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childhood anxiety

(18 Posts)
Morgana Mon 19-Sep-16 17:22:08

Have a friend whose daughter is suffering from what we think is childhood anxiety. She is 7 years old and has had panic attacks/sleepwalking/worries about going anywhere/frightened of dying/mum dying or leaving her.

They have an appointment booked with CAMHS, but I wonder if anyone could help with any strategies for dealing with this in the meantime? My friend is very distraught and feeling helpless. Thanks.

BlueBelle Mon 19-Sep-16 18:17:13

Gosh shes very young to be having panic attacks I d be very worried that something abusive had happened to her

Ana Mon 19-Sep-16 18:38:57

Has someone close to her died recently, a grandparent perhaps?

I think with such a young child it's best left to the professionals to get to the bottom of the problem and find a way forward.

Nana3 Mon 19-Sep-16 18:54:43

I saw Oliver James author of Love Bombing talking on the TV. There might be something in it your friend could try.
Best wishes.

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 19-Sep-16 19:05:18

I am convinced these things can come down to children from the genetic pool. Some children do seem to be more fearful and anxious than the majority. I think a professional will be able to help her. Good to hear she will be getting some help.,

morethan2 Mon 19-Sep-16 19:35:53

I'm just putting in my two Pennith here, some of you know my DiL has a terminal illness. Well I've been wondering why I'm so badly affected. The answer has been a long time surfacing. I've wondered why my very stoic sister has also suffered very badly at the news. Our mother had a very serious illness that could have ended her life at any minute. We were never told, but there were episodes of our mother disappearing. Obviously admitted to hospital. So I think our childhood was filled with unspoken tension and consequently we were quite anxious children picking up on the tension. This has now resurfaced because of what's happening to my DiL. My DiL is adamant that they are not told, to the point of refusing treatment because she is afraid they would see how ill she is (isn't she a an amazing mummy) The seven year old has lots of tummy aches, the other two appear oblivious, but are they? Is history repeating itself? What I'm saying is I think children do pick up on things even if the adults in their lives think they are shielding them. I've derailed another thread. Sorry this just rang a big bell in my head. I'm tempted not to press 'post'

Luckygirl Mon 19-Sep-16 19:47:26

An awareness of one's mortality is a critical moment in a child's life. I can remember one little lad who wept to his Mum that he wished he had never been born so he did not have to die - he was about the same age.

One of my DDs used to follow me around all the time at the same sort of age when she read a book in which a mother died.

All that you are describing is to some extent a normal part of growing up - it all depends on the degree.

She needs heaps of love and patience just now - and I hope the professionals will have something to offer. I am sure this will pass - I have seen it happen many times.

Morgana Tue 20-Sep-16 21:08:54

Thanks for all your suggestions, I will pass them on.

Willow500 Wed 21-Sep-16 09:25:07

I think I would have been the same age when I fell and hurt my arm and had it in a sling for a few days - it seemed to trigger something in me and I became very anxious. Constantly feeling sick and being sent home from school - this continued after we moved areas and I started a new school. Back then there was no help and I eventually grew out of it I suppose. My husband's niece has just gone through chemo and was adamant her little 3 year old was kept as normal as possible. He never saw her with no hair and as far as they were knew he wasn't aware of anything different. However a couple of months ago they talked about dying at nursery (not sure in what context) and he has now started to ask his mum and grandma if they are going to die which has upset them quite a bit. So sorry about your DIL Morethan - she must be extremely strong to be trying to keep it from the children.

