Support Thread for Mamas of Kids with Anxiety - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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Special Needs Parenting > Support Thread for Mamas of Kids with Anxiety
lovepickles's Avatar lovepickles 01:58 AM 11-17-2010

Hello.

 

I've been reading some of these notes and can relate. The only difference is I can relate to the kids. Perhaps I can help some of you struggling with a child that has anxiety. I have my own child now but when I was a child I had severe anxiety and caused a lot of concern. I'm still dealing with it, but every situation is different. I was diagnosed about 15 years ago with OCD. It comes and goes ... some years are fine others notsomuch. It presented itself very early, only my parents were sort of in denial ... and it made the situation worse.

 

As a kid I would "gamble" ... meaning IF I couldn't get to the end of the driveway before the dog barked that meant my mother would die in a plane crash. As a child I cried every day before school because i hated the smell. To this day i cannot stand the smell of crayons. Everything was so harsh and all i wanted was to be with my mother. Yet my mother was a flight attendant and i could never figure out the days she would be home or if my sitter would pick me up. School was too fast and too loud and I was so overstimulated by so many kids and their emotions. I had HORRIBLE thoughts but people were so busy telling me everything was "fine" and that my concern was "no big deal". If i would share them people would spend more time logically disproving them rather than talking about my feelings. That just made things worse because then i felt dumb for feeling so strongly when others thought it was ridiculous.

 

A few tips:

-acknowledge the anxiety ... say "i hear that X is bothering you" or "it looks like you are upset by X, is that right?"

-encourage them to talk about their fear "what is it about X that upsets you so much"

-empathize "that must be very difficult for you"

-problem solve WITH them like so "i hear that you don't want to go to school, i know it upsets you so much because people are mean. it must be very difficult for you. can you tell me what they are so mean about? how can we make it better for you?"

 

I know it seems a little strange but treating someone (adult or child) as though they are irrational will only continue the irrational behavior. If you treat someone who has a few irrational issues with respect and kindness they often relate to the person showing kindness. So many people (and kids) with anxiety exhibit strange behavior and are further isolated by their emotional responses to a "normal" situation.

 

In a nutshell, if you are more accepting of the child exhibiting anxiety the more accepting they are of the cause of the anxiety. Talk to them. Help them identify what is upsetting them and encourage them to bring it out into the open. See what solutions they have and negotiate. You may be surprised what you uncover. I read somewhere a kid was afraid to go to sleep at night because one of his friends said people can't breathe out of their noses ... so the kid was afraid to fall asleep at night for fear his mouth would shut. Once he talked to his parent about the nose breathing he slept fine ... but if the parent is too busy freaking out about the child not going to bed on time the anxiety is just going to pile up.

 

Do some emotional excavating with your kids. Listen to what they put emphasis on and resist making assumptions. I read "parent effectiveness training" and it was a real eye opener on problem solving and talking to your child with respect.



The4OfUs's Avatar The4OfUs 05:52 AM 11-17-2010

So last night DS had a little wig out over something I had to correct him on, and started his negative self talk (which I can't negate too much or he gets worse because he feels like I'm not listening to him; been there, done that....sigh - all I can say is stuff like, "I hear that you're mad at yourself.  I don't believe those things about you but I understand you don't like what you did right now." ) and talked about punching himself because he was so stupid, etc.  So I suggested to him that many adults, when they're feeling stressed, exercise to let off the stress and feel better.  We went through several options (jumping jacks, running in circles, big toe touches up and down, a punching bag) and he picked a punching bag (well, a giant inflatable microphone, butany port in a storm, right?) and within 30 seconds he was visibly calmer and relaxed, and said, "that's so much better" and we had a big hug/tickle.  I wasn't sure if an aggressive (punching) activity would ramp him up and make it worse, but it was like it all melted away and less than a minute later the tears brimming in his eyes, the red face, and the extreme tension in his body were all gone, he gave me a hug, hopped on his bed and started reading. 

 

WOW.   One other time he accepted the suggestion and did jumping jacks (It was the first time I tried it and basically had to compel him to do it while he was crying, and he felt better within a minute that time too).  I HAVE to remember to do this every time, until it gets into part of his subconscious as a problem solving skill.

 

 

[QUOTE=carouselrider]

Anxiety book for kids

http://www.amazon.com/What-When-You-Worry-Much/dp/1591473144/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1289971342&sr=8-2[/QUOTE]

That's by the same maker of the one I got, "what to do when good enough isn't good enough" and he refused to go through it with me.  I hope you have way better luck with it!


