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Has anyone ever had to deal with severe anxiety in their 9-12 yr old?

Help! I'm at my wits end! My daughter, 10 (about to be 11) has always been an "A" student and liked school. Suddenly, last week, she came home sick and has been absent for a week now. She says she feels sick at school, and is clearly avoiding going there. She isn't physically sick, we've been to her physician, her school adjust. counseler, and an outside counselor. They are all stumped. The problem isn't any other kids, her home life, her school work or "hormones." She says she wishes she could go, but just can't. It almost seems like agoraphobia. We can't keep letting her school work go and she dreads going back also because she knows how much is piling up, the more she stays out. She is withdrawing from all the stuff she did and loved, just one week ago! No life-changing events have happened, no deaths, no arguments, nothing out of the ordinary. Anyone ever had anything like this? Help!

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Asked by Anonymous at 9:09 AM on Feb. 5, 2010 in Tweens (9-12)

Answers (9)
  • SOMETHING happened, kids don't just flip like this for no reason. She may not be telling anyone what's going on but something happened. What happens if you make her go to school? Is it that she's really afraid, which is really agoraphobia or is it stressful & anxiety causing. The difference is important bc it'll help figure out what's really going on. Sure she's not playing you to get out of doing something she doesn't wanna do? Overreacting to a situation @ school? Getting bullied? Been sexually harrassed or molested by students or a teacher? Like I said before there is a cause to this change in behaviors, kids don't just flip.

    Answer by Nyx7 at 9:14 AM on Feb. 5, 2010

  • I agree that SOMETHING happened. It may be something that she's afraid to tell anyone about. Other than counseling, I would suggest that maybe you should try picking her brain. For example: ask her how she would feel about going to another school. If she likes that idea then you know that the problem is at her school. Then ask her things like......What are some things that you don't like about your school? Why don't you liike those things or people? Also stress to her that you are on her side no matter what! I hope that helps! Good luck with your little angel!!!!!

    Answer by Alizzie_Mom at 3:20 PM on Feb. 5, 2010

  • She might just have anxiety. I was like that as a kid and still get that way if I have any caffeine or chocolate or certain foods with stimulants. It's extremely frustrating bc it's not the kind you can medicate. Rationally, she knows she is doing the wrong thing, but her animal instincts are making it so that she gets physically sick in order to avoid stress she knows doesn't actually exist.

    1. Call the teacher and get all of her school work assignments. Have her start making them up right now.
    2. Set a date together to return to school. It's important that she feels in control of this date as much as possible. Even though you are really the one in control here.
    3. Very organized days are best. She needs extra down time to unwind psychologically. Not TV. Does she like to read? Can she take a nap for 15 minutes every day after school?

    Happy to talk about how my mom helped me. I'm a functioning adult. PM me.

    Answer by ecodani at 11:45 PM on Feb. 5, 2010

  • Professional counselling should help, but NOT school -related counselling. Anxiety states in youngsters are often caused by pressures to perform and do well, exerted by parents, peers or schools to the extent that all the decisions are made for the child , she gets to make none for herself. Unfortunately, it is more common among over-achievers which your daughter seems to be. For the time being , don't mollycoddle her, don't get hyper over this, give her space and be patient. The solution could involve changes in how you parent as well as new routines for her and you should be aware of this when she goes for counselling.

    Answer by janet116 at 12:39 AM on Feb. 6, 2010

  • Wow I don't have any suggestions but I hope your little one can find a way to deal with whatever is bothering her. I would be seriously worried about what she isn't telling you.

    Give her a hug from me.

    Answer by Allergic2Stupid at 12:41 AM on Feb. 6, 2010

  • I had a lot of anxiety issues and still do school was very difficult as a child and I like your daughter was very bright. For me going to middle school was the beginning of teh end I went from being popular at my elemtary school to low girl on the totem at middle school and I never really recovered. It's very important that she builds self esteem value and worth that is internal so she is not focusing on what other people might think of her. Giving her an outlet may also be very helpful. If groups of people make her cringe I would have her take come art classes at a local school (not her own school) or something that helps her to feel good about herself and is theraputic. Perhaps playing an instrument, or taking up dance, or walking some of the dogs at a local animal shelter, a creative writing class there are thousands of opportunities for her to find who she is be comfortable with it and gain esteem so she feels more cont

    Answer by katiekruschke at 8:43 PM on Feb. 6, 2010

  • confident going to school. I was an excellent singer and dancer so no matter how much everything sucked I looked forward to 6th period chior and tap class on thursday nights because when I was there I was awesome and I could do no wrong and I felt good about myself. Informing her teachers could also be very beneficial. Perhaps she could have a quiet and "safe" place to go when she is feeling overwhelmed, most schools are pretty accomodating about that kind of thing. Keep things peaceful and on the down low so she can feel very chill and not over stimulated. I would also recommend a child psychologist who is not affiliated with the school in any way. She may need medication to help or even just something to take the edge of panic attacks but life will be easier for her if she can cope without medication there is a level of disconnect that happens on meds which can be very useful and very challenging all at the same time

    Answer by katiekruschke at 8:48 PM on Feb. 6, 2010

  • If the counselor you took her to doesn't know what is wrong or can't help her, then FIND SOMEONE ELSE. There is something real and major going on with her and she deserves help. You may have to get the school to provide a tutor or homeschool her until you find out what is wrong with her and she recieves treatment. If she does have Agoraphobia, she cannot be forced to leave the house, it will just make matters worse. She needs to be eased into leaving the house and going back to school. Agoraphobia is much worse than anxiety and panic attacks, it is a very real and scary disorder that needs meds and therapy to control and can take YEARS to help and there will be relapses too. GET HER INTO SOMEONE ELSE, NOW. Someone that is not affiliated from the school. Get a referral from her doctor.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 11:09 PM on Feb. 6, 2010

  • I have agoraphobia and I didn't wake up one day and suddenly it was there. With her age, I would guess something really bad happened to her about a week ago. It could be she witnessed something bad or experienced it. My grandson's friend is going through this and refuses to go to school. Turns out he's being bullied. That age group seems to get a lot of bullying. Ask her if someone did something to her or if she witnessed something. You can always homeschool if going back would be too traumatic for her.

    Answer by admckenzie at 12:21 PM on Feb. 8, 2010

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