming up to secondary and I'm sure is feeling a bit anxious about that. Thanks for listening.

Crawling Tue 16-Apr-13 20:14:19

I was having major bipolar episodes in my teens people put them down to hormones. The biggest tell tale sign is whether her sleep is effected with her moods. When down I would sleep all day when up 3 hours.

Watch her sleep and see if it is drastically different according to her mood.

My dad questioned it but was constatnly told its just hormones grrr so I suffered for 10 years uneccessarily.

Crawling Tue 16-Apr-13 20:17:58

But when I was up I didnt come home at night slept round took drugs when normally I was a near perfect angel.

DoctorAnge Tue 16-Apr-13 20:23:30

I agree with crawling. I was showing signs of anxiety at this age. The episodes would throughout my life become quite crippling. I say keep a real eye on this.

LightAFire Tue 16-Apr-13 20:43:54

Aw giving her money to charity! She sounds lovely!

Crawling and Doctor are right to advise keep an eye on it definitely, but the majority of issues with children are temporary blips/anxieties (playgrounds can be tough places!) so try not to worry too much just yet. Be there for her, keep her talking to you, and you will get to the bottom of it - the very fact that you have noticed and posted gives me great confidence that if it did turn out to be anything more serious you would get to the bottom of it!

Hope she is feeling better soon smile

sensesworkingovertime Thu 18-Apr-13 21:08:03

Thanks to all of you, Light you are kind. She is lovely, can try my patience to the extreme but she is a good child on the whole which gets me all the more upset. I will keep a close eye on it.

NanaNina Thu 18-Apr-13 21:46:45

Oh I agree with Light - she talks sense and I wouldn't worry about mental illness, though I am not trying to under estimate the difficulties of the posters who began suffering at this age and have continued to have difficulties.

Is she going to secondary in Sept. Assume she is in year 6. My dil is a primary school teacher and has year 6, and says that there are ongoing issues with the girls in the friendship groups, as they fall in and out on an almost daily basis. Often she has parents coming in asking in their girl can be moved away from girl X etc etc and my very sensible dil says that she gently advises the parents that the girls will sort things out for themselves, and she would only step in if a girl was getting bullied or made complaints to her.

Your daughter sounds lovely and in the first line of your post you said she is sensitive - maybe a tad hypersensitive and that could be the trouble. I agree have a word with her teacher. I also think that she could be having a hormone surge (my DGD, whose mother is the teacher) started showing signs of breast development around that age and my dil says several year 6 girls have started their periods. For some reason it appears that puberty begins on average 2 years before i did 10 years ago.

Try not to get too anxious as your daughter will pick up on this and that's not a good thing. Try not to ask too much about friends and make a light hearted comment about the falling in and falling out. I'm sure if there was a real problem in school, they would have called you in.

Is she an only child or do you have other children. As you don't mention problems at home I am assuming you are only worried about the issues at school. Secondary school is looming and this really IS a big change for so many children, but you will cross that bridge when you come to it.

LightAFire Thu 18-Apr-13 21:59:23

My dil is a primary school teacher and has year 6, and says that there are ongoing issues with the girls in the friendship groups, as they fall in and out on an almost daily basis.
Yep! Not just Y6 either... (NanaNina your dil sounds very wise!)

Senses my own DD is very similar. Just keep the lines of communication open - she will appreciate knowing she has you on her side smile

sensesworkingovertime Sun 21-Apr-13 17:26:25

Thanks Nana and Light again, you are my fairy godmothers on this one! I totally agree with you on the way the girls are at this age. When my DD was in year 4 she was on the very sharp receiving end of a friend turning on her, going off with the another 'friend' and then they ganged up on her horribly. I think it really upset her and since then she seems to have steered clear of trying to get too matey with someone and has preferred the company of boys. She tells me constant tales (as do the other mums) of the cattiness that goes on with the other girls.

At home there are not really any other children around for her to play with, thankfully she gets on well with her older brother most of the time!

LightAFire Sun 21-Apr-13 20:09:00

You're welcome Senses!

FWIW I was just the same as a child. I did learn better how to handle it eventually and have some wonderful women in my life I've been friends with for 20 years, so I'm sure she will get there!

NanaNina Sun 21-Apr-13 21:21:24

Hello again senses and yes they are definitely working overtime! Your mention of what happened to your DD in Yr 4 reminded me of my DGD's (A) time in junior school. There was a girl who "claimed" A as her best friend and was very possessive of her and wouldn't let her play with anyone else. They had been together through nursery and reception but N got worse as she got older. Her mom amd dad were realy nice people, but N just had an elder sister when she and A first met up, but 2 younger sibs arrived very closely and I thin N might have felt pushed out.

