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My 14-year old is struggling with anxiety issues lately. She was in therapy a few years back, around the age of 10-11, for OCD behaviors. After about a year of therapy and medications, it seemed to resolve itself. I always knew it could rear its' ugly head again, and it has.

The first time around, she was fearful, had difficulty making decision, and was just acting "weird", for lack of a better word. As a parent, you know your kid, and I knew something was wrong. There were other circumstances during that time (related to my ex and his living situation) that were resolved (he is no longer a part of her life, I know that's not the ideal resolution, but it was completely his choice, because he didn't like what the judge, therapist and guardian ad litem had to say).

The problem I am struggling with this time, is that she is now a TEEN with anxiety. Ages 12 and 13 were really good years, considering what a lot of teens (and parents) go through. At 14, however, she has developed teen characteristics (aka attitude) that work it's way in, in between her being scared, unconfident, paranoid and hysterical at times. For example, she just graduated middle school, and all of the activities associated with it were very difficult to get through. Deciding whether to go to the senior dance, the senior trip, then what to wear. What to wear is a DAILY issue- I'm not exaggerating. But it's not "OMG I don't know what to wear, lol"- it is a serious anxiety inducing experience... DAILY. So, imagine shopping for a dress, shoes, and picking out a hair style (it was a semi-formal event, at a very nice catering hall). Worries about being over-dressed, under-dressed, what will everyone say? I know teens typically worry about this stuff, but what she does to herself is torturous. We spent hours in one store, crying, stuttering, her not believing me when I tell her that this is appropriate. Hours. Then the same with the shoes. Her sitting in the shoe store in tears, and embarrassed that people might be looking at her. Me, being embarrassed that people think I have a typical nasty teen that I cannot control. Well, right now I can't control her. And I can't let her sit in the house and rot. Today is her last official day of school (yes, we love in the corner of the country where school just lingers on forever). While I feel relieved that we won't have to do the daily "what should I wear" game, I am fearful that if given the choice, she will hide in her room all summer. Then,we have to tackle transitioning to high school, which is another chapter in this tale.

She won't have that choice for the whole summer, but she will have some down-time. She is in therapy, and I am in the process of getting a psychiatrist to prescribe her something, the therapist concurs with me that this is beyond age-appropriate behavior, and that some of her thoughts are just not rational. Her life is a series of "what-if" questions. It took her over two months to decide what color iPhone to buy. She had been waiting years for me to give in and get her one. With the help of the therapist (and my ultimatum) she finally got it this week. I hate the ultimatums (who on earth forces their kid to get an iPhone?), but if I do not give her a limit with consequences, she will not do anything. But she goes into severe panic mode when the deadline approaches.

Anyway, I can't say that my words can convey what is really going on here, but I'm hoping I can connect with someone who will just listen, and maybe offer some insight. As parents, we tend to be very quick to judge and blame. I've already blamed myself ten times over for all this- what did I do, what didn't I do was I not strict enough, too strict (for a while I couldn't get her to even answer a question about school, friends, anything random- not an attitude for an answer, but but literally couldn't come up with words). Am I putting too much pressure on her, are my expectations of her ridiculosly high (they are not, btw). I expect her to try hard and actually do her school work, which she did well in this year. Her behavior is appropriate I'm school, which makes me feel even more to blame.

I have a small number of friends I can share this with, because the rest just say stupid things like "welcome to the teen years" or "just wait, it only gets worse". My 'mother and husband (her step father) don't get it either- they try, but their patience is limited. My mom doesn't "get" mental illness, and my husband has his own anxiety issues, and ironically can't relate to others problems. Hopefully there is someone here who gets it...
 

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I was a teenager with OCD. Medication made the problem much worse, and moving out on my own resulted in crippling panic attacks on a fairly regular basis. When I was 19 and in college, I saw a psychologist for talk therapy and that helped tremendously. I think for some kids it's an extreme reaction to the loss of control they feel, at an age when nature is telling them to head out on their own but socially they aren't ready yet. It sounds like it's a control thing with her too, since it's flared up during her issues with her dad and during the middle school - high school transition stage. Those are both scary, out-of-control times and OCD is like that.

Try getting her into talk therapy with a psychologist to root out and address the issues causing the problem, if possible (it's a better long-term solution than drugs). Good luck!
 

