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Anxiety & Tantrums; School

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My precious (6yr) DD seems to have  increasing difficulty handling stress and dealing with her emotions.  DD is regularly hitting, pinching, kicking, slapping and talking back (every other day or more).  She needs alot of touch and is very anxious at home and at school (her school uniform sleeves are chewed up at the ends). 


I've tried to create routine, structure, provide a healthy diet, a clean home, a safe place to express emotions and good examples of ways that she can do that without hurting others.  I know that I am not the perfect parent, and try to read more on how I can hone these skills as well as talking to other moms I respect that know our family dynamics.


DD was in a very traditional and overly-structured school her first year (K1 here--at 3.5yrs).  After that year we looked for a school that would butter fit with our AP values and give more movement and freedom to her day as well has providing quality instruction focused on truly educating and not entertaining.  She has been in this school for (2) years and will be starting 1st grade there this fall. 


DD's school is private and we like the family-environment that it gives.  I just wonder with more responsibility and homework if there will be more punishment/reward that seems to so disempower my little girl.  :(  I know that one rule is that if they don't finish their work for class they can't go out on recess. 


I have questioned whether the educational environment is really right for her, should I try to homeschool her for a year and see if that makes a difference?  There really aren't any other options education-wise in our area.  I've also thought alot if there is something I could change in our routine that would really help her through this? 


It just seems crazy that a six-year-old would have anxiety to deal with--what about a carefree childhood?! 


If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading. :)

Edited by sraplayas - 6/8/11 at 11:43am
post #2 of 8

I don't have any suggestions but I didn't want to read and not respond.  I came on here particularly today to look for similar advice.  My 5yo dd is having some social issues as well.  I'll be following along and I hope there is someone else out there with some words of wisdom :)

post #3 of 8
post #4 of 8

could you pull her out and homeschool and not go crazy?  I think a six year old not being allowed to do recess if homework isn't done is too much pressure.  I would consider it ridiculous.  I just think that homeschooling isn't always the answer either - you yourself can set her up to have just as much anxiety.  Of course, I'm pretty anti-school in general and think kids should be allowed to be kids and learn in a completely unstructured environment, so I'm always going to fall on the side of taking your kid out.  But chewing up the ends of your uniform?  At six?  You're right to wonder why her childhood isn't carefree.  Honestly, I am pretty sure I didn't have homework in first grade way back when.  I don't think I have any answers but I do think that often people stick with a bad schooling situation too long before making a change.  I was just talking with some friends today who saw behavior problems in their four year old but stuck it out six months before making a change, then they sent him to a less structured program and he's doing really well.


What does your gut tell you? 

post #5 of 8
Does she have other flags for special needs?

Did she hit any milestones late, have sensory issues, ect? How are her peer relationships?
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all of you who have responded so far. :)


Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

Does she have other flags for special needs?

Did she hit any milestones late, have sensory issues, ect? How are her peer relationships?

I haven't seen her exhibit signs that she has special needs.  ?

She is beginning to read really well in Spanish and almost equally as well in English. 

I don't know if this is a sensory issue, but she seems very oral. 

DD's teachers say that she plays well at school, only one case of mild bullying with her as the receiver.  Sometimes she says that she plays alone and once in a while she's said that she doesn't want to go to school because "no one wants to be [her] friend".  I've asked the teacher about this and she attributes it to difference in choice of play (the slide, monkeybars, dancing at recess).   At home, I've noticed that sometimes when a friend comes to play if they are too directive DD will just do her own thing or tease them.  It's like it is her way of dealing with the social dynamic.  I think this is just her developing still in her social skills and feeling out her assertiveness.


I've talked with her main teacher and next week I have an appointment with two other teachers and the director (K).  I am hoping to gain a little more insight into how she is really doing at school and maybe some things that will help us at home. 


DD did get tested for allergies/sensitivities and she came up with quite a few on the IgG panel.  We have had her on an elimination diet for the past six months.  At first I thought maybe some of the behavioral things were related to food b/c she had constant stomach aches.  Her physical complaints have decreased significantly but her behavioral issues have not.




post #7 of 8

to me a big red flag is her chewing up her uniform sleeves? she is struggling to find coping skills.


rather than look at the school and that her problems all arise from the school i would ask for a ped for a therapist eval. let the therapist guide you. so you may change schools but that's not going to take her anxiety away. the thing is she needs to learn to find coping skills when she faces that. and you have to give her space for that. the therapist will guide you with expectations from your dd. i suggest a therapist because they can look at the whole big picture and not just school. 


i would also talk to the schoool psychologist. 


how about other situations? does she get equally anxious about that too? is crowds too much for her? could she be overwhelmed?


special needs does not mean you dont keep up academically. you could be a 2e child that is profoundly gifted child but have certain speical needs like anxiety that can keep you from doing your best or holding you back.


carefree childhood is an utopian idea. that has never existed. children suffer from a lot of anxiety. some handle it well. many dont. 


btw i live with a child with anxiety. she does not have huge anxiety issues enough to medicate or do play therapy, but it means since i am her 'pill' i have to stay connected with her all the time and figure out her moods and give her coping skills. now she is pretty good about it. she got a lot of tummy aches due to anxiety.  



post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

meemee--thanks so much for your insight.  what you suggested really resonates with what i am seeing in dd and the dynamic nature of this issue. 

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