My 3.5 yr old dd struggles with anxiety. At home, she is very articulate, intelligent, friendly, well mannered, creative...she's great! At the store with me, she chats to people with confidence and asks questions. She is very happy to go with us on any outing and loves learning. She started preschool this year and LOVES it, but for 2/3 of the year I have had to peel her off of me at drop off and watch her glue herself to the wall with her face down, refusing to move or speak. I know she warms up after a little while but it stinks. We're finally to the point where she'll just hug me goodbye and happily go meet up with her peers to start her work. But still, one evening when all the parents were invited to “go to school” with their kids, when we all sat in circle time she sat on me in the fetal position and wouldn’t open her eyes. She was stiff and heavy like a boulder. Totally drawing lots of attention to us as all the other kids were just sitting normally next to their parents. It’s not like she’s babied. She’s very independent and doesn’t typically display babyish behavior like curling in my lap like that…she was just so scared and anxious even in this very familiar environment with her parents. In circle time during regular school hours, I'm told that when it's her turn to chooe a job from the job basket, she looks down and refuses. So ALL year she hasn't gotten a single job and I KNOW she would love feeding the fish, watering the plants, cleaning the snack table, etc. It pains me that she misses out on stuff she would enjoy. :(
We signed her up for a parent/tot T-ball session. She was super excited. But when my husband tried to facilitate her catching and throwing the ball, she refused to look up, refused to move, refused to speak. Once home she wore her baseball shirt and hat and sang, "I'm a baseball team! Come on let's go play baseball mommy! Can I wear my baseball hat to the grocery store to show the people?!" She was super proud of being on a team. My husband is dreading going back next week and having everyone stare and wait on them as she goes limp and refuses to do anything when it's her turn.
Her preschool had a play and leading up to it she said she was very nervous and didn't want to do it. We didn't really push anything and I told her she didn’t have to if she felt uncomfortable but they kept practicing at school and on dress rehearsal night she was excited to go along with the class as they bussed to the theatre and got their costumes on so we just went with it. Then, once on stage, all the kids did their parts and sang (she knows every word by heart) but my daughter awkwardly twirled in a circle in the background away from her classmates and then sat down and buried her head for the remainder of their part. When my husband went to pick her up backstage she wouldn't talk to him or look up. He thought she looked humiliated. He finally brought her out of her shell and she was fine as they walked out of the theatre and on the way home, but adamant that she would not do the play the next night. We didn't make her do it, of course, but part of me feels sad that she missed out and I don't even know what to say when people ask where she was or what's wrong with her.
Scenarios I'm used to:
She loves kindermusik but is now of the age where her class starts with 30m of just kids before parents come in. It starts in a few weeks and she's SO excited as she remembers her past Kindermusik classes when I was with her the whole time...but I think I can predict what will happen. She'll go mute, limp and refuse to move or participate. I hate how difficult it is for the teachers/instructors and I hate that soon she might be known as weird. It breaks my heart to think that kids won’t like her.
She wants to go to ballet class like her best friend at school (she is CRAZY about anything ballet). We talked a lot about a ballet class and after saying she wanted to do it and feeling so excited after seeing pictures of some of the girls practicing, she later came to me and said, “I think I will be too nervous to go to a ballet class.” I know she would love it if she could just overcome her anxiety. I feel so sad that she is missing out on things that would be so fun and enriching for her. *sigh* So I've decided not to sign her up.
Sometimes I wonder if this could be fixed with diet…she has eczema, maybe related to anxiety? This kid has a stellar diet – she happily eats loads of vegetables, no sugar, tons of healthy fats, only raw dairy, rarely anything processed, etc. We’ve tried some homeopathic and herbal remedies without much luck. Would you just stop signing her up for things even though she asks and thinks she wants to go…or would you just keep trying (and paying) for fun things to try and hope she eventually grows out of this? Ideally I would like to put her little mind at ease somehow and at this point I am thinking about an elimination diet I think. I was extremely shy, but, I made lifelong friends at age 3 and 4 whom I met in preschool, ballet, T-ball, etc. I don’t care if she’s the star of the show or anything…just want her to enjoy life outside of our safe living room and I fear that she will develop stress related symptoms in the coming years when she has to go to school and the schools/classes will be bigger. Any brilliant suggestions?
Edited by Dot-to-Dot - 4/30/13 at 11:26am