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Big hugs. My ds, who is almost 11, has dealt with issues of anxiety for several years. It's not easy... for him or me. People who do not have struggles with pervasive anxiety, often look at the anxious person as being irrational and believe they should just "get over it." I spend a lot of time advocating for my ds, in addition to educating people about anxiety.

If you do decide to get your dd back into therapy, I highly recommend finding a clinician that does DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). It combines traditional CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) with mindfulness practices. DBT focuses on not just identifying, understanding and changing, but even more importantly, accepting. Mindfulness practices have been very helpful for my son in helping him to manage (and accept) his anxiety.
 

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Managing and accepting anxiety - YES. I didn't know that was the name for what my therapist did, but she helped me identify my triggers and also made sure I understood that a panic attack is only a panic attack. Once I stopped fearing panic attacks, they got a lot better. Once I was able to recognize the symptoms, look the panic attack in the face, and just be like, "Oh, a panic attack, ok. No one's ever died of a panic attack so I'll just breathe deep and wait this out" - they got weaker and weaker and eventually quit altogether. I still get anxiety sometimes but I know that's all it is.
 

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Thank you for your helpful responses. I really appreciate it. She is in therapy for a few weeks already, maybe a total of five sessions thus far. I like the therapist so far- she specializes in adolescent females, and works in an all girls HS during the day, so I feel she really has a relatability factor. I will look into DBT and CBT, to get a better understanding of what you're talking about. I am a pediatric nurse, but have no formal/legitimate psych experience (but always found it very interesting). I also teach nursing on the college level, and have noticed in recent years the increased numbers of young adults coming to college with anxiety issues (and as discalceata mentioned) difficulty transitioning to adulthood and independence. She definitely is not ready to grow up, despite her perceived maturity in school and performing arts. She is well spoken, friendly and has common sense (when she wants to).

I am incredibly open to whatever the experts feel is the appropriate way to handle this, including possible pharmacological solutions. I just hope it doesn't make it worse, and I know the reality of that with some people. She was on meds before and they worked, most likely along with therapy and removal of stressors. But this time I cannot remove high school, or the everyday things she finds stressful (like deciding on what to wear and eat). For lunch today, we took a walk to Subway, because I wanted her to get out of the house and "be with the people" (as she puts it). The decision on which sandwich to get was a very tough one. Basically it gets to the point where she tells me to pick for her, then she tests me by asking me if she can change her mind, at which point I tell her "no". If I give her any wiggle room to make a decision, she has a meltdown.

I have yet to use the term panic attack. I think that makes it more serious I my mind. I know it's serious already, but that term scares me (to admit that my daughter is having them).
 

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It might actually help to name the panic attack, then. It definitely sounds like she's terrified of responsibility and making choices for herself, and obviously she can't go through life like that. I think with me, it was a fear of making the wrong decision because I felt like the stakes were SO incredibly high that if I made the wrong choice, my entire life would be ruined. Really the best cure for that was making some mistakes, forcing myself to do the scary things, not allowing myself to back out of things, and coming through the other side okay.

I moved to another country for two years as part of this process. I had a huge shaking breakdown in the airport. I collapsed crying on the floor and had to drink myself silly just to get on the plane. When I got there and didn't die, and I HAD to take care of myself, I got more and more adventurous. I went on a roadtrip where I was so terrified of getting killed that I piled all the furniture in the room against the motel room door at night so I could sleep. I wouldn't trade that trip for the world now. I think, actually, that it was on that trip when I started learning to trust myself and be okay.

I'm not saying send her to another country at 14, mind, I'm just saying that she's going to need to learn to take risks and trust herself in order to beat this. Hopefully her counselor is working with her on that. Luck and love to all of you.
 

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She was on meds before and they worked, most likely along with therapy and removal of stressors.
The key isn't to remove stressors. It's about her learning coping strategies to deal and manage the anxiety when the stressors arise. This is what she should be learning in therapy.

Additionally, you can also arrange to meet with her therapist for a collateral session. A collateral session is where you (without your dd) meet with the therapist to discuss some of your struggles with your dd's anxiety and the therapist is able to help you develop tools to assist your dd in managing her anxiety, in addition to providing you with a bit more psycho-education around anxiety. Collateral sessions are an way to get extra support for both you and your dd.

Anxiety is difficult because you are constantly toeing a line... on one hand, you cannot allow her anxiety to take over and need to stop her from pushing it over the ledge. On the other hand, there needs to be some understanding, compassion towards her struggle... but without too much emotion and/or coddling. When my ds starts to get really worked up, I remind him (very clearly and concisely) that his brain is starting to go haywire and he needs to put it back online. Then, I help him to start identifying what tools he can use to help him.

