Anonymous

Child anxiety

Has anyone experienced anxiety in their children? My 7 year old daughter recently started having pretty severe anxiety about sleeping in her room at night. She starts getting upset and just stews on it a while before bedtime. Then she starts talking about how much she loves me and how she’s afraid I’ll die. Most nights we get through it eventually but some nights I can’t get her to stay in her bed and she ends up in my bed for the night. What makes it worse is my husband refuses to believe it’s anxiety and thinks she’s just being manipulative to try to sleep with me. He works at night and has never really experienced it himself. I’m looking for a therapist for her to start with but if anyone has any suggestions or things that have worked for their children it would be greatly appreciated.

  • Vee
    Jul 09

    My 6 year old has anxiety. I had a meeting with school therapist and teacher, last school year. They said yes child anxiety is a thing. Hes had it for a couple/few years too. He is scared of things, worries, thinks up scenarios, things like your daughter does. He has trouble with expressing frustrations, but has gotten much better. We work on and talk about how he needs to slow down and think, before he reacts, and different calm down methods. I have life talks with him about all this stuff...they're young, but they're smart and can have things going on. He wants me to sleep with him in his bed sometimes. So every night, I have to say, "you are safe, you're okay, you're good, theres people here, no worries, I love you, go night night..."

  • Christen
    Jul 09

    Have you heard of the book Simplicity Parenting? A friend recommended it to me and I haven’t finished it but the beginning is so good and makes a lot of sense... wonder if it might be helpful in your daughter’s case.

  • Mia
    Jul 10

    My daughter has some mild anxiety issues. It was worse when she was younger (she is 7 now). We did A lot of prep for things that were upcoming so that she could feel better prepared and a lot of very frank discussions. She went through the death thing too. We would just talk about it mater of factly. The fact that everybody dies, we’d share our thoughts on what might happen after death, I am not religious, so we would discuss all sorts of possibilities how some believe in heaven and others don’t. I would tell her that she was right that I could die for any number of reasons but that it was very unlikely that I would anytime soon and that I hoped it wouldn’t be until she was old and gray. We have a saying “Love never Dies” and we talk about what that means. She asks a lot of hypothetical questions and I would do my best to answer honestly and not just brush her fears aside like it won’t happen but to validate her feelings and try to talk through them until she could decide that she didn’t need to feel that way. I did my best to stay age appropriate, and sometimes the conversation would end up in one of those “how did I get into this” mode - but I also know my daughter was able to handle it (she has always been kind of mature for her age) It worked. Every now and then she still gets into these moods about me and death, but it went from almost nightly to very few and far between, and we just remind each other that love never dies and she snaps out of it pretty quickly. Of course that is just my experience. Every kid and family and experience is different. I hope in your daughters case there is no underlying issue that has caused this to start. The key is giving her a safe place to talk through it and be there for her until you can find a therapist to help guide you guys in the best course of action.

  • Lindsey
    Jul 10

    I don’t have any suggestions but I went through this when I was a child I had severe anxiety about my parents dying. It was horrible, my son also has severe anxiety about school and random things on and off. He is 5... I think we will do therapy but for the time being we talk about what is bothering him and do breathing exercises. I also tell him I am hear and listen to his worries. I hope you figure something out that helps her.😊

  • Bee
    Jul 10

    I would try to figure out the root of the cause— has she experienced something that is triggering this behavior? I pray with my children before bed, which calms their anxiety (I’ve adopted three children out of foster care). We always pray that God will protect us. Not sure if you are religious, but you could try meditating or the like. Read a calming story, etc. Hope this helps.

  • Sarah
    Jul 10

    My son has anxiety also. It started around age 5. As an anxiety sufferer myself I have applied a lot of the techniques that have helped me, such as refocusing and breathing. For a while his school anxiety was really bad and we took up a nightly yoga routine to help him calm down. Death is a tricky subject. For my very logical son I try to boil things down to probabilities. So yes death is always a possibility but not very probable. For a while he would have a panic attack every time there was a thunderstorm, so we just studied thunderstorms. Why they happen, what the chances of being hit by lightening were, where the safest place to be is, etc. I am a firm believer that knowledge is power. I think the thing to remember with an anxious kiddo is that anxiety is not something that is ever going to just go away completely, it will probably be something your daughter deals with for the rest of her life. You just need to help her learn to manage it. If you don’t have a lot of experience personally I really do recommend finding a good kids therapist that specialized in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The skills they teach are life savers!

  • Anonymous
    Jul 10

    As Lindsey said I also used to have bad anxiety as a child about loosing my parents .I didn’t know it was anxiety then but it felt so real and none of them really understood what it was and what I was going through.Now you have so many resources and you know what is better for your kid .The one thing I would suggest is listen to her and be there for her .Tell her you will be by her side always.I think she is not being manipulative .Much love to you and her ❤️

  • Anonymous
    Jul 10

    Wow, thank you everyone. I’m overwhelmed with all of the positive responses. I suffer from anxiety as well so I think I’m able to recognize it in her easily. I think what may have caused this particular issue is she used to sleep in our room on her mattress on the floor (transitioning from sleeping in bed with me since she was a baby). About 8 months ago she started sleeping in her own room and she did great at first. Then I slowly started letting her sleep with me again more and more while my husband was at work. Pretty soon I noticed it getting harder to get her to sleep in her bed. I think she got used to sleeping with me again and the more I gave in the worse it got. I contacted a counselor today, hoping to start some therapy for her and to help me learn how to better help her. Most nights she does okay and goes to sleep but some nights she has such bad panic attacks and can’t stop crying that after an hour of that I eventually give in and let her sleep with me. We talked a lot tonight and it seemed to go better than normal. Hoping to get it under control soon.

  • Anonymous
    Jul 11

    my daughter is 4 now and i took her to a therapist last year for her anxiety. anxiety is a real thing even in young children. my daughter sees her therapist from time to time. she doesn’t need to go regularly but her therapist left it open to me where she can see her when i see she is having a hard time with something or if i need new techniques to show my daughter how to comfortably process her feelings. there are some really cool apps like: Breathe, Think, Do Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame by Sesame Streethttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/breathe-think-do-with-sesame/idXXX-XXXX97?mt=8 and Stop, Breath and Think kids Stop, Breathe & Think Kids by Stop, Breathe & Thinkhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stop-breathe-think-kids/idXXX-XXXX?mt=8 these help when she is too upset to talk and she’s feeling overwhelmed. i have to talk her through many situations which takes time and patience. supporting a child through anxiety without getting angry with them or frustrated with them helps a great deal. some people may think, “oh they want attention, they’re being manipulative or they just want to have their way.” but a lot of the time it is just too many emotions and feelings for them and they just don’t know how to process. her therapist also gave us a relaxation script which is really helpful.