Agree that parents (mothers) are to blame for separation anxiety in older kids? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
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Parenting > Agree that parents (mothers) are to blame for separation anxiety in older kids?
Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 06:22 PM 08-31-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post





M


As per sleeping....this is how it works.

 

DD will not go upstairs for the night until I go upstairs.  She rarely falls asleep downstairs.  I am not ready for bed until 11:00 or so - during the school year (starts next week!) she is ready for bed at 9:00.  I also have to stand outside her room for 5 minutes until she is in bed.  She will bug me to go to bed before I am ready.  If she does not get enough sleep she is miserable.  I am not going to bed at 9:00 so we seem to be at an impasse.  I feel like I am enabling her poor sleep habits (which do stem from anxiety) but I do not know what else to do.  Push the issue?  Let her lack sleep?  It might be time for counselling again, but I do not think she would be agreeable.  I am going to bring up baby steps again and hope she is amenable.  I have got her books on anxiety - no dice.

 

I'm not sure that's something where enabling really matters all that much. I'm not sure my mom even realized I had sleep issues, as I didn't really talk about it. But, I'd go to bed okay...then lie awake for ages (as a teen, I determined that it was usually about an hour -not sure it was that long when I was little, but it could have been). All my anxieties, fears, etc. swirled around in my head all the time. Over the years, I tried all kinds of methods for dealing with it. None of them worked. (I finally found something that usually works, but I only discovered it about six months ago.) The thing is...going to bed alone wasn't one of my "things", possibly because my sister and I shared a room for years. But, I did have sleep issues, and nobody enabled them. They just were.

 

I don't know your dd, so I certainly don't pretend to have the answers. But, I think I'd probably take her up and get her settled in and then go back down once she's asleep. One thing I have found over the years, with my own kids, is that I can kind of "transfer" soothing mechanisms. Sing or talk or something while you're there, and eventually (usually), the child will find the talk or singing or whatever soothing in the same way that your presence is. But, I don't think you're going to make it any worse, yk? She seems to need extra soothing for whatever reason. 

 

 

this parenting stuff is not for wimps!

 

No. No, it's not.



 



Dandelionkid's Avatar Dandelionkid 06:36 PM 08-31-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by seashells View Post

John Rosemond is still out there? I remember writing him several letters when I was a teenager when his latest column would make my blood pressure go up.

 

I don't think any sweeping statements can be made. Clearly there are families with one child with anxiety and siblings without. Sure, it's possible to explain that in a way where the parents are still "at fault" (that is, they chose to "hover" over one particular child) but in general it seems to show that there are factors internal to the child as well as parental influence.

 

I have to admit that parental influence is still surely a significant factor in some or many cases. I have posted about my own child's separation anxiety hoping for some input but I only got one reply before the thread died. I think parental influence is a major factor in our case.

 

lol - I didn't realize he had a reputation. 
 

 


mamazee's Avatar mamazee 06:53 PM 08-31-2011
I think this is probably all very individual. Each child is different and will respond to things differently. Some children might be helped by a little nudge out of the nest, but that could cause other children to become even clingier. All we can do is our best with our individual children, by knowing them and watching their responses and trying to meet their needs, both for us and for independance, as best we can. Not a "one size fits all" issue IMO.
Mummoth's Avatar Mummoth 06:58 PM 08-31-2011

I can't quote Storm bride for some reason, but I wanted to second what she said. I've always taken a long time to get to sleep, and I wake very easily. It's not often that I sleep through a night, and my 7 y.o. DD is the same way. She doesn't expect me to come to bed with her but she often asks for a hug if she hears me on the way to the bathroom in the evening, or when she wakes at night.


lifeguard's Avatar lifeguard 07:24 PM 08-31-2011

kathymuggle - I take a loooong time to fall asleep, always have. I can distinctly remember being very uneasy about being the only one in the house awake. I really never felt it was a separation anxiety thing but being confined to my room awake was not fabulous. As I've gotten older I've come to accept & be ok with it but it took me accepting that it was ok to take a long time to fall asleep - that for whatever reason that is how i'm wired. Reading has been a great thing for me 'cause it gives me a quiet, winding down activity I can do anywhere (ie. if I am sleeping somewhere other than home) that often reduces anxiety. Is there any chance of allowing dd to read until she desires to turn off the light?


purslaine's Avatar purslaine 07:33 PM 08-31-2011








 



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post

 Is there any chance of allowing dd to read until she desires to turn off the light?