One morning (waiting for a school assembly) in the playground my dil and me actually saw a child walk up to A and started to chat - N immediately put herself between A and the other child, and manouvered A away. A used to say that N wouldn't let her play with anyone else and I used to ask her why she let N boss her about and she would say she was afraid N would tell the teacher and she'd get in trouble!

It got much worse when A started a dance class and there was another girl from A's class at school in the class (we didn't know this) and A and she immediately stuck together. N found out about this and wanted to join the class but her mom couldn't get her there on time (I used to meet A from school most days then) and I wasn't going to offer to take N!! The class was on a Wed and A said N was particularly horrid to her on a Wed and told other girls that A had done this that or the other to her and even pretended to cry on a few occasions!

The story has a good end as N's family moved to Wales with her dad's job at the end of Yr 5. A was so excited to be able to play with who she wanted and had lots of friends. I used to get really upset about N and tried to get my dil to go to the school about it, but the wise dil said that a parent's job was to teach the child the skills to cope with the Ns of this world and anyone else who was right she was! A said she would never let anyone else treat her like that again.

A is now at an independent school (400 girls) - this is hard for me as I am totally against private education but my dil (the wise one!) really hated the local comp and wanted A to go to the grammar that she went to, but A didn't pass the extrance exam, so private school it was. They are having to make big sacrifices and I'm helping, and my biggest worry was that the girls would all be snobs and A wouldn't have friends (as she lives in a perfectly nice house) but on the wrong side of the tracks! She is undoubtedly mixing with girls from very wealthy families, but she has lots of friends and has been invited to lots of parties/sleepovers.

However there is a girl (they have names like Isabella, Imogen, Harriet, Madeleine, Francesca!) who gets a gang of girls round her and then drops them, then they make friends with someone else, so she tries to get them back in her gang and they refuse!! A thinks it's all quite amusing. My dil and my son of course have done a good job with A - a coment on her report said "A's emotional maturity is very much appreciated in the friendship groups." I knew there was a point inthis story - I'm getting there. The girl that she made friends with (O) on her first day at the school was she found out only there till Christmas and I was upset and said "Oh A don't just stick with O or you might be stuck when she leaves. Wise dil said quietly "she won't be stuck" and of course she isn't. I still worry sometimes about friends and ask her about them like I don't really want to know, all casual like. She is a smart cookie and has sussed me out and said recently "No nan I haven't got any friends, everybody hates me.!!!"

I don't know senses if you are asking your DD in a "casual" way about her friends - if so maybe learn from my experience! Also how are you doing at keeping your anxiety under wraps as this is really important.

Oh god being a parent is a job for life isn't - I still worry about my sons and they are in their 40s!! The worries change of course but the desire to protect doesn't and it can be tough when they are men!

sensesworkingovertime Tue 23-Apr-13 10:46:49

Wow Nana, you are working even more overtime than I am! Many thanks for the effort you put in that reply. Your DIL does sound wise, I am glad things are working out there for your family.

To be honest I don't really need to ask much about 'friends' because she tells me most days what has gone on and who she has played with, seems to be a different group everyday, I can't keep up! When she mentions people she particularly likes I casually ish say about why don't you invite them for tea? She will agree and then nothing comes of it. I feel like she is at an age where I should be letting go of the reins so she can sort these arrangement for herself, I have done a lot of that over the years and the result is usually not great (though her birthday tea went well recently).

The anxiety is up and down, depending on how she is each day, talk about riding a rollercoaster, as I never know how she is going to come out of school. I feel like she's got a sensible head on her shoulders, just from the things she says about the other children (but she can be very cynical for her age, 11rs btw!) and general comments she makes.

I just want her to settle with some nice friends, it doesn't sound a lot to ask but on the other hand it feels like climbing mount Everest would be easier at times!

LightAFire Tue 23-Apr-13 17:05:20

The really good thing is, with her going off to secondary soon, she has a chance at a totally fresh start and new friendship groups. And I always think better for them to play with a variety of people as otherwise they can get stuck in a situation if they then fall out.

She does sound quite aware and smart, so I do think she will be ok.

NanaNina Tue 23-Apr-13 20:52:58

Yes I do write long posts. It's because I listened to my sensible parents and did a year of commerce (and learned to touch type) after leaving school before I did anything else, and now it comes in very handy. SO I can type a long post in minutes, while I watch my partner hunched over his lap top doing the "hunt and peck" method!!

I think at 11, it's a bit too old for having girls round to tea, it's more likely to be Pizza hut/cinema/sleepover.

I'm sure your girl will be fine senses and this time next year you will be worrying about something different......that's the way it goes isn't it.

sensesworkingovertime Wed 24-Apr-13 18:51:47

Many thanks again for taking the time to reply, it's appreciated smile

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