The more emotion/coddling you show to the anxiety... the more power you give to the anxiety. Empower her and express your belief in her ability to not let anxiety rule her life. Separate the anxiety from the person.
 

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KimP, we are walking in your shoes too. not OCD here but depression AND anxiety. she will start therapy soon and if therapist says we need further therapy and meds - i am totally up for it. dd will be 12 in a few months. puberty hit her hard with her having extreme mood swings (exacerbated by certain food triggers) and depression.

she was such a mess we had to remove some huge triggers last year. her behaviour improved a lot. now she needs help with other triggers.

as she grows older and becomes more aware her anxieties are crippling her. 'virgo worrier' is what she calls herself. the what ifs. so bad that she feels her throat closing and barely able to breathe. this is new and the more she is at her dad's she freaks for no reason. i am able to talk to her on the phone and calm her down.

her biggest trigger - two different parents, two different parenting philosophies. and her struggle to be caught in between.

i hope she will talk. she is worried about what the therapist will think of her, she feels terrible about bad mouthing parents... but i told her she needs to get things off her chest.

i am not afraid of mental illness. i'd of course rather dd not have it, but i no longer am afaid of it. when dd was 3 years old, my meditation teacher shared her journey with her teen bipolar son. and it really changed my life. my philosophy towards MI. my dd will never walk that path alone - if she needs to walk that path.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
The key isn't to remove stressors. It's about her learning coping strategies to deal and manage the anxiety when the stressors arise. This is what she should be learning in therapy.

Additionally, you can also arrange to meet with her therapist for a collateral session. A collateral session is where you (without your dd) meet with the therapist to discuss some of your struggles with your dd's anxiety and the therapist is able to help you develop tools to assist your dd in managing her anxiety, in addition to providing you with a bit more psycho-education around anxiety. Collateral sessions are an way to get extra support for both you and your dd.

Anxiety is difficult because you are constantly toeing a line... on one hand, you cannot allow her anxiety to take over and need to stop her from pushing it over the ledge. On the other hand, there needs to be some understanding, compassion towards her struggle... but without too much emotion and/or coddling. When my ds starts to get really worked up, I remind him (very clearly and concisely) that his brain is starting to go haywire and he needs to put it back online. Then, I help him to start identifying what tools he can use to help him.

The more emotion/coddling you show to the anxiety... the more power you give to the anxiety. Empower her and express your belief in her ability to not let anxiety rule her life. Separate the anxiety from the person.
I agree completely about the emotional aspect. It is a balancing act. I know when I am matter of fact about it, it upsets her. But when I show any sort of emotion, it upsets her too. I go back and forth. my therapist spoke to me about this, and I got defensive when she mentioned that I can't let her see my emotions. I am a human being, and she needs to know that I am not callous and cold-hearted about this. So, I balance back and forth. It is getting easier over time, to show concern without acting like an objective party, or a blubbering fool.

As far as her stressors, I don't completely agree. While I know I cannot remove all stressor from her life (she needs to be able to pick out her own clothes, get to school on her own, decide on lunch, etc) the stressor of her father, and the toxic environment she was in needed to be addressed. She became I'll at the thought of going over there, and would shut down if anyone in my family tried to address what was going on over there. If some one is being abused or bullied (whether it be at school, in the workplace or home), at some point, even after effective coping strategies have been learned, a change may be in order. My child definitely needs more effective coping strategies, I won't argue that. I know if she does not develop them, this will continue at other stressful times in her life.
 

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KimP, we are walking in your shoes too. not OCD here but depression AND anxiety. she will start therapy soon and if therapist says we need further therapy and meds - i am totally up for it. dd will be 12 in a few months. puberty hit her hard with her having extreme mood swings (exacerbated by certain food triggers) and depression.

she was such a mess we had to remove some huge triggers last year. her behaviour improved a lot. now she needs help with other triggers.

as she grows older and becomes more aware her anxieties are crippling her. 'virgo worrier' is what she calls herself. the what ifs. so bad that she feels her throat closing and barely able to breathe. this is new and the more she is at her dad's she freaks for no reason. i am able to talk to her on the phone and calm her down.

her biggest trigger - two different parents, two different parenting philosophies. and her struggle to be caught in between.