Yes - but she does not seem to want to.  She does not want to be upstairs at night if an adult is not upstairs.  It actually comes down to fear of things that go bump in the night - she wants an adult within shouting distance in case a murderer breaks in her room or something.  Maybe I should get her a loud horn!  

 

 


Mummoth's Avatar Mummoth 07:56 PM 08-31-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post





 





Yes - but she does not seem to want to.  She does not want to be upstairs at night if an adult is not upstairs.  It actually comes down to fear of things that go bump in the night - she wants an adult within shouting distance in case a murderer breaks in her room or something.  Maybe I should get her a loud horn!  

 

 

 

This might be a dumb idea, but how would she feel about having a baby monitor or walkie-talkie, so that she knows you're able to hear her if she needs you?
 

 


brackin's Avatar brackin 08:42 PM 08-31-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandelionkid View Post



 

lol - I didn't realize he had a reputation. 
 

 


John Rosemond is the worst.  It's rare that I agree with two words he has to say, much less an entire article--and some of the stuff he's wrong about is not even opinion--it's factual.  He is every fearful child's worst nightmare.

 


Linda on the move's Avatar Linda on the move 08:54 PM 08-31-2011


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

Looking back on my own youth, I have to wonder how often we conflate separation anxiety with social anxiety.


My 14 year old has a social anxiety disorder, as well as other issues. As a baby and toddler, she did not separate without freaking out. As a baby in a sling, she would hide her face if people looked at her. I think it is quite impossible to tell what is going on with a very young child.

 

She also has sensory issues and is on the autism spectrum, but to onlookers, she can easily pass for normal. Strangers could easily attribute her odd behaviors to bad parenting rather than her neurological differences.

 

I, therefore, am very reluctant to blame mothers when their children are different in some way.  It's just too easy to blame mom for anything about a child that is deemed less than perfect.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

I think this is probably all very individual. Each child is different and will respond to things differently. Some children might be helped by a little nudge out of the nest, but that could cause other children to become even clingier. All we can do is our best with our individual children, by knowing them and watching their responses and trying to meet their needs, both for us and for independance, as best we can. Not a "one size fits all" issue IMO.


With my own DD, it's taken a lot of sorting through to figure out when to push and when not to. Not pushed, she would hide in her bedroom and never, ever leave. That's just not an option. She attends a wonderful alternative school, and she's been gentle encouraged to branch out and try new things at school. This last year she went on her first ever field trip. She spent the night away from home for the first time last spring -- it was a huge occasion.

 

I forced her to do volunteer work this summer, but let her pick where. She decided on the library. She was extremely scared at first, even going to the "teen volunteer training" was huge deal and her dad stayed with her. But by the second week of the summer, she figured out that librarians are pretty non-threatening as a group and that when they didn't have something for her to do, she could read.

 

I suspect that children and teens who are similar to her need the right nudges here and there, but that less is more when it comes to nudging, and the nudges need to be well thought out. There are far more things that I wouldn't push than the few that I do.

 

I don't think that for my DD caving into "yes, the world is scary, your bedroom is the only safe place" would have been helpful to her at all. To a certain extant, I've had to tell her that not all of her feelings are based on anything real, and that pushing through her fears is part of the path of having a whole life.


purslaine's Avatar purslaine 09:35 PM 08-31-2011


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mummoth View Post



 

This might be a dumb idea, but how would she feel about having a baby monitor or walkie-talkie, so that she knows you're able to hear her if she needs you?
 

 


Not dumb - thank you!!!

 


Storm Bride's Avatar Storm Bride 11:08 AM 09-01-2011

I like the walkie-talkie idea, too. I think that falls into the "gentle nudge" category...helping her work through her anxiety, instead of either giving in to it, or pushing her through it, even though it's still there.

 

I guess that's the biggest problem with the anxiety issues of this type. IME, people really believe that if they just push a child "through" it, the problem is solved. But, if the anxiety is still there, the problem isn't solved at all, and the child is now even more anxious, from having been pushed too far, yk?


beanma's Avatar beanma 05:16 PM 09-01-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

I like the walkie-talkie idea, too. I think that falls into the "gentle nudge" category...helping her work through her anxiety, instead of either giving in to it, or pushing her through it, even though it's still there.

