how can i help my 8 year old with his anxiety

Carole - posted on 04/26/2012 ( 33 moms have responded )

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i am at my wits end ,i dont no what more to do for him had him to doctors numerous times with throat problems been to camhs he worries about everything he panics so much he feels physically sick having death fears its breaking my heart to see him like this

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Angela - posted on 04/29/2012

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Hi Carole, my daughter is 9 and she's been exhibiting sings of anxiety since she was 6. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does she usually complains of stomach pains, overall body itching, cries, or lashes out with frustration and anger. She is our oldest child of four and our only daughter so we do expect a lot from her. I'm and RN and my husband is a paramedic so we deal with anxiety attacks from patients on many occasions (primarily adults). Unfortunately it's a bit different when it's your own child. We currently don't seek treatment outside the home. We do the deep breathing techniques and explain to her that her body is reacting to her worries and stresses. We calm her down and ask what has been going on during the day to make feel this way. sometimes it's something that happened at school or will happen....like a test or new learned skills, even friends bugging her during class. Sometimes she says she feels like she is not getting enough attention. We always try to reassure her that she will be fine amd make it through the minor "bumps" in her life....we did :-) She is an awesome kid! Always remind your son how great and strong he is....how smart and creative he can be....reassurance goes a long way.

Stephanie - posted on 04/28/2012

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My son has had difficulties with anxiety. Depending on where you are, you might be able to find a support group for kids who worry. The Kaiser near us has this and it has helped friend's kids as well. Another resource that was very helpful for us was Hand in Hand parenting, www.handinhandparenting.org/. They offer phone consultations and tons of online support. Patty Wifler also has a great set of booklets that help to understand the emotions of children. They are very cheaply priced and super helpful. I have also been reading books about sensitive kids. These have helped. My favorite is Raising a Strong Sensitive Boy and the other is The Highly Sensitive Child. I know this is a very difficult time, but it's obvious that you're a conscientious mom. You'll get through it and you're a good mom. He'll find his way with your help and be a stronger person for it. Good luck.

Constance - posted on 11/17/2012

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I, Im constance from Jamaica. My son, who is eight(8) has been complaining of feeling like his heart is going to stop and that it feels like its "grabbing" and slowing down. I took him to the heart specialist who ran all the test and confirmed that he is fine. she mentioned however that he is extremely anxious. He had a bout of the attacks tonight and said he is afraid of going to sleep cause he may find it hard to wake up or he may die. This really freaks me out. I prayed with him and told him that whenever he feels afraid he should pray. I have read the post and am comforted that I am not the only going through this. additionally I have found a few helpful points like what he watches on TV and my expectations as playing a part in his anxiety as well as seeing a psychologist. I thank you all for writing these post, they are really helpful, especially to a mother of three boys ( 8year old twins) Thanks much and keep sharing.

Jill - posted on 05/09/2012

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I have not read what other people have replied but I went through this with my now 8 year old (7 year old at the time). I brought him to see a Naturalpath doctor which was the best thing I could have done for him. He also struggled with sensory issues and tics. They did testing on him by taking saliva and urine samples at different times of the day. It turned out many chemicals in his brain were very low which was causing most of his problems. He was put on some natural medications and he was a new kid within a month. I took him off the medication after about 4 months because the medications are to repair what is wrong. He did start having problems again about 5 months later so I contacted my Naturalpath doctor and he chewed me out because you need to be on a medication for at least 6 months for the change to take place on a cellular level. We are coming to the end of the 6 months now so I will be contacting my Naturalpath doctor again to see what his views are as far as stopping or continuing for a while longer. Regarding the testing that was completed, I got a referal from my regular Family Practice Doctor and it was covered through my insurance. I originally pain and then they reimbursed me. The medications can get expensive but I looked at it as how much it was helping my son and that it was only short term. I work in a mental health hospital as a RN and there are many times I wish I could bring the knowledge of the Naturalpath medication in with me and recommend people see one but of course that can't be done just like it is not legal to talk about religion. I hope and pray this information is helpful for you and things work out for son.

