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11 yr old & anxiety(5 Posts)
Sorry this is long, trying to be thorough with all relevant details.
I have my 11 yr old in my bed tonight... he's too scared to sleep in his own bed due to scary stories that are being recounted at school. The latest is about ghosts that spook you in bed at night. The recent 'killer clown' hoo-ha sent him into a total spin, he was really terrified. Nothing I say can reassure him. He's tearful and honestly frightened. The fear seems to be all about the 'supernatural'. He's never faced any trauma at all, we live in a very quiet country village where nothing ever happens. This all started last year, it's not always been this severe, just fairly average childish stuff. He sleeps with the radio & light on.
Bedtime is the real problem area. He does very well in all other areas, has plenty of friends & is a sweet well-behaved boy. He would love nothing more than to share a room but unfortunately that's not possible. He does have a diagnosis of ADHD Innatentive Type- what used to be called ADD. He sees a resource teacher for 1/1 support as a result. I don't feel that he's very severe- he scores pretty well at school & his behaviour is good. He just struggles with concentration. My other boy has ASD & is non-verbal, so I am very accustomed to psychologists and therapists.
I'm wondering if it's time to get him some sort of intervention, but TBH I'm loathe to start down that road. I feel like he would label himself as defective & that would effect his self-image. He already asks me if he's stupid because he sees the resource teacher at school
I'd love to hear from others in similar circumstances. How normal is this? What would you do?
Your situation is very specific but maybe my experience with this can help?
From 12-14 I was plagued with nightmares, occasional sleepwalking and insomnia (basically because I was too scared to sleep). Stupidly I watched a horror film at a friends sleepover when I was 12 and it scared me for years, I've always had an overactive imagination and it led to all sorts of horrible dreams. I found the best thing to do was to read before bed (non electronic distraction) and then sleep with nightlight/fairy lights, lots of pillows and teddies (maybe soft things is your DS wouldn't do cuddly toys) as they were my safety barrier. The best thing for me was an audio book. I used to play them on my tape machine but there's a great app now called Audible, you can get it on any phone or similar device (iPad, Fire tablet) and you get to download one book for free. I still use it now and pay monthly for it, and listen to audio books every night. I fall asleep pretty much instantly but if I ever wake after a bad dream I find they help reduce anxiety and help me get off to sleep again. Maybe try it before getting serious help? I don't always think counselling is the most helpful especially pre-teen, I had it at 15 and it affected my confidence as I felt 'different' and not normal. But of course if you feel he needs it, professionals can be extremely helpful. Good luck OP
He does indeed sound anxious.
I wonder if he would be willing to do some anxiety management stuff with you using a workbook? I work in child and adolescent mental health and I have found that this book is an excellent self help resource to work through with a child, and it is based on CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) which is a highly recommended therapy for anxiety. I'd recommend doing it together rather than him doing it on his own so that you can help him with it. Good luck.
I worried about my ds at the same age. It seemed to go on forever but eventually he grew out of it. Hard to get through at the time but looking back I should have just gone with the flow. It's unlikely he'll still be sleeping in your bed at 18
Thank you all! I have downloaded the audible app, I think that will really help. I need to find out how to control his use of the phone though, I think YouTube is a contributing factor.
The book looks excellent, I've ordered it.
I really hope he will grow out of this soon, but saying that I never thought he'd still be trying to get into our bed when he's almost my height
Really appreciate your help x
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