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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DS is 3.5 and has been showing signs of anxiety lately. Some are biting his nails, and chewing on random things sometimes. He also tends to be a bit aggressive and likes to point stuff in my and DD face (not sure if this is related or not).

Anyone have suggestions as to how to help his anxiety?
 

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Just wanted to drop in quickly and comiserate, though I have no real advice. We are going through similar issues with DD2. My kids are born almost same time as yours, and I'm convinced a lot of it has to do with the "new baby" and being jealous but not knowing how to express it or deal with it. It helps when I get to spend good one on one time with her. She is less agressive and more cooperative. However, sometimes I spend ages with her (which isnt easy as DD2 is not a good sleeper so there are few times when she's not around us too) and she's still very difficult straight after. But generally she whines a lot and is paranoid about being left "alone". She dislikes preschool and is more socially awkward than ever with kids her age (outside of our family).

Other people have told me this can be normal for her age, and normal for still getting used to having to share her parents and feeling dispaced.

I hope things look up for you soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm sorry you're dealing with the same. But it is comforting to know I'm not the only one. I hope things look up soon for you as well.
 

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There's a good book called "Freeing Your Child from Anxiety" that you should read.

Just a note that chewing on finger nails/random stuff may be sensory and not anxiety (though the two can go together). I would suggest reading "The Out of Sync Child" or "Sensational Kids" to see if sensory issues sound like they might be an issue.

Also, there are times in a child's development where peaks in anxiety are pretty typical. I think 3-4 is one such age, and 7-8 tends to be another such age. It has to do with a child's changing understanding of the world.
 

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I have a DS who is 4.5 yo, and we are dealing with anxiety as well as sensory issues. In some people they are related (for my son, they are not, but it is something that was explored). What you are describing, nail biting, chewing on things, being aggressive - doesn't necessarily sound like anxiety. It could be anxiety, or it could be a lot of other things.

We recently started working with a child psychologist to help our DS get through this. A few things she said -

- true anxiety doesn't go away and isn't something a kid outgrows - it gets worse with time usually if left untreated

- it is almost always caused by some event (or ongoing event)

- it is usually very treatable

It can be expressed many different ways. In my son's case, he started not wanting to go places he has gone many times before, and enjoys greatly, without me. He has been at his preschool for 2 years, and has absolutely loved it, and started freaking out when I would leave. He didn't want to go to his best friend's house - where he has gone since he was a baby and whom we are super close to. He would become truly panicked - frantic crying, hyperventilating, etc. He would talk about not wanting to do it obsessively. It got to the point that he didn't want me to be out of his line of sight. So at home, he would call out every 1 to 2 minutes, "Mommy, where are you?" - and we have a pretty small house where he could easily see/hear me. If I buckled him into his car seat, and walked around the back of the car (instead of the front), he would be super panicked and crying because he couldn't see me. I could give many more examples, but basically, his fear of not being with me prevented him from doing the things he wanted to do, and had previously done with ease.

In our case, his anxiety was brought on by a health crisis (I was diagnosed with cancer) that changed our lives abruptly for a time. I went from being a SAHM who spent all my time with him, to being physically and emotionally unavailable to him for a time. DS was 2.5 when it happened - so 2 years ago. The cancer is considered cured, and our life has been back to "normal" for quite a while, but the anxiety (which for him, was about me going away from him) just came out over the last few months (and intensified quickly). The psychologist said that is quite common as well - it can take a while for a child to express anxiety after some event.

We have only been a few times to see the psychologist, and we are already seeing a huge improvement. He is more willing to talk to her about his fears than us - so he is getting the chance to express all of this. She has given us a lot of tips on how to talk to him, which have also been really helpful.

So, before you can work on it, I would make sure that it is anxiety that he is experiencing (and not sensory issues or something else). Good luck - it can be really, really hard to deal with the behaviors. I try to always remember that his fears and concerns are genuine (to him) and it must feel awful to feel that kind of anxiety.
 

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If it's mostly mouthing-type issues, I'd consider a mineral deficiency, either zinc or iron. Some kids chew their nails and put things in their mouths as part of that, my daughter does.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by emski4379 View Post
So what would be my best bet at figuring this out? Go see our Ped?
Depends on how your ped feels about ordering bloodwork, but that's one approach. You'd want iron and ferritin (which looks for stores of iron, should be a more sensitive indicator of low iron) and red blood cell zinc (not whole blood or serum). For my kids, it fits with my health history (depression, hypothyroid) and our overall situation, so I haven't tested, but I'm working with an alternative-type healthcare provider to get guidance on dosages. There are other places online to read about other signs of mineral deficiencies, or an extreme example is pyroluria--which is a very unusual zinc metabolism problem, but the symptoms are at the extreme end of zinc deficiency, so you can an idea even though that's very doubtful that pyroluria is actually involved for you (you'd notice a lot more health issues).
 

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DS is like that. I just veiw it as normal 3 yo behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I spoke with our ped. She's AP and NFL herself so I trust her opinion. She thinks he's just anxious about all the attention DD gets. She thinks it's a bad case of jealousy and that we need to start praising him for being kind to her. She also recommended Siblings Without Rivalry. So we'll see...
 
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