Candy - posted on 05/08/2012

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Last year my daughter had a bad bout of strep throat, about the same time she changed and started having really bad anxiety. She started washing her hands a lot, stopped eating foods that her hands had touched, became clingy and would throw up in public. I put her in counseling which helped a lot, but earlier this year I read an article on PANDAS, which is basically the strep germ attacking her brain and causing children to have anxiety. I took her to the doctors and they did a throat culture and let it grow, and they drew blood and they came out positive for strep. I was shocked since she had been sick, but gave her the meds that they prescribed and she has continually gotten better. She was able to go to an overnight camp, she eats with her hands, and is trying new foods. She even states she feels better. Please read up on it and if it sounds like your child get him tested for strep!! It really did make the difference for my daughter.

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Lucy - posted on 11/13/2013

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I am going through the exact same thing with my son whos 6 sitting up in bed not been able to catch his breath and panics incase he's going to die or i am or other family members its so upsettng for him and so hatd for me to witness its so exhausting as sometimes hes not settling till early hours in the morning and this has gone on for 6wks now, ina way im plsd am not the only one whos going though it but i have an appoinment at camhs next but im thinking there not going to be able to help me.

Alison - posted on 11/13/2013

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Hi I have a nearly 10 year old boy who is so scared of the wind it's stopping him from doing everything any advice of what I can do??

Michael - posted on 02/15/2013

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My 5year old girl gets very scared at the sound of church bells, cars riding up the block.also if i try n brush her hair or do her nails she freaks out until she finds a certain spot that makes her calm down.weather its the top of the coutch.I use to take her to the park but now i cant because after walking a few blocks she panics n jumps in my arms n wont let go.PLEASE IF ANYONE CAN HELP. mcorazo915@gmail.com

Donna - posted on 10/05/2012

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Hi Carole,

My daughter suffers from anxiety in a mild form of selective mutism. We have just completed a ten week group treatment program through one of our local Universities psycology department. The program is called Take Action and it has helped our daughter and the other children participating tremendously. The first step of the program was to recognise your child's anxiety triggers by identifying things like heart racing; crying; avoidance etc. We were then given homework which involved deep breathing (belly breathing) and relaxtion exercises. Belly breathing is just placing your hand on your belly and making sure the air is inhaled to extend the stomach and not the lungs. You can make this more fun for the children by practising lying on the floor and placing an object on the stomach to see if they can move it. Hold the breath for 3 secs then breath out slowly through the nose not mouth. This is done 5 times. The relaxation is just a matter of tensing muscles hold for 3 and relax slowly, starting with the face then shoulders, hands, stomach, legs and finishing with the toes. It is suggested that these activities be done on a daily basis until they become second nature and just kick in naturally when anxiety rears its head. Secondly it was suggested that we do it as a family when possible as it actually helps all of us and it made a huge difference in our family. The last step was to discuss with your child a special sign to prompt them to breath or relax when you recognise they are becoming anxious. We decided on just a subtle ear touching would be the visual we would use but it could be a word that you use to remind your child to belly breath or clench and relax (probably not the face in public). This is just a quick run down on the parents group first week the children did some similar work in their group as well. If you are interested and would like to know some more I would be more than willing to pass on the info to you over a ten week period so you can practise each section before moving on. These sessions have not completely about faced my daughters anxiety but there is a significant improvement within her and I am 100% sure that over time with the implementation of what we have learned that all of us wil be able to deal with not only her anxiety but our own anxiety and others around us as well. You can email me on jackliveshere1963@hotmail.com and I can provide the actual written material from both of our workbooks if you like. Cheers Donna

Ericka - posted on 09/27/2012

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Carole, I don't have any advice for you. I came to your post via google, while trying to find some answers as to how I can assist my own sweet boy (7 1/2 year old) who was always happy go lucky and sweet as can be. He's a anxious mess now, especially when it comes to sleeping. It helps to know Im not the only one dealing with this.

Rossanne - posted on 05/24/2012

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Hi Carole,
My son had severe selective mutism when he was 3,4 & 5 years old. From the age of 4 we have been treating him with EFT and surrogate tapping. He's 8 now and "normal". Jill Nelson looks like she's on the right track as well. Natural treatments get faster results and are longer lasting. Check this out.
http://www.healmyself.co.nz/eft-for-sele...

Meg - posted on 05/24/2012

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There are many good ideas here. Can I add, finding a good children's bood about worrying. If there are certain things that increase the anziety, find a book on it, Also, maybe a relaxation or yoga class for kids.