i hope she will talk. she is worried about what the therapist will think of her, she feels terrible about bad mouthing parents... but i told her she needs to get things off her chest.

i am not afraid of mental illness. i'd of course rather dd not have it, but i no longer am afaid of it. when dd was 3 years old, my meditation teacher shared her journey with her teen bipolar son. and it really changed my life. my philosophy towards MI. my dd will never walk that path alone - if she needs to walk that path.
Wow, this was our life about 4 years ago. The only difference, from what I can tell here, is that my ex was not a co-parent whatsoever. I wouldn't have had the opportunity to talk her out of an anxiety attack over the phone (he would never allow it). Only twice, did he do something semi-intelligent to help de-escalate her. Once, he took her over to his parents (I actually still communicate with them, but at the time, not so much, because they were clueless to the situation at hand). I found this out through CPS. The caseworker was not pleased, because she felt he should have called me (because that's what my DD wanted) and she felt he was cutting her off from me. The second time this happened, he called me, and said I could come pick her up. That was the last time she saw him.

With my dd, I feel there is some depression sprinkled in there, as well as some paranoia. Honestly, I personally don't need a name for it. She even asked me "am I bipolar?" Crippling is also a word we have used (I actually went with paralyzing). She is well aware that his is adversely affecting her life, moreso than four years ago. She is entering HS in the fall. She said to me "am I going to be better by HS?"
 

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I don't think you are to blame because she lets herself go around you. I think she feels safe enough to let her guard down. Away, she knows she has to hold it together, act normal, do it herself. She has the impression you can fix it for her when you are around, or at least believes you can help carry the burden. She will gain abilities to cope as time goes on, she just needs to feel more independent a bit at a time and have you to talk it out with and will want you to take over when need be. I go kind of OCD and anxiety when I'm overwhelmed, it's gotten better over the years of adulthood though.
 

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As far as her stressors, I don't completely agree. While I know I cannot remove all stressor from her life (she needs to be able to pick out her own clothes, get to school on her own, decide on lunch, etc) the stressor of her father, and the toxic environment she was in needed to be addressed. She became I'll at the thought of going over there, and would shut down if anyone in my family tried to address what was going on over there. If some one is being abused or bullied (whether it be at school, in the workplace or home), at some point, even after effective coping strategies have been learned, a change may be in order. My child definitely needs more effective coping strategies, I won't argue that. I know if she does not develop them, this will continue at other stressful times in her life.
Removing a child from a toxic environment, especially when you are listening/noticing a child's reactions to those visits is NEVER wrong. That's advocating for your child, which is a huge component of being a parent. I wish many of the families I work with were able to advocate for (and listen to) their kiddos like you have been able to for your dd.

You never mentioned any bullying or abuse in your earlier posts (or I just missed them), so those issues didn't even cross my mind when talking about "stressors." I was strictly addressing the stressors of choosing lunch, clothing, etc. that you mentioned in your earlier posts.

We (kids and adults) could all use to learn more healthy coping skills... learning and utilizing healthy coping skills is a life-long process.

Anyway, best of luck to you both. I hope you are both able to find some relief and support.
 

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I agree completely about the emotional aspect. It is a balancing act. I know when I am matter of fact about it, it upsets her. But when I show any sort of emotion, it upsets her too. I go back and forth. my therapist spoke to me about this, and I got defensive when she mentioned that I can't let her see my emotions. I am a human being, and she needs to know that I am not callous and cold-hearted about this. So, I balance back and forth. It is getting easier over time, to show concern without acting like an objective party, or a blubbering fool.
Oh, and the balancing act is one of the hardest things for me as a parent. When the sky would start to get dark and gloomy (we live in the Bay Area, so dark, gloomy fog is inevitable), my ds would start to pace, chew his fingers and express incessant "what-if worries." It was heartbreaking to watch and I'd just hold, comfort and reassure him. Unfortunately, when I did that, it prolonged the situation and often escalated the anxiety. Once I learned from his therapist and my own on how to help him more effectively with these episodes, the fewer and less severe they became. It's been almost a year since he's had a "weather" episode. But, it was (and still is) difficult for me to not react in an overly compassionate and loving manner when he is so clearly in distress.
 

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You never mentioned any bullying or abuse in your earlier posts (or I just missed them), so those issues didn't even cross my mind when talking about "stressors." I was strictly addressing the stressors of choosing lunch, clothing, etc. that you mentioned in your earlier posts.
I was speaking in general terms, not specifically to our situation. The jury is still out on whether or not their was actual abuse going in in her fathers house. If there was, that could take years to come out.

