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Six year old DD has asked for help to stop 'thinking bad things'(15 Posts)
Was not sure where to post this thread...
A bit of background. Our 6 year old DD has always been a 'passionate' little person. Her terrible two phase was horrific. She had intense tantrums that lasted a very long time. She used to bite herself when she got very upset. And me sometimes. Fast forward to now. If she is happy, she is so so happy, and if angry then very much so.
Lately (especially at bed time) she has started to say she can't stop thinking of bad things. The bad things can be about people dying, her not 'being normal' etc. No one around her has died and there is no 'name calling' or 'putting down' of her/her sister/OH/me in her environment. As far as I am aware there is no certain 'trigger'. Both OH and I are very affectionate with both DD's and tell them we love them every day.
Last night she asked me to help her. To teach her to stop thinking bad things. In the past if she gets very angry or upset I have tried to teach her deep breathing and when breathing out imagining a balloon being filled up. I tell her to think of things that she likes.
Any ideas how I can help her welcome.
your dd sounds very sweet and articulate. i've posted a few ideas here. the pinterest board has things like worry beads/boxes/dolls which I know a lot of people use. the links are actually for anxiety in children with aspergers as it is common for them to have anxieties, but i'm not suggesting your dd does, just.the same techniques can be used.
It's pretty normal for children to start being scared of death and mortality in general at this age but her 'not being normal' worry maybe needs exploring a bit more? Can she draw her worries or act them out with puppets or a dolls house or something?
Do you have an inclusion worker at her school, they might be able to give her some time to explore her feelings?
Also try a children's meditation cd instead of you saying it, my dd (7) loves them.
Oh bless her
My ds is autistic (as am I) and this does ring bells. Especially the worry about being 'normal'. Obviously nobody can diagnose on the Internet etc etc, but you may want to have a read around the subject.
I really rate Dawn Huebner's CBT workbooks for kids and had a lot of success with What to do when you worry too much. There's another for '... when your brain gets stuck' aimed at kids with OCD but it might help with her negative thoughts.
I was very much like your little girl when I was younger, although the circumstances leading up to the "thinking bad things" was different. I had a turbulent upbringing- eventually I was brought up by my grandparents. I would have panic attacks and worry excessively, mainly at bed time that people would die unexpectedly. AT night time its quiet and you have the time to think then. Its horrible to be anxious and to watch it in those you love so you have my sympathies.
A couple of techniques you can try, - the alphabet game. Think of an animal (or anything, food item, transport etc) beginning with A (ant eater) B (Bison) etc and play that as a distraction.
Its also worth looking up on you tube some mindfulness videos, they talk you through relaxation techniques and keep your mind in the present. Some of them are aimed at adults but I dont doubt there will be some on there for kids too.
My DS1 is older than your DD but suffers from similar "worries". We too work on breathing which helps a little in that it at least gives him something to do that makes him feel more in control. I have a routine which goes something like this.
I empathise with how whatever he is telling me he is feeling saying something like "That must be frightening to think that sweetie", or sad, or confusing etc.
Then we talk through why his worry is far fetched (it usually is) throwing in some humour if anything occurs,
Then I assure him he's safe, and that it is my job to make sure of that. It's his job to share his worries with me and my job to keep him safe.
And then (or all the way through really) hugs and comforting.
Another thing we were advised to do what make a sensory diet of things he enjoys. If you google 'sensory diet' you might find a list of examples. This is all the things that give pleasure to any of the senses. For example DS enjoys sucking ice, and warm baths, and being wrapped in a blanket, and minty or spicy food, and the sound of fire crackling or rain falling, and fruity smells, and soft and fluffy fabrics. Doing any of these sensory soothing things really helps.
It's tough being a mum when you can't make the problem just go away. Sending you some sensory and and to support you.
Thank you SO much all of you. I am at work
not at all on mumsnet so will have a proper look at the websites and links you all posted. Fabulous.
Checkpoint Charlie2, which CD do you use?
Poltergoose I've just ordered that book. Thanks so much. My DD has excessive worries and I've been struggling.
Op I am in the same boat but wanted to let you know that you aren't alone. We had full on meltdowns over tiny worries on holiday.
We did the counting thing but it doesn't work. We have the green jelly game. If she starts to panic I shout green jelly. She then has to think of as many silly foods as she can do things like sprout custard, cheese ice cream etc.
I use this one and she has another one with superheroes on, I use them both at home and at school with children her age and lots of children adore them (to the point of falling asleep in the middle of the classroom!!!)
Have a look at he Momentous Institute Breathing Bubbles app.
It's made for kids, but even as an adult I use it for the intrusive thoughts caused by my ADHD. (Which are pretty much the same thoughts your daughter is having.)
I really like the simplicity of it. Plus the extent to which it works.
My ds was the same at as similar age and still is now sometimes at 12. I taught him lots of the techniques I learnt having a squillion years of therapy for anxiety and OCD/intrusive thoughts, they are based in mindfulness and ACT therapy.
I have always taught him that it is important to recognise and acknowledge the thought as it comes in, while remembering that it is just a thought and thoughts arn't real and cannot hurt you in any way, but trying to 'get rid' of bad thoughts is usually extremely counter productive as is distraction. Instead we 'thank our mind' for the thought and welcome it which I know sounds bizarre and totally woo, but bear with, it is very effective. You also give the thought a label and name as a 'story' if possible (as most thoughts are repetitious), so it would go something like this -
Have a bad thought ie imagining you dying (sorry just an example)
She say the words (aloud or in her head)
'Thanks mind!' or 'Thank you mind'
'There's the story about my mum dying again, thanks for telling me that one'
And the thank you need to be genuine, not sarcastic or sad (I struggled with the sarcasm bit for ages bastard mind), genuinely thank your amazing, imaginative, incredible mind.
I KNOW it sounds barmy, it took a lot of persuading me to do it, but it really works, interestingly ds just took it at face value and it worked straight away.
For very persistent thoughts or another strategy if the above does not work, is to sing bad thoughts to a happy tune, I like 'happy birthday' and also 'she be coming round the mountain' but any perky tune will do, so (hapy birthday) -
My mums going to die
My mums going to die
My mums going to d-ie
My mums going to die
The more you sing a thought the more ridiculous they sound and the more your brain will 'unfuse' with the scary feelings, this method is really effective.
But the key is, it is all about defusing and dispersing thoughts, never about distraction or avoidance.
Also useful (if you haven't) is to tell her it's really normal to have such thoughts and not to think it makes her unusual or 'bad' in any way.
Also remind her that we tend to listen very hard to the negative voices in our head and attach great importance to the things they say, so if she thinks 'I am not normal' or 'I will have a terrible day at school today' she is likely to believe that thought, suggest instead that she thinks 'I am a unicorn' or 'there is a million pounds under my bed' - does she think those could be real now she has had the thought? All the above are just thoughts, but our minds are generally wired to attach credence to the crap ones, some more than others.
Again, so many wonderful ideas. Can't reply properly
am still trying to pretend to work so will look for that app later iPost
Gobblersknob I LOVE the idea of 'I am a unicorn'
Thank you so much, my son, aged five, has a tremendous fear of ghosts and monsters, and cannot be alone.
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