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8 year old girl - onset of anxiety

26 replies

ombre123 · 25/05/2019 22:05

Hi everyone
I'm at my wits end and hopeful that someone can help me by giving some advice on a situation with my daughter.
She turned 8 earlier in the year and has from time to time been a bit clingy but recently its really stepped up a gear to the point where I would say shes anxious most of the time and looks really sad.
There has been no change to her routine, nothing out of the ordinary, school seems ok. Well I say nothing out of the ordinary, she fell seriously ill at the end of last year. She recovered well and very quickly with no lasting issues but I'm wondering if it is this that she is struggling with. Its breaking my heart.
Examples are crying when I take her to school tears before bedtime every night without fail, not settling when in bed and up 6-7 times a night, only settles if she lays with me or her dad.
I'm so concerned about her, but also wonder if its behaviour (which again seems so out of character.)
Can anyone help?

OP posts:
isthatabloborwhat · 25/05/2019 22:19

This is probably a daft question, but have actually asked her why she is crying? Since she's 8, she should be able to articulate at least some of her feelings. It seems to be almost like some sort of separation anxiety, and I was wondering whether there was some sort of aftermath of the illness that is still bothering her, and she has a fear of death, either her own, or losing you.

ombre123 · 25/05/2019 22:34

Yes I've asked her so many times, but she says she doesn't know. She said she just feels weird. I asked her to write down how she feels and the things that she wrote were typical of anxiety, and she drew a picture of a sad face. She does seem focussed on health so I'm wondering if its health related anxiety. I think I'm going to take her to see a counsellor. Her illness came on v quickly and disappeared as quickly as it arrived, she has had follow up tests all of which have come back fine. This was almost 6 months ago now too.
I wish kids came with a manual!

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WifOfBif · 25/05/2019 22:36

There’s a really good book on Amazon called the big book of feelings, my son had a bout of anxiety last year at the same age and it really helped.

ombre123 · 25/05/2019 22:40

Thanks a lot WifofBif, I'll have a look.

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Stillonly8am · 25/05/2019 22:48

I think counselling is worth considering. Well done for taking this seriously, OP. I had very similar symptoms when I was eight (only it followed a family member's serious illness, not my own) but my parents were of the school of "you can't possibly have worries, you're a child", so my anxiety was left to get worse over a period of several years. You sound like a great parent.

ombre123 · 25/05/2019 22:54

Thanks so much. That brought a lump to my throat as it's so hard knowing what is for the best. I have anxiety too, have had from being really young. My parents had exactly the same response as yours did. Part of the reason why I'm emotional about it is I remember those feelings I had as a child and the thought of my daughter having them absolutely kills me.
Thanks so much for replying.

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wonderwoo · 25/05/2019 23:35

My 9 yo son has anxiety and I have recently referred him to the school nurse service. They have been great. Given me loads of advice and have said they can see him for a programme of therapy. The school have also put some things in place to help him. Maybe they could help you too (if you havent already asked)?

One of the things recommended is a "worry box". They can write down any worries they have as they come along. They can either keep this private or you can look at them together once a week or something. My ds never knows why he is upset in the moment, so I thought this might help us figure out what is playing on his mind.

ombre123 · 26/05/2019 09:41

Thanks wonder woo. We actually started a worry box last week. The worries are far ranging from health to spelling tests. I've made an appointment for her to see a counsellor. I think these services must be in demand where we live as the school ha a long waiting list, I initially mentioned to them a couple of months ago but haven't had anything back yet.
Hope your son is getting the support that he needs?

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Maybebaybe · 26/05/2019 09:53

Both of my children went through phases like this (as did many of their peers) at a similar age. One had an obvious trigger but the other I have no idea why he became so anxious so can only surmise it's a normal enough stage.

Anyway I found "What to do when you worry too much" (from amazon) and "Hey Warrior" (a present so no idea where it came from) were tremendous help.

With my first we tried counselling, therapy, GP, worry dolls but the books helped most. With my second we let him have time off school when he needed it and let him sleep with us (or one of us slept with him) when he needed it. We listened and were much more patient and easy going about his regression and stress than we were with our first who took years to overcome the anxiety. My second child grew better at coping within about 12 months. Different circumstances and personalities of course but I think also being patient and accepting of his fear of stepping outside the door of the house at times or being alone at night (all the time) played a part too. We were older and wiser and his terror seemed so extreme that I couldn't see any other way to deal with it. Plus he had a wonderful teacher to support us.

ombre123 · 26/05/2019 18:31

Thank you so much for the book references maybebaybe, I'll look out for them.

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Happygolucky009 · 26/05/2019 19:56

I second referring to school health, my 10 yr old was similar and the worries changed constantly, luckily with some sessions with the school nurse, I also realised I had positively reinforced the separation anxiety unwittingly, he is now much better x

ombre123 · 26/05/2019 20:31

Aw thanks for sharing. I wonder if I do pass on my anxieties unintentionally too. She has her counselling session next week so fingers crossed.

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Lara53 · 27/05/2019 07:38

I work in a school and we have worry monsters in each class. The children can write down what’s worrying them and teachers can see/ chat to them about it.

My DS2 was 6 when my mum died and had about 3 years of struggling to sleep, anger, grief etc. We used worry dolls, relax kids meditations and a book called My big bag of worries

MummyBear2352 · 27/05/2019 15:48

Have you asked her if anything is happening at school. ? Is she being bullied x

MummyBear2352 · 27/05/2019 15:56

If not you need to put something in place for her when she’s feeling vulnerable.

For example she can try singing a song (you all can)

Counting to ten slowly

Taking three deep breaths in and out.

