9-year old separation anxiety? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 07-21-2014, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
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9-year old separation anxiety?

My 9 year old started camp today - only 3 hours a day for the next 2 weeks. We have always AP'ed - we homeschool, they co-sleep, etc. She is usually not super attached - she goes to a part time school 2 days a week, has playdates without me, and went to the same camp last year without issue. Today when I went to drop her off she was weepy and sad that I was leaving. She asked me not to go (I work part time and I had to get to work, or else I could have just stayed around without thought). I stuck around for a bit (and then my husband got there early to wait around before picking her up), but she kept coming outside to see that i was there - each time crying when I asked her if it was alright for me to leave. Tonight its seeming like she really doesen't want to go back tomorrow. She loved this camp last year, has some kids she knows from our homeschool co-op but says she just misses me and doesn't know anyone. I normally would just say ok, lets not go back, but I feel like she's been having more anxiety lately and it builds and get worse. Also, something that my husband and I think may have something to do with it, my father in law was in the hospital for the past month and was really sick with CHF, she saw him there and knew that he was so sick that we weren't sure what the outcome was going to be (he is home now and not as bad as he was but still nowhere near as well as he was months ago). While at the hospital she started having an extreme fear of elevators and wont go anywhere near them now. She had a couple major meltdowns at the hospital which ended with us having to walk up 6 flights of stairs. This same behavior has occurred over the last year with removing splinters (she hid one from us for a week and it become infected) and touching her earrings (when she got them pierced years ago one got infected and since then we can only change them when she's sleeping). She lets this fear build up inside of her and then she explodes on me and my husband.

Okay, to end my saga, should I just drop it and say we won't go back? Part of me thinks to just let it go b/c things seem to spiral with her if we harp on it.. The other part of me is worrrisome that we are letting another anxiety stop her from doing something. Is this common among this age?

homeschooling mama to ella (9) and maya (5)
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#2 of 6 Old 07-22-2014, 07:16 AM
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I wouldn't make her go. Whenever my children don't want to be dropped off somewhere, I don't. I don't want them to think that I don't respect what they want. They still join a lot of different things. Just sometimes they just don't want to and I think they should have that right.
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#3 of 6 Old 07-22-2014, 07:37 PM
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Have you asked her why or talked about it after the fact? You being non-emotional, no judgement, but just curious, asking open-ended?

Because I have a child (also 9 years old) with anxiety, I have learned exposure sometimes is needed to get him over a hump and to feel confident. I do make him go places he has nervousness about. If she is worried about you not dying, she actually needs short periods where you leave and COME BACK.

On the other hand, I also know that there can be plenty of good reasons for a kid not to continue with a child care situation, from a too rough sitter to teasing and bullying by another kid. In a case like that you want your child to be able to speak up and advocate for you to help them. So I would start trying to get at her reason without making your guesses known and take it from there.
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#4 of 6 Old 07-23-2014, 05:31 AM
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yes ... and no.

yes it is common - even developmental - to have these sort of emotions. esp. if your dd has breast buds. it can be the emotional kick of puberty (though she might start close to when you started).

its is also a time as they are becoming more conscious of the world around them. they become more aware and along with that comes anxiety. they realise the world is not such a happy place. around 10 or 11 as their awareness grows they kinda become a little depressed too.

however in your case with the other examples you have given - this is all red flag material.

your dd's anxiety is rising... not going down. its affecting her life.

i think therapy is a good idea. it does not mean your dd is 'sick'. what therapy should do is help your dd with her thoughts. to not go to fear, to escalating scary ideas. i would not expect her to cope on her own. that is really tough to do.

i'd even go as far as to say perhaps you might be open to thinking about medication IF you do go down the road of therapy. esp. kids with anxiety - they need help now so they dont develop unhealthy thinking patterns. it is a horrible habit that can really affect your life.

i know this all sounds crazy. but its amazing what the right help and support does to kids.

having a what if child and a mother, early intervention is important. esp. before pretween hits.

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#5 of 6 Old 07-23-2014, 07:12 AM
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I don't think any of that sounds normal. Kids tend to stop crying at drop offs in kindergarten and by nine they begin pushing for more independence. Puberty can make kids more emotional but it doesn't tend to be a long drawn put public display. I agrre with the therapy but I would not push her to go. She is very likely to be the target of teasing after a scene like that and that isn't likely to make her anxiety any better in the future.
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#6 of 6 Old 07-27-2014, 12:32 PM
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Any chance you could send your younger child to camp with her? Older DD has some anxiety around camps last year, so we found several camps this year that would take both kids. They do much better when they are together!

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