Luvgreen's Avatar Luvgreen 08:45 AM 11-23-2010

Regarding other helpful books . . . My son, 8,  is similar to Heather's. SPD and GAD. The best advice I ever got from any therapist was to teach flexibility. Easy said than done, I know. My DS has a fear of the unknown, the definition of anxiety as we all know. I just read "Growing an In-Sync Child" by Carol Kranowitz and Joye Newman. Kranowitz wrote the Out-of-Sync Child. The book explains the importance of movement in space in all areas of development (social, emotional, academic, etc.) for typical or non-typical kids and gives 50+ exercises to do to help accomplish various. With my son, we just started doing the activities and he just loves them. We did the 'paper plate' activity this morning with his younger sister and cousin. The idea is to place a paper plate on a table at one end of the room and have the child carry it to a target point at the other end of the room.  First they'll take it with a hand, then you ask them to move it back without their hands. So then, maybe they'll put it in their mouth and carry it. Then you ask them to not use their mouth or hand, etc. until they've exhausted the ways they can think of to do it. They each had new ways of carrying the paper plate, that helped them expand their minds as to what they could do, giving them confidence in their ability to think of multiple ways to solve a problem. My kids also really like Back Writing. We haven't gotten to many more of them yet because of our schedule, but I'm really surprised at how much they love doing these exercises. They're like party games to them. The book is very well written and can be understood by anyone, not just therapists and SN parents. Maybe this book will save us all enough OT money so we can go on vacation next year. Ha ha ha!

 

Here is the link.

http://www.amazon.com/Growing-Sync-Child-Activities-Develop/dp/0399535837/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1290526589&sr=8-1

 


Smithie's Avatar Smithie 08:33 PM 11-23-2010
Good news update here: the awesome behavioral/developmental ped I had to beg my insurance to allow us to see last year is now in our network! I am bringing DS in for a followup and another attempt at medication. He's a year older, much larger and heavier, and I now have a clearer idea of which symptoms are tormenting him the most, so I have hopes that meds may bring some relief this time around, and/or that a new play therapy solution for kids in his age group is now available in our area.
Nature's Avatar Nature 06:12 AM 11-24-2010

My 7 yo dd has a dx of Anxiety Disorder NOS, ADHD, mild cognitive Disorder, and Asperger's Disorder. We have been struggling with the anxiety piece for awhile now. It seems to be the cause of a lot of agression issues. Her anxiety increases with transitions, and flares out with anger. (much like mine does I'm afraid to admit) The older she gets the more verbal she is about those anxious feelings, but we're still in the "assess afterwards" stage instead of before it happens, like I would like to see.

No therapist yet. After years of waiting we only got our solid dx's this past summer so we really are finally just starting to get into things and seek help. Right now we have a BHP in the home 10 hours a week with the goal of lowering her aggression and helping her socially.


Nature's Avatar Nature 06:19 AM 11-24-2010


Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post

So last night DS had a little wig out over something I had to correct him on, and started his negative self talk (which I can't negate too much or he gets worse because he feels like I'm not listening to him; been there, done that....sigh - all I can say is stuff like, "I hear that you're mad at yourself.  I don't believe those things about you but I understand you don't like what you did right now." ) and talked about punching himself because he was so stupid, etc.  So I suggested to him that many adults, when they're feeling stressed, exercise to let off the stress and feel better.  We went through several options (jumping jacks, running in circles, big toe touches up and down, a punching bag) and he picked a punching bag (well, a giant inflatable microphone, butany port in a storm, right?) and within 30 seconds he was visibly calmer and relaxed, and said, "that's so much better" and we had a big hug/tickle.  I wasn't sure if an aggressive (punching) activity would ramp him up and make it worse, but it was like it all melted away and less than a minute later the tears brimming in his eyes, the red face, and the extreme tension in his body were all gone, he gave me a hug, hopped on his bed and started reading. 

 

WOW.   One other time he accepted the suggestion and did jumping jacks (It was the first time I tried it and basically had to compel him to do it while he was crying, and he felt better within a minute that time too).  I HAVE to remember to do this every time, until it gets into part of his subconscious as a problem solving skill.

 

 

[QUOTE=carouselrider]

Anxiety book for kids

http://www.amazon.com/What-When-You-Worry-Much/dp/1591473144/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1289971342&sr=8-2[/QUOTE]

That's by the same maker of the one I got, "what to do when good enough isn't good enough" and he refused to go through it with me.  I hope you have way better luck with it!

 

This is exactly what we do with our dd when she's feeling anxious or "out of control" as she calls it. Or "crazy in her head".. she needs input and stimulation to control it and we've found excersising is great. But it has to be something that we direct her to, she still won't automatically use it. We're implementing yet another chart for her with ideas of things she could do when she needs to calm down (snuggle, read a book, play lego's, color at the table, etc) or things that she can do when she needs to ramp her body UP before she can calm it down. Its like the ants in your pants feeling she gets x100. For that she uses a mini trampoline (great for kids with sensory issues!) she can help me with chores (pushing laundry baskets, carrying things up and down the stairs, "finding" cups and dishes for me to wash, swinging, asking to roughhouse play with daddy. ) 

 

So putting those ideas on the wall in picture and written form so she can see them might help her to be able to better choose something that her body needs. We're hoping anyway!
 