Her writing down what she feels and what brought it on.

You know her best so you know what may help her. Something she’s good at perhaps. So then when she feels negative you replace it with positive things. X

BookwormMe2 · 27/05/2019 20:09

My now DD9 developed anxiety when she was seven and, like yours, there didn't seem to be a definitive reason for it. I bought the What To Do When You Worry Too Much book after seeing it recommended on MN and it was brilliant. She was like a changed child after doing all the exercises and putting them into practice and if she ever has moments of feeling anxious again, she now has the mental tools to deal with it.

BookwormMe2 · 27/05/2019 20:10

Sorry, that was an ebay link. But you can get it from Amazon easily!

Indecisivelurcher · 27/05/2019 20:18

You might be able to find someone local to you who runs age appropriate mindfulness classes /courses. I'm signing my Dd up to some. At 4.5yo she's quite an anxious person, I am hoping it is a skill for life and makes her more resilient.

Cathpot · 27/05/2019 20:24

DD2 developed an anxiety about 18 months ago around going to sleep. She has found meditation sleep stories we downloaded from the internet really calm her and stop her mind racing when she is trying to nod off . She says she usually goes to sleep before they finish and can listen on headphones if she wakes up in the night. We also looked at CBT style tips about opening your body posture and talked through the fact her physical symptoms were triggered by her mental worries. She is was a bit older when this kicked off (11) and a very practical child and it helped her to talk it all through in terms of the biology. I also think knowing she had some tools to talk herself down helped her feel less anxious in the first place. It does mean we are now reliant on her having her stories available so that’s a long term crutch she will need to phase out but she is much better. You have my sympathy- it’s so hard watching them suffer with something it is hard to fix from outside.

ombre123 · 27/05/2019 23:41

Wow thank you so much for the tips! I think that the counselling, worry box and purchasing all of these books is the way to go.
I have talked to school about social groups she is in and they haven't notice anything, it's quite a small school so I would've expected them to. My daughter has definitely been going through some challenges with her BFF and they seem to fall out and back in again quite often. But I put that down to normal developmental stuff.
It's hard being a parent isn't it!! Xx

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Happierwithouthim · 28/05/2019 08:58

Following with interest my dd (9) also suffers tremendously with anxiety and I found that book why do I worry so much brilliant, as was Relax Kids classes which are no longer run locally, got the Big Life Journal recently too, and she's attending a mindfulness workshop next week. There's a new class starting locally called Rinka but she isn't interested in going.

ombre123 · 11/06/2019 20:57

Hi everyone
Just thought I would give an update as it's been a while since I posted. Well little one started counselling one day a week and it's been a major help. She has a worry box which she used a lot to begin with but she isn't using as much now, and a lovely calming bedtime routine which me and DH alternate so she gets special one on one time with both of us. Also got her an aromatherapy diffuser for her bedroom which has a calming light and lavender oil.
The counsellor believes that she has health anxiety owing to the issue that we had at the end of last year where she was seriously ill.
She still is a bit twitchy at night time, and gets up in the night from time to time, but 100% better than where we were a couple of months ago.
So I'd recommend using the above methods if anyone's little one is struggling.

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Happierwithouthim · 12/06/2019 08:14

Delighted to hear your dd is doing much better. Actually saw the diffuser's advertised for Aldi next week and was thinking must pick up one because ds loves them but now I've seen this post I'll get it for their room, they share and both will benefit. I detest the smell of lavender myself but if it helps her I'm willing to use it. Any other essential oils that are calming.

ombre123 · 12/06/2019 09:54

Thanks I think that camamille (not sure how you spell it!!) is meant to be calming too. I suppose it's trial and error, I bought ours from Amazon and they had some sample fragrances to experiment with x

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Pacpaco · 12/06/2019 10:37

I’m new on the site. I need help dealing with my 8 year old daughter. She doesn’t seems to like being with us. We are a small family of three mum, dad and daughter. I really don’t know if I need to seek professional help. We went on holiday on the 26th to 3rd of June. We always go with our child minder who has become our extended family. In the middle of our holiday I was called in to hospital for more test that it’s to important that I couldn’t put it off till the following week. I have a long term sickness that I need frequent hospital visits. I am a transplant patient a recent one that I am very limited to what I can do at the moment. When we told her we need to go home she was very upset and was crying quietly not single word was said but only tears. I have told our child minder that we need to come home and she saw how disappointed my daughter was and offered to have her till they come home. My husband and I have a long conversation about it. In the end we gave in. Holiday done we were hoping everything will be back to normal but it hasn’t. Every day while having dinner she will just sit there eating looking at the clock and tears running down her face I did ask her what’s the matter and she would just say nothing. And I replied you can’t be crying over nothing, I said she is upsetting me for not saying the truth and then she said she wants to be with our child minder family. That reaps off my heart to pueces how come my child is choosing to be with the child minder than us. She said it’s more fun with them. I let it go for a week and then she said it again last night. I was shaking with frustration and she said she have more adventure with them. Where did we go wrong? Was it wrong for us to leave her behind to finish her holiday. I was so livid last night that I couldn’t eat my dinner. Me so furious and frustrated I have shown her the door and get out of the house and never to come back again! That’s how I was disappointed. When she is with the child minder she do a lot of going out and dining out. I saw to her we can’t possibly do that as we are not rich to do all the things she wants to do. We don’t have any means to eat out often. We are just NHS workers that we live in a budget. How can I get her to understand my limitations of what I can do and the expense of going out all the time. I feel that we are enough for her and worse is she makes us feel so inadequate. Please help.

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