Jaycee5 Wed 21-Sep-16 10:27:28

As long as the appointment is not too far ahead, I think people are right to say that it is worth waiting. Children of that age can't analyse why they feel the way they do and getting the full story and then knowing what to do about it is a specialised job.
I think all you can do in the meantime is try to build up her confidence and be as positive and relaxed as you can yourself so that your own anxiety isn't rubbing off.

dizzygran Wed 21-Sep-16 10:33:10

Hi Morgana. I agree the 7 year old needs help and I wonder if the DIL might consider contacting Marie Curie - they would be able to offer support both to her and the family and they have strategies to help the young granddaughter. The school might be able to provide additional support, particularly if the child has problems when she is there. Young children can quickly pick up when things are not right and having someone separate from the family would help her. CAMHS usually have long waiting lists so finding someone to help soon help her now and help prepare her for the loss to come. Best wishes to the young family in such a sad situation.

notreallyagran Wed 21-Sep-16 10:49:57

It's a horrible thing to see your child suffer such torments and be unable to help them. My son was an anxious child from the beginning, but his anxiety became a major problem when he was 12, affecting every area of his life. He was given fantastic support by the CAMHS and his life has been transformed. One of the tools he was given was a book, The Huge Bag of Worries, by Virginia Ironside. It suits any age and might help your friend's daughter while she's waiting for professional help. Along with lots of love, gentle reassurance and patience, which I'm sure your friend is already providing. I wish them both the very best.

trisher Wed 21-Sep-16 10:54:00

Your friend could try building confidence in the little girl by giving her small tasks to do that she is sure she can complete on her own. Simple things at first such as "Could you go to my bedroom and get me such and such please". Praising her and pointing out how well she manages. Lots of little tasks and lots of praise might help. Hope things improve. She could also teach her some deep breathing, breath in slowly counting to 10 hold for 3 then breath out slowly. Physically when we are frightened our body goes into 'flight mode' one feature of which is fast breathing, slowing the breathing brings the body out of it.

Crafting Wed 21-Sep-16 11:36:20

My friends DD suffered the same thing at a young age. Was afraid to leave her mum, would never stay away from home and hated being anywhere away from her mum's side. In her case we thought it may have been triggered by a report on the TV about a child being kidnapped. Whatever the cause, anxiety in children is very upsetting. All I can tell you is that now the young lady is a mother herself, quite capable and though she has now sadly lost her mum she is coping well with her family and looking after her dad.

luluaugust Wed 21-Sep-16 16:50:36

I think seven is the age when children become more aware of the world around them, if she is an imaginative little girl who has heard things at school about death etc, maybe someones grandparents or parents she may not have the emotional development to deal with it. Hopefully if she sees a professional they will be able to find out what if anything has happened, has she said anything at all to mum or dad? Three generations of our family have been sleepwalkers between 6 and 9 years old we think it must be genetic or the sign of a particular type of personality, the over anxious kind.

bethanmp23 Wed 21-Sep-16 18:17:57

My dd was the same. Changing classes to have a new teacher might have been part of it [she was in a small village school and had had another teacher for her first two years].
What helped was when I thought to ask her if there was anything I could do to help her 'tummy worrying' - which was how she described it. In her case she then carried around a hanky with my perfume on it if she couldn't actually be with me. When she lost the hanky a couple of months later she wasn't in the least bothered [I was terrified that it would be a major problem!] so I presume that in her case she had got over that anxiety.
She had help when she was 10, with CAMHS, and they were marvellous when she was bullied at school and became depressed.
She is 25 now, and still far more sensitive than my son, but she copes well with life and is living independently and has just set up her own business.

Sheilasue Wed 21-Sep-16 20:59:44

My grandaughter has been going to CAMHS since she was 12 suffers with the same problems. There are a lot of children who go there from all ages. They are really good with the children but in the cas of my GD she won't try to help herself she is now 15 hates school though doing well and like a lot of kids her age says it's stressful, which I think it is too. You think she is getting better then she has a step back and we are back to square one again. I think when she finishes school things will be better although she has to go onto 6th form college but she wants to go elsewhere for that.

ittybitty123 Thu 22-Sep-16 15:05:02

7 is a dodgy age for tragedy. I heard somewhere what happens at 7 can affect your whole life, this sticks with me as I also became very insecure and frighten at this age. School was a nightmare, social events could wait till I got home so I could relax. My father who I adored died tragically of cancer when I was 7 and I remember hearing my mum tell someone that I wasn't me, I looked like me but inside there was someone else. She swears someone came in the night and swopped me for an identical child. She never sort help for me as you didn't in those days you just got on with life.