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Why would an 8 year old be anxious?

My 8 yr old, god bless her, is driving me crazy, and I don't know how to stop the cycle of anxiety. She is, and has always been demanding of everyones undivided attention. She makes up these scenarios in her head and literally works herself into hysteria. EX: She has a cough while playing basketball, runs off the court to me,..crying and tells me "We have to go,..I don't feel good" So on the short walk to the car,.. she starts crying harder and harder, and I ask, what doesn't feel good?
I've got flem in my throat, and I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to breathe, and them I'll have to go to the hospital and they will cut my throat! This type of thing happens ALL THE TIME, but ONLYwhen she is with me. My husband will tell her to get a grip, or ignore her so she never pulls this with him. She's not like this in school, unless I come to help out. I've tried ignoring her too, but it just escalates
Help! Advise??

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Asked by Susan1140 at 7:12 AM on Jan. 15, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (5)
  • My son was the same way. He still is to an extent, but not as much. The first thing I did was talk to the counselor at school. She gave us a book called "Don't Feed The Monster on Tuesday" This was a great book that helped a lot. You can get it at Amazon and there is a whole series of them.

    Second we learned how to calm down by breathing and to talk about how realistic something was. For example:

    The other night he was cold and his legs started shaking. He started crying saying "There is something wrong with me every time I lay down my legs start to shake. I think I need to go to the hospital because I can not stop it." So my DH said I just think you are cold, come lay down with me. After about 10 minutes he was nice and warm and feel asleep.

    If you send me a PM I can tell you some more things that we have done and how we are dealing with it.

    Good Luck

    Answer by cornflakegirl3 at 7:27 AM on Jan. 15, 2009

  • If it is only with you, then something in your response to her is encouraging it. My experience with our kids is that if WE don't make it a *BIG DEAL* then it isn't a big deal- even if it actually is! For example, if your kids see something they shouldn't don't try and hide it, or explain it away. Usually, if you don't point things out- they don't notice. You will probably now have to be quite firm with her when this happens. She will probably have a fit once or twice until she sees it doesn't work (so don't let it!!). BEFORE you change how you deal with this issue though, I would have a talk with her when she is NOT behaving this way. Explain to her how this makes you feel, why it is unnecessary (they wouldn't cut her throat open they would give her medicine...) and that it is unacceptable behavior- it is a safety issue. How will you know if she is ever truly hurt if she continually cries wolf??

    Answer by mtnmama111 at 12:12 PM on Jan. 15, 2009

  • Thanks to the folks who responded. I agree.!!I It IS a safety issue and honestly part of the reason I think I play into it, is because the one time I don't believe her, will be the one time something really is wrong. I never know if. I have spoken with her in great length about how this makes me feel, how this type of worry is unfounded and unnecessary. I never make a big deal out of it,.. but If I don't respond as concerned as she thinks I should be it escalates Cornflake?? Rookie question,.. I know,.. but PM (Private Message?) Thanks to both of you. I will try to be more calm and assertive


    Answer by Susan1140 at 3:43 PM on Jan. 15, 2009

  • My son has some anxiety too, and I usually do under-respond to him generally. Sure, a few times I may have waited an extra day to take him to the doctor for something like an ear infection...but most times I have avoided reacting to his anxiety. I sometimes tell him to let me know if it still bothers him in three hours or even a day or two (depending on what he is complaining about). Most things can wait a bit anyway, and many times he never mentions it again. I think you do need to respond very calmly without any anxiety yourself. Start with the assumption that she is okay. I even ask my son, "Are you that uncomfortable, or are you worried about what might be worng?" He actually does know the difference and she may too. It would be good for her to start to differentiate anyway. She can learn to calm herself down.

    Answer by BJoan at 4:43 PM on Jan. 15, 2009

  • There are a lot of answers to this question and no one can pin-point just one without knowing your daughter and your family. Here's just a few: the rule of thumb "nervous parents make nervous children." Another reason could be a response to something bad that has happened to her. She could also simply be extremely intelligent and has trouble learning to deal with the concepts she's able to understand at such a young age. She also could have a natural imbalance of the neurotransmitters in her body that control mood. Try counseling with a professional. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can teach her tools to use when she feels anxious to calm herself down. If a therapist feels that her anxiety is due to an imbalance and therapy isn't helping, they might recommend medication to stimulate her nervous system into regulating the neurotransmitters that control mood.

    Answer by NovemberLove at 12:51 AM on Jan. 16, 2009

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