Things are slowly getting better. The fact that school is over is helping a bit, and the periods of indecisiveness are getting easier for me to handle, hence she is becoming less emotional.
 

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I grew up with anxiety, social and otherwise, that my parents didn't want to address. Their opinion was that if they forced me to "face my fears" I'd get over them. In reality, that only made things worse. I was scared everyday, not only about what my normal triggers, but also what my parents were going to force me to do that day. They never got me help. They, to this day, chalk it up to normal teenage insecurity. So, I think you are way ahead of the game recognizing that your dd is struggling. I want to give you a big hug because you are such a supportive mom.
 

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I grew up with anxiety, social and otherwise, that my parents didn't want to address. Their opinion was that if they forced me to "face my fears" I'd get over them. In reality, that only made things worse. I was scared everyday, not only about what my normal triggers, but also what my parents were going to force me to do that day. They never got me help. They, to this day, chalk it up to normal teenage insecurity. So, I think you are way ahead of the game recognizing that your dd is struggling. I want to give you a big hug because you are such a supportive mom.
QOTM - i am so sorry to read this (for lack of a better phrase). it really hurts my heart. this is exactly what's going on at ex's place. he is getting even more mean. his attitude is i will tell you nicely the first few times, but if you persist then i will get mean and vicious.

his immediate reaction is anger and yelling.

but alas I cannot remove dd from ex. the thought has entered my mind, but there is a good side to him and dd loves him dearly. and he does in his own way. it just means reduced time with him. but dd gets really upset and down if she doesnt see her dad.

but i hope he gets there's something going on coz he now complains that dd does not want to spend time with him.

for right now i am hoping by the end of this year he could meet the therapist and she would be able to help him parent her. and hopefully he would listen.

KIMP - dd texts a lot. or she goes for a walk and then calls me. yes he does not like it that she talks to me.

HOLLAND - i know what you mean by not being overly compassionate. it drags things longer than usual. i am discovering with dd that silence is best. empathy. just listening.

and then doing something really physical. i cant express how much just a brisk walk has changed for us. dd doesnt really want to go sometimes but i can usually find a reason to go - to pick figs or get a cold drink.
 
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but alas I cannot remove dd from ex. the thought has entered my mind, but there is a good side to him and dd loves him dearly. and he does in his own way. it just means reduced time with him. but dd gets really upset and down if she doesnt see her dad.

but i hope he gets there's something going on coz he now complains that dd does not want to spend time with him.

for right now i am hoping by the end of this year he could meet the therapist and she would be able to help him parent her. and hopefully he would listen.
This is how we started out. I didn't want to take her away from her father, and for many years, she seemed to enjoy going over there. I remember my mom saying "at some point, she will want to spend less time there, because her life is really at your house" (he did not love in the area, school and friends were in my neighborhood). We also knew it was going to have to come from her request, because he was very controlling and would not give in to anything I wanted. It came sooner than we thought, apparently for different reasons.

HOLLAND - i know what you mean by not being overly compassionate. it drags things longer than usual. i am discovering with dd that silence is best. empathy. just listening.
The dragging of things is very painful. I'm learning the emotional episodes do nothing to solve the issue, And only serve to suck the life out of both of us. By the end of the day (8pm for me) I am ready for bed, just me time.

i cant express how much just a brisk walk has changed for us. dd doesnt really want to go sometimes but i can usually find a reason to go - to pick figs or get a cold drink.
We are trying this too, just getting out if the house and being physical. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes she
Gets all nasty and says "where are we going" or "why are we 'just walking"? Then I feel we need to encorporate an activity into it, and that may lead to having to make a decision.
 

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"Me time" and psychiatrist stress

Is it selfish of me that I feel like I don have any "me time"? I am the mother of one child- a teen-ager. We went to the beach the other day, with my best friend and her younger kids. At first she was fine win just chillin with us (there were other moms there, friends of my friend). The next oldest kid was an 11 year old girl, who she didn't know, and didn't feel comfortable socializing with (which in previous years she would have done). She wanted to go in the water, I didn't (it was freeeezing). I walked down with her, and watched her go in the water. I stood there, pretending to just be enjoying getting my feet wet. After a while, I just felt like I was with a four year old. I'm tired of being her sole source of entertainment and socialization. She kept looking back to see if I was there. Finally, I motioned to her that I was going back to the chairs. She wasn't upset.

