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December 14, 2011


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The Mad House

Mai is very much like this and I have to say that the relaxed kids CD's are a godsend. We also do tapping which Sue Atkinson helped me with for him. I was a very over anxious child and ended up on medication and I do not ant this for the boys. I think it is also good to remember that you are not supposed to be happy all of the time

Sally Whittle

Flea can be anxious in some ways. She's a real perfectionist and while she's madly confident in lots of ways, we had issues at school this year and last where she could be inconsolable at wearing the wrong hat, or not having the right bag. It sounds silly but she REALLY panics about that sort of thing, and worries herself stupid. She can't do maths homework EVER because the thought of having an answer wrong freaks her out SO badly she's in tears within 20 seconds.

What worked for us was spending time at home in a relaxed way, saying okay, well, if X happened what would we do? So if Flea had the wrong bag, she could tell Mrs W (her teacher)who could phone me, and I could bring the right bag to school. Or if she didn't have her work finished in time, she could do it during registration. Her teacher was hugely supportive and reiterated the same messages, as well as deliberately getting sums wrong on the board from time to time!

We looked at activities that would give Flea the ability to build independent coping skills - she's joined beavers and will soon join a kids' theatre group. It's about teaching Flea that when something unexpected happens, or if something goes wrong, she can fix it, and she has friends around who will help her.

It's basically the same technique used to treat anxiety in adults - you mentally walk through the worst-case scenario, and think about what would happen, alongside looking to develop the necessary coping skills.

Obviously, forgetting bags is rather different to your parents dying. I have to say, though, IJ is at the textbook age when kids start to understand that death is permanent and possible, and it's common for them to become anxious. I think all you can do is reassure her that premature death is very rare, and most people are lucky enough to be very old before they die - but if you did die, she'd still be okay.

Erm, that's an essay. I apologise. Probably not v helpful, either. But maybe someone with actual advice will be along soon.

Rosie Scribble

Thanks Jen. We've for a Relax Kids CD so I'm going to dig it out. I was an over anxious child too, so I'm guessing IJ is going to have similar personality traits, but I'm keen for it not to develop into a more pressing issue, which it could. So I'm keeping a close eye.

Rosie Scribble

Sally, thank you. Your description of Flea could so easily be applied to IJ. She, too, has worried about wearing the wrong hat and taking the right bag and is so worried about getting her maths wrong that she works through it far too slowly then gets low marks as she hasn't had time to complete the paper.

In small groups she is much better. Where you are one step ahead of us is with looking into activities that build independent coping skills. IJ has said no to Rainbows, Brownies and most after-school clubs because she is too worried about attending, but I think I need to pursue that as I've let her opt out which might not be in her best interests longer term.

I think she is acutely aware at the moment that it is just the two of us so if I died she's be on her own, but that's something we probably need to talk about more so she feels more reassured.

If I write another post like this I will expect nothing short of an essay. Your comment has been extremely helpful. Thank you.


I suffer from anxiety and did so as a child. I even ended up having CBT for it and I know that my little boy is heading the same way. I intend to use drawing and stories to try to talk through some of the issues in the best way I can. When I had CBT I was told to think of a tree with all its branches and think about what was at the root of each branch of anxiety.

In this case you know so you may find you can talk or do some drawings about it and talk about solutions to the worst and best case scenarios. I'm going through a similar thing with my boy as he was allowed to watch Nanny McPhee at school (sigh) and it has really traumatised him to the extent that he is coming into our bed nearly every night after having a nightmare.

I can still remember some of the concerns I had as a child and when I am going through a difficult times I still have those same nightmares. I dont think you will stop them, but trying to make her understand the cause of them will help her cope and the best way to do this is through talking.

I'm not sure that helped, but I wish you the best of luck and I hope with time she feels a bit better about it.

Cathy @ NurtureStore

You have great advice already but I'd just add in that I think it could be useful to tell her when you do something wrong. Just along the lines of 'you'll never guess what I did today.. I felt such a twit, but it turned out OK in the end because...' so she knows that no-one is expected to get things right all the time and that being a grown-up doesn't mean you have to be perfect. Plus she'll see that things can be fixed and you survived. I'm sure you'll be able to think of some example. ;)

Rosie Scribble

Thank you, Claire. That's really helpful. I like the idea of the drawings and the stories and helping her to understand the anxiety. I've been trying to offer reassurance and telling her not to worry so much but to an extent it isn't really getting anywhere, so a different way of managing it sounds the way to go.

I'm not such a worrier now but I have been in the past, especially as a child, and struggled to know how to manage it so I like the idea of some more practical options and I thing things are definitely easier to tolerate when you know why they are happening, and that the feelings won't remain as intense forever.

What is it with schools and films?! IJ said she didn't want to watch Nanny McPhee as she saw a clip and found it too scary. I do think schools need to proceed with care especially given that some children in the year will be younger and more sensitive than others.

Hope you're son is feeling better soon. Thanks again.

Rosie Scribble

Cathy that is wonderful. You're absolutely right. I do need to let her know that she doesn't have to be perfect and we all gets things wrong, but we survive and everything turns out okay in the end. I'm forever messing up but perhaps I need to mention it to her a little often and show her that it's okay to forget to put the bin out, burn the dinner, wear your cardigan inside out in public. I could go on!

michelle twin mum

Rosie, I do not have any wonderful advise for you I am afraid, but thanks so much for posting this as the responses you have had are incredibly useful to me. Miss E has a real tendency to be anxious and I am only just realising. I always refer to her as a tenderheart and just think of her as a little more sensitive than my other 2 bolshy kids but anxiety really could be the cause.