 

I guess that's the biggest problem with the anxiety issues of this type. IME, people really believe that if they just push a child "through" it, the problem is solved. But, if the anxiety is still there, the problem isn't solved at all, and the child is now even more anxious, from having been pushed too far, yk?

 

Yes to all this. With anxiety, it's like Linda On the Move said, allowing her child to stay in her room and never come out is not helpful for her anxiety. I have some small degree of social anxiety also and there definitely are times when I get still get anxious in a group, but taking baby steps but keeping moving forward is the way to go. Definitely don't throw them in the deep end. Even if they do manage to get "through" it and to the side of the pool the experience may well have been so terrifying that they will have a water phobia for the rest of their lives.

 

A walkie-talkie or baby monitor is a great "gentle nudge" for the child who is afraid to be upstairs w/o an adult. My anxious dd1 has often been afraid to go down in our basement (finished, not unfinished and scary) w/o a grown up and she would certainly never sleep down there by herself. Now that she's 10 she will go down to get her clean clothes out of the dryer, sometimes by herself and sometimes if her little sister is with her, or she'll go down to get some toys or games. She still wouldn't hang out down there w/o company, but she's taken baby steps about it and will go down there now w/o me. For a long time she wouldn't go w/o a parental nudge and I often asked her little sister to accompany her. I could have sent the dog, but I'm afraid the dog would get into mischief. A different dog would have been a good companion, or if we had a set of walkie-talkies that would have been great, too. Walkie-talkies are exactly the creative kind of nudge and baby step I'm talking about.

 

Avoidance is terrible for anxiety because then it builds and multiplies. The brain somehow thinks, "That was a scary thing and I avoided it and it sure was good I did because I'm safe now and if I had done it I could have been dismembered by dragons or fallen off the edge of the earth!"

 

For social anxiety situations, which dd1 also had/has some, I often used a "take a peek" approach. When she was little she was really interested in ballet and dancing, but terrified of the class. I said, let's just go "take a peek" and you can join if you want to. I tried not to push her into joining because that would then result in a power struggle (very strong willed kid, too), but just left her an opening to do it when she felt ready or even IF she wanted to.

 

I still try to do that now because she's still very strong willed. Unfortunately she will get anxious and decide, "I CAN'T DO THAT" or "I WON'T" even if it's some activity that I truly know she would enjoy if she could just get over herself. So I try to tell her to say, "I'm not in the mood right now", or "I'm not up for that right now" which doesn't write it off completely, but leaves her an out to try it some other time. She's the kind of kid who sometimes she says she HATES a certain food, when she ate it with gusto 2 weeks ago. She will paint herself into a corner if she doesn't watch out. I just try to help her give herself some wiggle room and then facilitate the baby steps approach if I can. Sometimes there aren't baby steps so much, but I try to think creatively (like the great walkie-talkie suggestion) and come up with something if I can. My hope is to teach her not to cut herself off and paint herself into a corner — to give her some more positive self-talk w/o negating her feelings, and to teach her how to create her own baby steps and nudge herself just a little bit out of her comfort zone. 

 

DH and I are so please with the progress she has made in the past year or two. It's really amazing.

 

Best of luck to all who are struggling with this. Baby steps!

 

 


Dandelionkid's Avatar Dandelionkid 08:37 AM 09-02-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by beanma View Post



 

Yes to all this. With anxiety, it's like Linda On the Move said, allowing her child to stay in her room and never come out is not helpful for her anxiety. I have some small degree of social anxiety also and there definitely are times when I get still get anxious in a group, but taking baby steps but keeping moving forward is the way to go. Definitely don't throw them in the deep end. Even if they do manage to get "through" it and to the side of the pool the experience may well have been so terrifying that they will have a water phobia for the rest of their lives.

 

A walkie-talkie or baby monitor is a great "gentle nudge" for the child who is afraid to be upstairs w/o an adult. My anxious dd1 has often been afraid to go down in our basement (finished, not unfinished and scary) w/o a grown up and she would certainly never sleep down there by herself. Now that she's 10 she will go down to get her clean clothes out of the dryer, sometimes by herself and sometimes if her little sister is with her, or she'll go down to get some toys or games. She still wouldn't hang out down there w/o company, but she's taken baby steps about it and will go down there now w/o me. For a long time she wouldn't go w/o a parental nudge and I often asked her little sister to accompany her. I could have sent the dog, but I'm afraid the dog would get into mischief. A different dog would have been a good companion, or if we had a set of walkie-talkies that would have been great, too. Walkie-talkies are exactly the creative kind of nudge and baby step I'm talking about.

