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How do you deal with oversensitivity in pre-teen ?

8 replies

fonduechinoise · 07/09/2014 07:48

Hello. Sorry for long post but I am in despair and need your advice. I have a single child who is 10.5 years old. We live abroad. She attends the local school and speaks the local language pretty much fluently. She is extremely sensitive to the point of making herself sick. I know she is trying to handle stuff by not crying etc but I also feel she is in great pain. I took her to see the doc last week because she has been suffering of tummy pains for the last month at least. He said it was all due to stress and psychological. She does not want to eat because she is scared she might get tummy aches whilst in class and not be able to get to the toilet. She started school 3 weeks ago. Yesterday she went to a bday party. The mother of the bday girl told me that yes, she could see my chick was very tired (we had a chat earlier in the day) and that she was also extremely sensitive and over reacted by what the other kids did/said. It hurts me greatly to see my chick like this...The mother also said she could see the other kids were a bit mean. I asked my chick on the way home and from what i heard, trying to be objective, I would have hurt too I think! There are some good moments too though and I saw her yesterday having a laugh with some of the kids and being part of the group. But when we got there first I could see she was sitting on the fence a little bit. She is also dealing with hormone changes, I had my first period at around that age and I think she won't be long to follow and has been going through a massive growth spurt this last year. How can I help her feeling good about herself, make her believe that she is a great kid and has many gifts, teach her to relax and not take things so "personally" and rise about them. I am thinking that perhaps there is a diet out there to help? It might be useful to add that we live in a far-right quite remote village in a mountain...Thank you for reading and any tips you may have.

OP posts:
HappySmileyPeople · 07/09/2014 09:28

Didn't want to leave this unanswered. I don't know of any diets other than lots of parental love and confidence building.

LastingLight · 07/09/2014 10:11

Is she involved in any extra-murals? Music, Girl Guides, Pottery, that sort of thing? Learning a new skill can really build self esteem. Do you invite friends over to your house? Does she take a multi-vitamin?

LastingLight · 07/09/2014 10:19

Is she maybe being bullied in school? Speak to her teachers. Try roleplaying with her. You ask her to be another child saying something she perceives as hurtful, and model possible responses. Then switch sides.

fonduechinoise · 07/09/2014 11:04

We give a lot of parental love, confidence building and we talk a lot. We acknowledge her feelings and we try to be as objective as possible. She plays music and is very gifted with art. Am trying to suggest that she could paint to express her feelings but she does not want to. We try supporting her the best we can. She has a bbf and she does have friends but only 1 or 2 come to our house. Playdates don't seem to be part of the culture here. We talked with her teacher who thankfully speaks fantastic English. DD seems integrated in the class. Maybe I should have said that dd moved from a private school with small classes (with mostly eng/part eng background families) to the local state school (3x bigger class and hardly any foreigners) 1 year ago. So perhaps she is still the new kid on the block so to speak and is being tested? She was bullied last year by one problem kid yes, but then talking to other parents it happened a lot with that particular kid. Perhaps I am overreacting but it hurts to see her so sad sometimes. And I get really tired of people commenting on the fact that she is a "lonely" child as if it were her fault! With so many changing factors and differences, she perhaps is having a normal reaction considering she is sensitive by nature? Re multi vitamins we started last year. Hopefully we'll look back on this soon with a smile!

OP posts:
fonduechinoise · 07/09/2014 11:04

I should have said thank you for taking the time to comment. It is much appreciated :)

OP posts:
LastingLight · 07/09/2014 13:41

Maybe you're doing this already, but when you praise her make sure you praise the effort rather than the outcome. And never create the impression that you love or approve of her because of her achievements, which we all inadvertently as it's such an easy trap to fall into. ("DD what a fantastic picture this is, I'm so proud of you" vs "Wow DD you worked hard on this picture, it must feel good to see the result."

Stewedcoot · 28/09/2014 16:19

Hi fondu my dd (now 11 yrs) went through a similar period of sensitivity last year and we also live abroad, she is also an only child, and she is also being educated in languages other than her own, so I just wanted to send my sympathies! I know how worrying and stressful the situation can be!

It's not always easy being the outsider, and having to express yourself in languages other than your own, even when you have a good grasp of them, can be challenging sometimes. Also, the education system here is quite formal and rigid and ; which I think can sometimes be difficult from someone with an English culture when our language can be so non-literal!

At the time, dd was in a group of three girls at school with whom she was having disputes and vice versa. She was also over-sensitive, over-fearful (of spiders and vomit) and couldn't seem to 'muck along' with the other children/take disappointments in her stride. She had days off school through anxiety and stress which added to the problem, because she got behind with school work and was even more out of sync with the other dc in her class.

Five or six months on and dd has overcome all the problems totally; and is much, much happier and confident within herself now. Tbh, I think it was just the natural process of growing up that helped the most, but it was suggested by the school that she see an educational/child psychologist for a few sessions and I think that must have helped too (although dd said what was discussed was a bit boring and obvious!). Maybe it was just the process of stepping back, getting extra attention, addressing her concerns that helped the most; rather than what the psychologist actually said or did ifyswim. In the end, they only had about seven sessions in total. The psychologist said that dd was very hard on herself and self critical and so I was able to take the cue from that and lighten up a bit about house rules etc etc and let her have more control over her own decisions. DD also gave up ballet temporarily (more stress/rigid rules) - in fact she gave up most extra-curricular stuff for an entire year - but she did also focus on an activity that she excels at (singing) to build up her confidence.

Having the school and teachers on board helped a lot because we were all working from the same hymn sheet as it were. The teachers talked to dd's friends and they all came to a resolution about how the friendships would work in future and they had to write one another letters, citing one anothers talents and individual positive characteristics and suggesting where they might have themselves have gone wrong etc etc.

I'm not sure a special diet will help but obviously eating healthily, with lots of veg and fruit and not too much junk food and sugar, and getting lots of sleep will help. DD has a children's meditation tape that helps her nod off.

The other thing that helped (that seemed counter intuitive) was being stricter when she was anxious about NOT having days off school; and that way she didn't miss work, didn't get behind, kept in sync with her classmates and built more resilience.

Sorry that was such a long post but I just wanted to let you know that "this too shall pass!". At the time I was terribly stressed about dd and questioning our decision to educate her abroad etc etc but as it happened, it was just a kink in the road! I have no doubts there will be others but just wanted you to know that you can get through it!

You might also get more suggestions if you re-post in 'living overseas' too!

Good luck to both of you!

Stewedcoot · 28/09/2014 16:24

Btw, we were advised by all the educational and health professionals, that tackling acute stress and anxiety early on, is hugely important, before it burgeons out of control (which it easily can do if it isn't addressed properly.)

So perhaps contacting a child psychologist would be a good idea? As I mentioned, it may only take half a dozen or so sessions to get a handle on things! Good luck!

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