I'll come back and read some more.

Mich x


Hi Rosie, I saw a link to your post over at Sticky Fingers and had to click on it straight away. Our eldest daughter O.(aged 4) is really similar to some of the children mentioned above. She is a worrier and will worry about stuff even if there's no chance it will happen (just like me!) Even though I'm not anxious in front of her, I see so many similarities between when I was young and her e.g. I cried cause I didn't want to go to cubs, she cried cause she didn't want to go to ballet. We both ended up not going - it was like the 'fear of the unknown' got to us. All of the comments here have really helped though, am definitely going to put some of the techniques into practice. Thanks all.


Hi Rosie, Bex used to be ('used to be' key words here)very anxious. Same fears as IJ has. I have asked Bex what would be helpful or for any advice from her point of view. She being my sensible girl has said can she think on it and get back to me. Bless her :-)

But I wanted to let you know that it is something that especially girls seem to go through and going through it maybe is part of the course of moulding the older child/adult they will become. I would not say Bex is not anxious at all but she has grown up to be a very thoughtful and astute child and perhaps experiencing feelings like that when she was younger, then working throgh them has helped her become that child.

Will get back to you on anything from Bex xxx

Rosie Scribble

Thanks Mich,

Judging by the comments here we are not alone in having a child who experiences anxiety, which I find very reassuring. I like the idea of relaxation CDs, demonstrating that we can get things wrong and it isn't the end of the world, and helping them understand their anxiety more as it might be something they have to live with, so helping to manage it seems key.

If I get any more helpful information I'll let you know and perhaps I'll write a post too. Do take a look at Ali's recent comment as her daughter used to suffer from anxiety but has overcome them, which is really reassuring. x

Rosie Scribble

Thanks for taking the time to pop over and comment Musodad. I've found it reassuring to read that I am not alone. Many parents seem to have children that struggle with anxiety. I'm also going to put some of the techniques mentioned into practise.

Like you, I see a lot of myself in my daughter and I was a very anxious child. I suppose that has made me even more anxious, because I don't want it to develop in a serious mental health problem, but she is probably picking up on my anxiety which won't be helping matters.

Hope your daughter doesn't stuggle too much in the years to come. My last commenter has just mentioned that her daughter managed to overcome her anxiety, which is very reassuring.

Thanks again.

Rosie Scribble

Ali, thank you so much. It is incredibly reassuring to read that Bex used to be anxious but that it no longer affects her in any major way. I've pointed many people in the direction of your comment as I think it will offer many people, like me, hope that this is not the start of a downward spiral, but might actually be a stage that many children go through. And judging by the response to this post there are many children out there experiencing this very problem. Thanks again and send my very best wishes to Bex. xxx

Susan Mann

Lucas is still young but worries about a lot of things in his life. I had some issues with him recently at school and found out about social stories which I have used successfully with him for various issues. Not sure if this will help. http://www.susankmann.com/2011/12/social-stories-how-i-helped-my-child.html


I haven't any answers but just the experience. I was terrified of heavy rain as a youngster and always worried that the Flood was going to happen again & I'd die. I'd scream if I was out & it rained. My solace lay in Enid Blyton books - Mallory Towers and such. I was easily 10/11 when I was reading them if not older.
Now that I'm older I have begun to realise that I have suffered from anxiety for many years. Sound silly but it has taken me a long time to accept it & now that I have we manage it. That means that there is often a plan 'b' just in case I can't face plan 'a'. I don't mean I don't fancy it but physically can't do it.
The demons (my term for an anxiety attack) come when I'm very busy & things are not organised. It's not the business - it's the feeling of not being in control or knowing what is going to happen.
I found out from my brother recently (we've onlt just made contact after 30 years!) that I was taken to a psychologist as a youngster and my parents were told to let me 'do what I wanted'. Not run riot but things like wearing odd socks. Apparently my mother was the sort that had to have everything really, really neat & tidy (more control I suppose).

So, my dear no answers but perhaps an insight. I do hope if nothing else if it is more than just a scary film that IJ can come to terms with how she is sooner rather than being like me & waiting for too many years.

Rosie Scribble

Susan, thank you. I love the idea of social stories and hadn'd heard of them before. I love the idea of drawing pictures with thought bubbles for different situations. Sounds like a really good way of breaking down the process into different stages and looking at how the child could react to each stage. I'm going to look into it further. Hope Lucus is okay now. Thanks again. Incredibly useful. xx

Rosie Scribble

Many thanks Julia. You have touched on exactly what I've been thinking about - which is that the key seems to be able to manage anxiety rather than curing it, because in many cases, as you yourself know, it can't be cured and will resurface at times. So that's what I'm particularly interested in now - learning how I can help IJ manage it when the going gets tough.

I used to suffer from dreadful anxiety myself and even though it was professionally diagnosed (and I wonder where my daughter gets it from!), I have to say that I was never given any practical ways of managing it, which would have been helpful. I'm going to step in early with IJ so it doesn't affect her for years and years.

As an aside, incredible to hear you have made contact with your brother after all those years. Really hope it is all working out. xxx

Susan Mann

You are very welcome. I hadn't either but they have worked so well I will continue to use them. Lucas is ok now, but I'm sure they will be used again and again. x

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