 

Avoidance is terrible for anxiety because then it builds and multiplies. The brain somehow thinks, "That was a scary thing and I avoided it and it sure was good I did because I'm safe now and if I had done it I could have been dismembered by dragons or fallen off the edge of the earth!"

 

For social anxiety situations, which dd1 also had/has some, I often used a "take a peek" approach. When she was little she was really interested in ballet and dancing, but terrified of the class. I said, let's just go "take a peek" and you can join if you want to. I tried not to push her into joining because that would then result in a power struggle (very strong willed kid, too), but just left her an opening to do it when she felt ready or even IF she wanted to.

 

I still try to do that now because she's still very strong willed. Unfortunately she will get anxious and decide, "I CAN'T DO THAT" or "I WON'T" even if it's some activity that I truly know she would enjoy if she could just get over herself. So I try to tell her to say, "I'm not in the mood right now", or "I'm not up for that right now" which doesn't write it off completely, but leaves her an out to try it some other time. She's the kind of kid who sometimes she says she HATES a certain food, when she ate it with gusto 2 weeks ago. She will paint herself into a corner if she doesn't watch out. I just try to help her give herself some wiggle room and then facilitate the baby steps approach if I can. Sometimes there aren't baby steps so much, but I try to think creatively (like the great walkie-talkie suggestion) and come up with something if I can. My hope is to teach her not to cut herself off and paint herself into a corner — to give her some more positive self-talk w/o negating her feelings, and to teach her how to create her own baby steps and nudge herself just a little bit out of her comfort zone. 

 

DH and I are so please with the progress she has made in the past year or two. It's really amazing.

 

Best of luck to all who are struggling with this. Baby steps!

 

 



She sounds a bit like my DS. Great suggestions!


FreeRangeMama's Avatar FreeRangeMama 04:43 PM 09-03-2011

 

Quote:
I guess that's the biggest problem with the anxiety issues of this type. IME, people really believe that if they just push a child "through" it, the problem is solved. But, if the anxiety is still there, the problem isn't solved at all, and the child is now even more anxious, from having been pushed too far, yk?

 

 

Quote:
Avoidance is terrible for anxiety because then it builds and multiplies. The brain somehow thinks, "That was a scary thing and I avoided it and it sure was good I did because I'm safe now and if I had done it I could have been dismembered by dragons or fallen off the edge of the earth!"

 

 

This is the hardest part of anxiety.  Some gentle pushing often necessary.  If you just allow an anxious child to avoid anything that makes them anxious they really start to believe the world IS scary and if YOU don't think they can handle it then they probably can't.  On the other hand, if you push too much (or at the wrong time) they become more anxious as they weren't prepared and they feel LESS secure.  It is a never ending balancing act.

 

I have two children with anxiety.  My 10 year old has often has serious anxiety issues.  We finally figured out that many of the ways we were dealing with his anxiety were actually making him more anxious.  He really didn't believe he could deal with the things he feared (or that there really was something to fear afterall) because we just weren't managing his anxiety effectively.  I don't believe our parenting has caused his anxiety AT ALL.  But I know we absolutely did not deal with it in the best way we could have because we just didn't know how (and believe me, we tried!).  We felt that if we let him go at his own pace he would eventually be ready to separate, and that he just needed more time.  In reality we were giving him the message that he just couldn't do it.

 

We have since started dealing with his anxiety in a new way.  We focus on all the things he CAN do, how great he does them, and how he can use those successes to learn ways to do even more.  He keeps a success journal.  He draws a small picture of what he is anxious about, then we brainstorm about ways he could overcome the anxious feelings.  This could be thoughts that will calm him down, remembering examples of times he has done something he was worried to do and it was okay in the end, or things that will comfort him when he is worried (like my favourite rock in his pocket).  He then draws that thing much bigger than the thing he is worried about.  This has been a great thing for him.  He feels much less anxious most of the time.  And he is doing so many things we didn't think he would ever be able to do!  We did need to stop catering to his anxiety and we had to learn how to gently nudge him along in situations he would have normally avoided.

 

 

Of course no two children are alike.  None of these strategies would be at all useful for my anxious 6 year old.  Any attempt to nudge her forward will only cause us to take 3 giant leaps backwards.  Bribing her with candy will nearly always work, but that is hardly a long-term solution  wink1.gif

 

 


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