Starflower's Avatar Starflower 01:11 PM 11-24-2010


Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

Good news update here: the awesome behavioral/developmental ped I had to beg my insurance to allow us to see last year is now in our network! I am bringing DS in for a followup and another attempt at medication. He's a year older, much larger and heavier, and I now have a clearer idea of which symptoms are tormenting him the most, so I have hopes that meds may bring some relief this time around, and/or that a new play therapy solution for kids in his age group is now available in our area.


Wow! Great news, Smithie!

 

Nature - My DD often expresses fears through anger as well. We are working on communication.

 

We missed therapy yesterday because everything is iced up here and most people can't drive in it. But we've actually been doing better for a few days now. A month ago, I was exhausted and starting to get depressed. Not to mention that my own OCD has been popping up here and there just dealing with DD's issues. Stress tends to aggravate my OCD and DD has tendencies toward it (mostly the obsessive thoughts) so I've been a bit immersed. Gack!

 

But this past week, things have been evening out. DD is still doing the L-tryptophan. She complains about taking it since we mix the powder into stuff. I keep telling her she can learn to swallow pills but she's afraid. We need to do some desensitization over here. I think our next step will be to make some "fear ladders" where you rate the anxiety/fear temperature of an activity/issue and then break it into smaller and smaller increments and take those temps. The ones on my list are toe-nail clipping, public toilets and giving away clothing that no longer fits. DD is hoarding her old clothes. And her toenails are so long they either break or ruin her socks. They only way we could clip them at this point would be under sedation. Sigh.

 

Got to go - DD is trying to get into the marshmallows. I'll post more when I have more time.


Awaken's Avatar Awaken 06:42 PM 11-24-2010

subbing.  we don't have an official diagnosis yet either, but I suffer from anxiety quite a bit and it's pretty obvious that my ds does as well, either along with other personality/social issues, or maybe the other issues are caused by the anxiety, I don't know.  after years of trying to deal with it naturally and mostly on our own, with a little professional help (which has honestly not been that helpful) we're now actively seeking more help, and possibly meds, as it doesn't seem to be improving with age and lots of support.


japonica's Avatar japonica 08:31 PM 12-12-2010

Hi there mamas,

 

I'm subbing...here's a thread I just started a few days ago...

 

http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1284429/highly-sensitive-child

 

I'm just looking into things and I'm not quite sure where to go next. Maybe an evaluation after the holidays. 


dairy2dogs's Avatar dairy2dogs 05:37 AM 12-16-2010

My 12 yrold daughter also suffers from anxiety.  Her 15 yr old brother does as well but to a lesser extent.  My dd has communication difficulties as well which makes treating the anxiety hard.  She can't communicate to us what is upsetting her.  We tried play therapy for years and several other therapists with no progress.  In the past year we started remedial services and its helping quite a bit. 

 

Starflower, we went through the toe nail phase and public toilets too.  Would she let you file her toe nails or any possibliity she sleeps hard and you could trim them in her sleep?  For my daughter the public toilet issue was mainly about the automatic flushing.  I started carrying painters tape in my purse and we'd tape over the sensor so the toilet wont flush, and then she'd be ok enough to use it. 


Smithie's Avatar Smithie 08:01 PM 12-19-2010

 

Hey, did you know that Zoloft can decrease your inhibitions? orngtongue.gif

 

My DS has been on 25 mg of Zoloft for 2 weeks now. It certainly makes a difference. He is certainly suffering much less. He got along very well with the characters at Disney World because they were just as high on life as he was, LOL. 

 

It remains to be seen if this drug regimen will make school, sports teams etc. possible and enjoyable. I think he will continue to be a handful, but since he's now willing to TALK to teachers and classmates, negotiations for acceptable behavior can commence. So I'm calling it a success so far and we'll see what the doctor says at the 8-week checkup. 


chrissy's Avatar chrissy 08:46 PM 12-19-2010

subbing.  I have a 9yo ds with a severe anxiety disorder. 


Smithie's Avatar Smithie 05:47 PM 02-03-2011

 

Bumping to see how other mamas are doing, and to report that the Zoloft experiment was a failure. DS started acting like an extra in Hair. I have never seen somebody on Ecstasy, but I am told that the resemblance was strong. 

 

We tried Lexapro, which eliminated the anxiety just as the Zoloft had done, only now the poor kid had intensified aggressive impulses combined with decreased inhibitions. You can guess how well that worked out socially. 