Uma - posted on 05/14/2012

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How i can help my 6 years old child
he is very teary and wants each n everything he wants should be appear immediately otherwise he weeps and does me emotionally blackmail.Sometimes he understands very well but sometimes he becomes stubborn.

Carole - posted on 05/14/2012

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i thankyou all for your wonderful advice my boy is still much the same but we are working togerther to try and make it better i am going to get more medical advice i am exhausted

Helen - posted on 05/14/2012

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Shame the poor child. It mustbe awful for both of you. I also have a son with siilar problems, though not vaguely as pronounced as your little boys', from the sound of things - well, not any more. I have found it helpul to treat his anxiety whole-istically: body, mind and spirit. I would recommend lots of quality time together, psychotherapy, medication, joint prayer and spiritual warfare. That is what I do with my boy and it has helped a lot. Hope it helps you too. I feel for you both.

Anna - posted on 05/12/2012

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My daughter is now 9 but I noticed anxious symptoms in her at age 6. She was always a very active, friendly child but had trouble making friends at school. She started to worry about everything, became clingy, teary, wouldn't sleep alone or would stay up very late refusing to sleep. I also noticed her tapping things or if she bumped into me she would come back and bump me again.
With the help of a clinical child psychologist we worked out she was very anxious and it started when my husband and I separated 2 years earlier. She had felt she had no control so she started worrying about me (hence the clingy & sleep problems) and counting things to feel in control (hence the bumping). Turns out she was counting a lot at school (pencils,steps etc) and if it didn't add up to 4 or 8 steps she would stomp to make it 8. This interfered with her school work and she believed everyone hated her so couldn't make nice friends. She was being bullied by 2 "frenemies". She has now taken control and made some very nice friends by seeing herself as a nice person who deserves better.
A lot of what we learnt was called "detective thinking" where she learnt to write down her worry then be a detective. How likely is it? What proof do you have? Has it happened before? If so, will it happen again? How bad would that be? What could you do if it did happen? What would you do different? Was it as bad as you remember? The questions differ every time. Sit down with him & go thru his worries, write them down, work through them one at a time. My daughter is very visual, it helped her to draw pictures of her worries, each on a different sheet of paper, then we worked through them one at a time. It will take time but eventually he will be able to do this without you, then without writing it down. My daughter is doing really well now but I know she may relapse from time to time and I'm prepared for it. I highly recommend a child psychologist with experience in anxiety disorders. Good luck and remember that you know your child better than anyone and together you'll work it out.

Claire - posted on 05/09/2012

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Hi there, i have the utmost sympathy for you as i started with anxiety at that same age and still to this day suffer from panic disorder with great fears of death. I was told that it is a chemical imbalance with a lot of people which can be treated medically. The negative hormone seems to be higher than the positive. My daughter suffers from anxiety and luckily i have an understanding of it and have managed to guide her through it with out her realizing that its because i too suffer.Speak to your child and let him know that there is nothing wrong with him and that a lot of people have the same problems. There are alot of natural medications that can help aswell as not eating certain foods that stimulate anxiety and exercise really helps alot. i hope he is manages as so many kids suffer today with how rushed and hard life has become..... regards Claire

Carrey - posted on 05/08/2012

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You could try Hypercalm, a natural remedy, from Family Natural Foods. My oldest son, has ADHD and struggles in the worry dept. It seems to calm him down. You take them as needed. Has you and your son suffered through a death or traumatic experience in the past? For a while, we counseled with a pastor from church. Also try praying with him about the specific worry he is having. I understand what you're feeling I was that child as a kid. Mine stemmed from a stressful home situation. Best wishes with your son.

Pam - posted on 05/08/2012

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hi my son is almost 8 and has always been a worrier,even as a baby he would cry if another child was upset, find been totally honest with him about everything no matter what his question is and what the answer is has helped him alot,he now is accepting that no matter what other people say to him he can rely on us to tell him the truth,i also have a 5 year old who doesnt care about a thing,a happy medium would be good lol,good luck

Helen - posted on 05/07/2012

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Hi, how is the situation now? I have not had the chance to read all the posts. Does he perhaps have some form of ADHD? Is he suffering from anxiety dsorder? Watch what he watches n TV etc - it may bw the cause or part of it.

