S.H. asks from Moneta, VA on April 10, 2009
7 Almost 8 Yrold with Stress
My almost 8 yr old came home with a bite mark on her arm and after questioning her about she explained she did it top her self out of frustration over a test question. I discussed it with her teacher and she thaught it would be good to talk to the school counselur, I agreed. When I told her Dad about he said a lot of kids do it and that it was no big deal. She did talk to the counselur and it seemed to make her happy she got a worry rock and was very excited to use it I thaught it was wonderful. WHEN her Dad found about it he got very mad and said he did not want her to go again. I feel she really needs this we have had several changes in the past 2 years. I had a baby and then we moved to another state away from friens and family for the second time. Then 6 mo after the move we found out that Iwas expecting another baby. In the past mounth my husbands job is in truoble and we have to move again this is a lot for a child to handle and I think talking to someone is a good outlet for her. I would reallyt like any info or feed back anyone can give me.. thasnks so much.
H.H. answers from Washington DC on April 11, 2009
I am a school psychologist and it is NOT normal for your child (or any child) to bite themselves when they are stressed (or otherwise). You daughter is trying to deal with stress and she's not sure how to do that. Having her talk to the school counselor will help her deal with her stress in a more efficient manner and help her learn to recognize signs of stress or situations that will cause stress for her so she can deal with it before it gets worse. If she doesn't learn to deal with it now, it will likely continue into adulthood and she'll still be struggling to learn to deal with it and may find other outlets (i.e., cutting). That is a lot of changes for an adult to handle let alone a child.
I'm also concerned about your husband's reaction to the situation. If I were you, I would sit down with him to find out why he's so against this. Maybe he had a bad experience in school, maybe he has similar stress or anxiety issues, or maybe it's his perception of the school counselor and what that means for his child. If possible go to the school counselor together so that she/he can talk to you about what is considered "normal" what she can do to help, and what you can do at home. This may help your husband if he's able to ask questions of the counselor and/or see her office so it's not considered that there is something "wrong" with him as a parent or with his child and that the counselor isn't there to judge you. If he's not open to this I would consider getting information from the counselor about cases such as your daughters and handouts on how to help her. This may also help to explain to your husband that this is NOT normal and that she needs help before it gets worse. Is her behavior/stress affecting her academically? You may want to meet with the school counselor and teacher to discuss what can be done to help her in the classroom as well (i.e., breaks to calm herself when stressed, chances to ask questions when she's feeling stress about an assignment etc). Hope this helps and if you have any other questions just send me a message.
1 mom found this helpful
M.C. answers from Washington DC on April 11, 2009
That is a lot of new, for everyone. Since the hubby is against the worry rock and the counselor, there are a few other things that you could try. They are all completely normal, and hubby shouldn't have a problem with them.
1. Introduce her to using a diary or drawing book. When she is stressed she can write things down, draw pics, etc.
2. Introduce her to running or exercise. Since the weather is nice, take the family to the local school track in the evening for a family walk. Whatever is bothering her, take it out on the track. Not herself.
3. Start an exercise time at home. For 30 mins or so a day, the family all worksout together, situps, jumping jack, jogging in place, lunges.... dancing to videos, etc.
The key is to find an inexpensive, can move with you anywhere, outlet, that she can do solo if needed, and can do in the future as needed.
M.C. answers from Washington DC on April 11, 2009
You do what YOU think is BEST for your daughter. It is your job. She has gone through a lot and sometimes it is hard for kids to express themselves. Let her go to the counselor she was obviously happy about it. If you do not continue to address theses issues now they will become much worse as she gets older.
T.C. answers from Washington DC on April 11, 2009
If your little girl is exhibiting signs of handling stress negatively then it is definitely a good idea to have her talk to a counselor she respects and listens to. There may be other issues that she is dealing with that you are completely unaware of (teasing at school or etc). Follow your gut, moms know when something is wrong and giving her the tools to help her deal constructively with any problem that may come up in her life now and in the future can only be a good thing. Stand your ground with Dad and let him know that it may only be biting herself now but could turn into something more terrible down the road, cutting, drinking or worse. If she was falling behind in her schoolwork he would want her to see a tutor wouldn't he, why should this be any different. And try to make sure that you are spending quality alone time with her when you can, that will make her feel special! Good luck to you and God bless your little girl!
S.K. answers from Washington DC on April 11, 2009
Holli H's sounds like really sound advice. Can't say it better than that.
I think your husband is out of order on this one. I just asked MY husband about it, and he says he would want our girl to have whatever she needed to learn to cope, biting yourself is not normal. Some people deal better with change than others. Your husband is either one of those (I'm one of those, it's nice!) and he may feel she need so "man up". Or he's having issues of his own and doesn't even realize it. Either way, she's 8. C'mon! Some people, no matter what the age, need a little leg up from time to time, and with coping skills given by a counselor, she will be better able to "man up" in the future: she'll have some tools. You may have to remind her she has them occasionally! But she'll have them.
I also liked the other lady's suggestion of exercise helping with stress. Absolutely true.
Good luck nipping this in the bud!
C.C. answers from Washington DC on April 11, 2009
I think the worry rock is a good way to re-direct the self-aggressive behavior in the short term. In the long term, however, being dependent on a "worry rock" to calm herself may not be effective - what happens if she loses it?
Your daughter needs on-going counseling to cope with the changes she has experienced - changes that are tough for an adult to handle! The school counselor sounds like she is a good resource. Your husband should be involved as well, so that you all can be on the same page.
C.R. answers from Washington DC on April 11, 2009
Tell your husband its not about him...and if he has a better solution than you're all ears...Maybe he should do some reflecting as to why it bothers him so much....
With every thing going on...i'm sure she just might need a little extra attention...don't sweat the small stuff...just wait till she's a tennager..that's when he'll need to practice putting his foot down...there is absolutely nothing wrong with her going to see a counselor...women like to talk about their needs just to be heard and share something to get it off their chest and connect or commiserate if you will...men may see that as a sign of weakness and think you should find an immediate solution...AND the solution here might just be to let her talk about her feelings with someone...And girlfriend i feel your pain...i understand...my 18 mo is feeling a bit slighted and jealous of his 6 mo brother and is starting to act out for more attention..
D.M. answers from Norfolk on April 11, 2009
If you, instinctively, are feeling that your daughter is stressed, then you are on the right path. Stress and anxiety are so elevated in childhood recently, that psychologists and counselors are studying this as a whole seperate issue. Tell your husband that for centuries, grown men have had worry beads. This is not unusual, or weird. I have a pendant of Virgin Mary that I wear and rub whenever I feel a little stressed, and it is very soothing, not just for it's spiritual assurance, but for the soothing effects. It is much better that your daughter talk to somebody now. She will learn coping skills. She's been through a lot. She's just a little kid, and this will help her stay out of trouble, as a result of lack of coping skills, when she is older. This is proven. There are plenty of outside counselors, who aren't as bogged down with paperwork as school counselors, which your insurance would cover...and it's ok. If you get a good counselor, they will speak with all of you. Please, by all means, stand firm. Your husband's response shows perhaps he is in the dark ages, and maybe stressed himself. Who wouldn't be?With a great mom, who is attentive, she'll be fine.