 

So the dev ped says no more SSRIs, and as of yesterday we're trying Tenex. I really, really hope that the Tenex works out. Having seen DS freed from the terrible fear, I can't imagine allowing him to experience it again. Once he's leveled out with the Tenex, we'll have some options for polypharmacy if the fear does return. 


QueenOfTheMeadow's Avatar QueenOfTheMeadow 07:05 PM 02-03-2011
My 11 year old is on tenex (only the time release form) for impulse control and behavior that was getting violent. I also think he has a good amount of anxiety. It's been absolutely amazing!! He was a bit tired in the beginning, but quickly adjusted and I can't tell you how much it has helped. He's so much more in control and he is so much happier with himself. I hope that it works as well for your son. hug.gif
FreeRangeMama's Avatar FreeRangeMama 10:58 AM 02-06-2011

I have a nearly 10 year old with ASD and severe anxiety issues.  He has struggled with anxiety since birth probably, but we really noticed the extent of it when he developed a fear of gravity as explained in a kid's science book (what goes up must come down) when he was 2.5yo.  We couldn't even leave the house most days, he was terrified that the ceiling fans, lights, or other hanging fixtures in stores would come crashing down at any moment.  From there he developed a fear of strangers (thanks Berenstein Bears) and would shriek if anyone even looked at him in public.  After that he gained a fear of digestion and refused to eat for 6 months and became malnourished.  We learned to hide any and all books that were written for people over the age of 2. 

 

We are waiting on a funding change that will allow us to add more therapists to our team.  We deal with a speech pathologist and a behavioural therapist (as well as a developmental aide) but hope to add in someone who deals more with anxiety as well as an OT for sensory help.  We are hoping to get some more suggestions on teaching him how to manage the anxiety day-to-day.  Our goal is not to eliminate the anxiety (impossible for him), but to learn to manage it.  I am not comfortable medicating him for a variety of reasons, so long-term management is the goal. 

 

Right now we have implemented strategies like asking him what he thinks the worst thing that could happen would be, and then asking him to come up with ways he could handle that outcome.  We work down from there, what else might happen, what would you do, etc.  This has helped with some things, but since he has thousands of possible catastrophies in his head it isn't always feasible.  We also are working on him being able to rate how anxious he is and self-calming strategies.  He is very resistant to this, the BT feels that even talking about how anxious he is makes him anxious so this will likely be a long journey.

 

It can be a challenge to parent him through these things.  My biggest hope for him is that he will begin to understand that being an anxious person is okay, even great if that is who he is.  But that he will learn to manage it so it doesn't take over his life.


beanma's Avatar beanma 11:40 AM 02-06-2011

subbing.

 

I have a dd1 with undiagnosed anxious/panic tendencies. We took her to a psychologist for educational testing at the request of the school because they were so baffled by her behavior, but she did not get an anxiety diagnosis. She got an ADHD diagnosis which I don't agree with and a NVLD diagnosis with the caveat that she might outgrow some of the LDs. I think she has. She didn't meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder, but I know that it was anxiety that was causing her learning issues and not the other way around. She's been this way since birth, well before she was in a formal educational setting.

 

She doesn't carry anxiety around with her all the time like many of the PP's kids do, but in many situations that wouldn't bother other kids she will have an anxiety/panic attack. She has matured so much in the past few years, though. She had horrible, horrible separation anxiety as a preschooler (4 yr old) and in K, 1st, and some in 2nd and a little in 3rd grade. We had many many, many school refusals and huge meltdowns. She's primarily outgrown that now, though. Her anxiety affected her school work, too. She was too anxious to read. She refused to work with the teachers at all and would cry and melt down if asked to. She didn't like to work with me or DH either. Finally it clicked this year and she's doing great and reading Harry Potter 4 on her own. Any new thing that she doesn't already feel confident about makes her anxious. So she gets anxious about long division or multiplying by 2 or 3 digit numbers, but she can work through it much better now. Socially her separation anxiety is so much better. I think she would still feel anxious in an unfamiliar setting — like I would be greatly surprised if she would consent to being left alone in the IKEA kid's play area while I shopped. She'll be 10 next week.

 

So, for the PPs with little kids maybe we offer a little bit of hope. The separation anxiety is almost gone and I did not do what all the experts and teachers recommended, either. No yanking off the bandaid for us. She is really doing great on her own curve. It's a tightrope, though.

 

Anyway, I just wanted to sub. Her situation seems to be a little unusual in that she doesn't carry the anxiety around with her all the time, but she just has anxiety/panic type attacks in reaction to a situation. I really liked the psych we took her to, but dd1 just didn't fit into any of the round hole diagnoses. She's too much of a square peg. Her anxiety does definitely affect her learning and her day to day life, though. We've just found our own way so far.


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