August 07, 2008,
T.B. asks from Conroe, TX on August 06, 2008
Problems with 7 Year Old--separation Anxiety??
When my oldest was much younger she had separation issues when she first started child care. When she was 5 we found a church based childcare and she loved it, on occassion she would give me a little hassle but the tears and tantrums were gone. Now she is 7 and still attending the same childcare facility, however, she does not attend during the school year. And at the beginning of the summer things were fine. Things have gotten progressively worse with everything now. Anytime she has to do something she doesn't want to do, she gets a "stomach ache". Whether it's day care or just going to bed. My husband is a firefighter and so he usually has a day or two off during the week that the girls get to stay home, this seems to have made things worse. She doesn't want to go to daycare, which at the beginning of the summer she told me not to pick her until 6:30 when they closed, b/c she didn't want to leave, she doesn't want to go to her Taekwon Do classes etc. I have gone through the whole bit about someone/thing hurting her, touching her or anything else I could possible think of. Her only reply is she doesn't like the food (so I told her I could pack her a lunch, nope she doesn't want to eat there), she doesn't like the games or the books. The other kids are nice to her and include her, the teachers are great and are the same teachers she has had in the past, not a huge turnover at this school. I have to work and I can't take her with me all the time. I don't know what else to do...any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
So What Happened?™
Thanks for all the great advice. I have talked with the teachers, both the afternoon and morning, as well as the director and her assistants. None of us have figured out a reason for this behavior. This morning, she started the same thing, but this time instead of sitting with her outside her class for 20mins and hoping/waiting that she would calm down, I took straight into class before the tears could come out and checked on her a few minutes later and she was sitting at the table with the other kids doing fine. From the advice I think I've narrowed it down to...anxiety, boredom and just needing more Mom time. Thanks again to all!
K.G. answers from Houston on August 07, 2008
My eight year old son started having 'stomach' pains just over a year ago. Anything he didn't want to do, he would say he had a sore stomach....if he was in school he would ask to go to the restroom and come back telling the teacher he had vomited - of course that means an instant call to Mum and being sent home for 24hours. I am a stay at home Mum and he knows I am here. This went on for a couple of months then just stopped. A little while after, I was talking to a girlfriend and her seven year old was doing/saying exactly the same things.....then another friend voiced she was concerned about her seven year old girl, who was complaining of stomach pain a lot-did I think she needed to go to the DR? I began to wonder if this is an age thing.....a lot is happening in their little lives, things are changing for them, they aren't babies, but aren't at the age for responsibility yet either...kind've in the middle of everything. They want to be with Mum, but don't want to be seen as babies, so they give what could be considered by their peers as a good reason for being at/sent home. My feeling is you need to stick it out, give her all the cuddles you can, but be clear that she needs to go to child care....I wouldn't let her stay home with daddy, she needs to keep to the routine and know what is expected of her. There will be tears, and more tummy aches, but if she has no temp and no other symptoms, then it is probably psychological. Hope that helps.
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D.M. answers from Houston on August 07, 2008
I hate the advice I'm about to give you, but given the situation, it's a must. Anxiety is horrible to deal with, or to have, and the ONLY way to overcome it is to face what makes you anxious. It is hard on you I know, and it will continue to be difficult as the years go by ~ for her also ~ she may go from one fear to another ~ she must be made to face them early on so that she is trained to face her fears throughout her life. Then she can look at them when they come up, and push herself to overcome them.
Teach her to excersise also ~ this aleviates a lot of that stress.
I'm sorry I don't have more, I have spent a lifetime with this and this has been my best solution.
Best of luck, my prayers are with you and your daughter.
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M.J. answers from Austin on August 07, 2008
I am a teacher and I've seen this happen with so many children, even both of my own. There may be a few reasons for the "stomach aches". One thing I have learned in years of teaching and mothering is to lighten the schedule a bit during times of change. With Dad not having a "normal" schedule and summer daycare and other extra activities like Taekwon kids get burnt out. Even us Moms get burnt out. The kids have doulbe duty... they go to the store with us, they have to go to siblings activities and watch and wait along with thier own activities and school. Where is their break point or break in the weeks schedule? Most children look at Daycare or school like we feel about our jobs... WORK.
Also,if she is in the same class she was when she was 5 or with younger children or children that are not compatable development wise with her she may be very bored and that sometimes causes anxiety which triggers her uneasy feeling described as a stomach ache. It may not be that she is "lying" about a feeling in her stomach, it is just the only way she can explain it.
My son had a huge case of this and we ignored it thinking it would go away until the stomach aches started everyday and caused him to throw up everyday at daycare. I switched his class to the older class and he started to feel better within a few days. I think he was more challenged and stimulated with the older children. I feel like he had anxiety because when he was uninteresed in his younger class that made him feel almost like he was missbehaving and made him feel uncomfortable.
You could try to give her more play/ down time at home or playdates with kids from daycare or school. More time with you and Dad doing activities jsut the three of you. Also ask her if she is bored in daycare. What are her feelings...
I don't know her position at school, if she could change classes or what your solution can be but I hope this will help you in finding an answere for your child.
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S.M. answers from San Antonio on August 07, 2008
since you have said that you have already made sure that no body is touching her inappropriately (good mom instincts!) I would have to say that she is trying to push your buttons, manipulate you, into something that she would find more comfortable or fun to spend her summer! When kids are in school for the school year they know that there are no other choices and they are challenged which keeps them occupied. Your daughter is probably bored with the same day care , same teachers , and probably the same kids! Have the day cares activities changed and grown with your child as she ages? Is she with kids her own age? At age 7 I think that she is old enough to understand "daddy's schedule" and that she can only stay at home on dad's days off, so i don't think that you need to make her go to day care when dad's home! It would do her good to have a few days off from this child care if it is boring to her! But on the days that she must be in day care you must insist, but maybe ask the teachers what kind of activities and if any age appropriate changes can be made, if not, you may want to find her a new child care facility next summer!
T.S. answers from Austin on August 06, 2008
I am wondering what the function of her Behavior is.
ABC - anticedant(what happens first), Behavior, then Consequence.
Here is an example:
A - a teacher asks the students to get out their math books - the child is not good at math.
B - the child throws a temper tantrum
C - the teacher sends the child to the office, thus the child misses the math assignment.
You have to figure out the ABC of the situation. What is she getting out of this behavior. Once you figure that out, you can address the real issue.
Good luck with this,
M.L. answers from Houston on August 07, 2008
I would not hesitate talking to the teacher without your child around. Tell the teacher exactly what your daughter is doing/saying. The teacher could also begin to watch her closer and gain some insight. I have worked with my kids teachers before successfully which gave me a much needed peace of mind when I knew my kids were stressing about something. There could be a child bullying her or she could be upset about a best friend no longer wanting to be friends.