Stephanie - posted on 04/30/2012

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Hi Yolanda,

The books are on Amazon if you can get that in SA. The Strong Sensitive Boy was written by Ted Zeff, you could check his website www.drtedzeff.com. The Highly Sensitive Child was written by Elaine N. Aron and the website on her book is www.broadwaybooks.com. You might also want to find Elaine N. Aron Ph.D. online as she has created a network of support with local groups for highly sensitive people. I know these are international groups so there might be one near you. Also, do check handinhandparenting.org for all kinds of online info. If they'll ship to SA these are really worth it. I hope that helps. It has been such a rough road for my son and I, but we're in a good place right now and it's amazing. There is a light at the end of tunnel and the amazing person at the center of it is finally showing himself. It's hard, as is all of this mothering right? But keep going, there is payoff and your little one is truly amazing for it.

Mavis - posted on 04/29/2012

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hi talk to your school about getting councelling for psycholists they brought in one for my son for two years

Rhea - posted on 04/29/2012

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i would try a psychiatrist and a counselor. ometimes counseling is enough, sometimes meds are necessary. Every kid is different. I have 2.....one was able to coome off the meds after a couple of years.. The other is still on after many years. What works for one doesn't always work for other.

Rhea - posted on 04/29/2012

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i would try a psychiatrist and a counselor. ometimes counseling is enough, sometimes meds are necessary. Every kid is different. I have 2.....one was able to coome off the meds after a couple of years.. The other is still on after many years. What works for one doesn't always work for other.

Yolanda - posted on 04/29/2012

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Hi Stephanie, I have similar problems with my 7 year oeld son. I would love to get hold of these books you're mentioning. The title alone says a lot. I live in South Africa,how would I go about obtaining them?

Warm regards
Yolanda

Pamela - posted on 04/28/2012

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Sit down and teach him how to DEEP BREATHE. Do it with him so he gets it. Deep breathing helps to balance the body and mind in a manner that nothing else can do. It returns the body to it's natural state called homeostasis.


In fact, sounds like both of you could use a listen to this :

http://www.chopra.com/freemeditationaudi...

and this one as well:

http://www.omharmonics.com/exclusive/aud...

They are both for attuning body and mind! May both of you find healing in listen to these.

Debz - posted on 04/28/2012

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talk to him.. tell him the truth about what is happening. find out what he thinks is going to happen and why he thinks it is. Then talk him threw the options.
My son used to stress about things. the first time a friends mum and dad got divorced he was very upset, he wanted to know what would happen if my husband and I divorced. I talked to him, went threw every detail he thought of. In the end he wasn't stressing about the divorce he was worried who would look after his younger sisters long hair. Soon as we sorted that detail he was fine.
Sending you my best wishes x

Valari - posted on 04/27/2012

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Carole...my heart goes out to you. I too have similar stuff going on. Keep trusting your mom instinct. If you feel he needs help and you need help coping...get it. When one door closes, another opens. Don't give up.

Carole - posted on 04/27/2012

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he is 8 i was given 3 seperate hours at camhs with him it did not help i dont no where to go from here i have been told its his age thankyou for replying

Carole - posted on 04/27/2012

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he is 8 i was given 3 seperate hours at camhs with him it did not help i dont no where to go from here i have been told its his age thankyou for replying

Carole - posted on 04/27/2012

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hi thankyou for your reply my son is 8 i have been told its his age i just want my happy go lucky little boy back

Amy - posted on 04/27/2012

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I would reach out to the school, I know our school is bringing in a child psychologist to do a two hour presentation to help parents who have children who have anxiety. My son is not as bad as your son but he worries about everything! I actually discussed it with his teacher today and she stated that it's actually quite common. The hardest part for me is understanding his behavior and reactions to things.

Danielle - posted on 04/27/2012

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If medication is not an option, behavioral modification is your only choice.

But without knowing his age, etc. advise is limited and should be left to professionals. Look for a children PSYCHOLOGIST not psychiatrist! Difference is meds vs. modification. If after working with your child the psychologist believes your best option is medication, think about it.

Other things you can try is "protection shelds", etc. something that they can hold, have pinned on him, etc. Work on building confidence in himself so that he can begin to realize he can handle things on his own. And perhaps look into Service Dogs or just VERY well trained dogs that will stay by his side, run through the park with him, etc so that he feels secure.

Just some ideas.

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