My other best friend says we spend too much time together. My reply is "she is my child, I can't just not, if she has no one else to spend it with". I agree that we do, but honestly, what can I do? She says- just go out. If I need to go to the store or an appointment, I will leave her home alone. But I'm not just going to randomly go out with my husband (for dinner, drinks, etc) and leave her home. Tonight, I made plans with some co workers, and my husband is in a dart team. So I am bringing her to my parents for dinner.

It's not that I feel she can't fend for herself (she'd basically be doing the same thing whether I was home or not, or was at my mothers: surfing the internet and listening to music). I just feel like right now, if I am not with her, or planning daily activities, she would do nothing. She makes little effort to be a teen, and socialize.

Psych stress later, in another post.
 

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But I'm not just going to randomly go out with my husband (for dinner, drinks, etc) and leave her home..
Having had marriage problems that were partly caused by me putting the kids first and DH putting his career first, we now spend one meal a week just the two of us. We know exactly what happens if you go long enough taking your marriage for granted.

I highly recommend making a date time (whatever works for you and your DH) a weekly thing once children are past the difficult baby stage (which your DD is). Tending our primary relationship is one of the best things we can do for our children.

You aren't doing her any favors by being so centered on her. Tell her straight out that you and daddy are going on a DATE because that's what couples do. In addition to being good for your marriage, its set a good example for her.

One of my kids has autism and a social anxiety disorder. Her issues are different from your DDs (she could easily pick out a phone, using it to call someone is a completely different issue). Good parenting REQUIRES we take care of ourselves and set boundaries. It also requires we have a little faith in our kids, even when they are struggling.

Next time you have a beach thing planned, tell her to call a friend to go along. If she refuses and then is clingy at the beach, don't coddle her. Tell her that's why you wanted her to bring a friend. She needs clear and repeated messages from you that she can make friends.

The amount of independence and social confidence she develops in the next few years will partly determine how independent and functional she is an adult. It's time to push her a bit. It's time for her to call/text/facebook message friends.
 

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I have a couple of pretty extreme introverts who also have a bit of social anxiety, and I'm wondering about the social aspect. A few things have popped out at me: your concern that her friends seem to be unavailable in the summer, your not wanting to leave her home alone because she won't make an effort to "be a teen" and socialize, and your feeling that you need to constantly spend time with her so that she won't be alone.

My kids each went through a couple of years in mid-adolescence where they spent a ton of time alone. As a fellow introvert, I cut them a lot of slack when they seemed to have no social urges whatsoever for months on end. I'm like that when I'm feeling overwhelmed by changes / stress / whatever. That's how introverts cope: they recharge by being alone. Obviously there's a point at which complete social isolation can interfere with the development of social skills and can worsen self-esteem, but within quite broad limits I think that alone-time is good for introverts. It gives them a reliable period of time when they know they won't be subjected to the emotional demands of coping with the social situations that drain them of their energy and resilience. It gives them time to get comfortable with who they are, to process the changes they're going through, to fill up their emotional reserve tanks.

There's a balance to be struck here, but I think it's easy to lean too far on the "socializing is good for you" side of the balance. If you are an introvert who is constantly being nudged to get out with people and have some fun, it's pretty easy to internalize the message that there's something really wrong with you. It's as if people believe there's something so off-kilter about you that you need to be saved from the toxic situation of being alone with yourself. And when the "getting out and having some fun" leaves you emotionally drained, you wonder why fun isn't fun for you. It took me a long time as a teen and young adult to realize that I wasn't a pathetic, sad and socially stunted person because I didn't jump at every opportunity to hang out or go to a party. I tried for quite a while to push myself into social overdrive in the hope that I'd become comfortable with it, but I just found myself feeling crappy a lot of the time and turning to alcohol to ease the stress. Eventually I realized that I have plenty of social skills, and absolutely have fun in social situations of my choosing, but only if I have a ton of unpressured down-time to recharge.

I'm not by any means suggesting that this is the root of your dd's problems, or that her anxiety would be cured by letting her cocoon in her bedroom for the next five years. I'm just wondering whether you may be inadvertently sending the message that alone-time is unhealthy to a person to whom alone-time is actually an important part of emotional health. And I also wonder whether accepting that you don't have to rescue your dd from listening to music alone at home might free you up to get some of the personal time and sense of self that you may need.

Miranda
 
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