Overly Worried Daughter

Updated on March 13, 2008
K.A. asks from Scipio, IN
28 answers

My daughter is eleven and a half years old and worries about EVERYTHING! Some days it can be minimal to where her concerns are if everyone is feeling okay and doing okay and if we all had good days. Other days it is exetreme to where she will make grocery lists so that we don't forget things, she still worries about "ghosts" and "monsters", and is ALWAYS severely afraid of the dark. It is beginning to cause issues at school because she is so worried no one likes her that literally no one likes her now. She worries about money, bills, the weather, EVERYONE's opinion of anything; she simply worries about everything. How can I explain to her that she is wasting her childhood?

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R.P.

answers from Memphis on

Sounds like she may have an anxiety disorder. I would take her to her pediatrician. If it is so severe it is causing problems at school, it definitely shouldn't be ignored. I hope everything works out!

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K.D.

answers from Raleigh on

May daugther was diagnosed with anxiety disorder and counseling helped immensely! He taught her coping skills and broadened her view. Just a few months of weekly visits made all the difference. Now she is doing much better and has a lot of friends, whereas before she had very few.

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A.A.

answers from Charleston on

Hi K., You have received some great advice here. In addition, there is an amazing accupressure technique that can help your daughter quickly and effectively. It is called the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). You can learn it here (second video down) www.ailaspeaks.com/eft.html -She can do it herself, which will give her a greater sense of control over her worrying. I can also teach this to her and work with her over the phone, or you can find an EFT practitioner closer to home through the website. This technique is extremely effective! Warmly, A. Accad, RN, EFT Advanced Practitioner, 'The De-Stress Maven', LifeQuest International, LLC

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P.M.

answers from Raleigh on

Wow, when I read about your daughter I really saw alot of my 6 and a half yr old daughter. She has always worried about everything. Things you would not even think a kid knew about. We got a shoe box and decorated it together. At bedtime after we read we both whisper our wories into the box and then we put it up on a shelf and let the worry fairies take it away. It may not work since your daughter is a little older but sometimes just letting her know that I have worries too and they will all be okay helps her.
I would love to hear it anyone has any other advice. It is hard to see your child worry.

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R.M.

answers from Chattanooga on

Oh boy do I know. LOL I have a 7 yr old that is the same. Quick steps to help... Watch what she watches!! My kids love stuff like the ghost hunter shows, A Haunting, etc etc. Soon after that my daughter started to freak out about ghosts. Watch the conversations around her. More than likely, she has heard you talking to someone about bills. And when you are sick... don't let her know, my daughter's current thing is diseases, she's worried that she has one since she has a small ringworm on her ankle. I tried to tell her that it's just a fungus, but to no avail, once she's got something stuck in her head it won't go away until her next worry (and now she won't eat mushrooms because I told her that it too was a fungus, but a good one LOL). Another bit of advice on the ghosts and monsters, someone at school/in the family might be telling her stories about them. Send a note to her school asking then to watch for other children telling tall tales about ghosts and monsters. Also ask around in your family to see if anyone has been telling her stuff like "Be good or the boogieman will get you". My husband told her that leprechauns where going to get her if she wasn't good (I know why leprechauns, I have no clue). It was still an issue with my daughter until about 9 months after he first told her that. I seriously hope this helps you out. Good luck!

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T.S.

answers from Parkersburg on

Hi K.,

I was a worrier when I was a little girl. My father was a very practical man and kept telling me that there was nothing to worry about. This was not very helpful. As a teacher and ally to young people, I have met many children like your daughter. As a new parent, I understand your own worries about your daughter. Listening again and again to her is what I think you can do. Continue to thank her for being concerned about so many things and listen to her tell you about her worries rather than disregarding them. Continue to tell her that you love her and listen again. Perhaps, then, you could have her draw some pictures of some of the things that she is worried about. Go with her to the store to find a "Safe Box"; a place to put these worries to keep them safe while she plays and rides her bike and goes about doing all the things an 11 year old should do. I used to carry worry stones with me as a kid that I would rub when I was worried. A very wise mother gave them to me.
Best of luck K.. You have a wonderful daughter.

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V.W.

answers from Wheeling on

You must show her you are there for her. She sounds like she might be adhd (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). I am not sure. I have a relative who acts like that. There is allot going in their mind. They cannot focus on one thing. And yes it does interfear with their normal life. She need to slow down in a quiet place and try to learn to focus on one thing. And start believing in herself and others that will help her.

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M.E.

answers from Lexington on

i agree with monitoring what she is watching, reading, hearing in her environment. children pick up on a lot more than adults realize. reassure that life in general is fine and you will handle the big stuff. if this behavior continiues though, you might want to have evaluated by a professional. it sounds like a form of OCD...obsessive, compulsive disorder. i don't know at age the symptoms can start, but you never know.

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T.A.

answers from Charleston on

It sounds to me as if your daughter may need some counseling. It's sometimes hard to think that our kids need help that we can't give them, but I had a similar situation with my daughter when she was about 8. It escalated to the point that it was interfering with her daily life, so we went to a child therapist. The sooner you get some professional help, the better. The therapy may not be as extensive, and you will be taught ways to help her with those kinds of issues in the future.

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S.B.

answers from Nashville on

My son is 10 and he has been scared of the dark and had bad dreams untill i let him know about G0d and he has been attending church he loves it he sleeps with his bible an prays to not be scared of the dark it has worked so far honestly he isnt waking up in the middle of the night anymore!! thankfully He use to be terrified it was verry emotional for me and him but everything is awesome now!

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C.W.

answers from Lexington on

When my son entered first grade he was worried about EVERYTHING constantly. It finally became so bad that we took him to the doctor and they put him on buspirone for anxiety. He took it for about a year and then came off and it seems like it really helped. He is back to a happy go lucky kid. We started seeing him feeling more calm within a few weeks of starting the medicine. I would say it is definately worth it to at least talk to the doctor about how she is feeling. Even if they feel like medicine is not the way to go, maybe it would just help to get counseling. I wish you the best of luck.

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P.P.

answers from Raleigh on

It sounds to me like your child has an anxiety disorder. I would start with "Freeing Your Child From Anxiety" by Tamar Chansky, and also see your pediatrician or family doctor for a referral to a psychologist who deals with children's anxiety disorders.

I know that it is exhausting and heart breaking for you. My 5.5 year old is really anxious, and it is truly a daily challenge to help him remember that he is a child, and to guide him in letting go of those fears.

Good luck!

P.

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T.A.

answers from Lexington on

My heart goes out to your daughter, since no child should be so stressed :) I suggest that you censor what she watches. I know that there's a lot of controversy about censoring your kids, but I personally feel that it is our job to protect them, and censoring what they watch/listen to is no different from censoring where we take them and who we let them be around. (You wouldn't take your daughter to a haunted house or leave her in the dark if such things bother her!) Some kids can handle, and enjoy watching creepy stuff, but if a child is afraid of the dark, ghosts, and monsters, then, by all means - keep her away from it! I never censor without an explanation, just as I never ground my kids without making sure they understand why! "Honey, I'm not going to let you watch that movie, because I know it will scare you later if not while you're watching it, and I love you and don't like to see you scared of things that aren't even real, so choose something else to watch." No arguments!
As far as her being worried about grown up things like the bills, we had a slight problem with our son with this when he was around that age. I think they overhear us talking in worried tones about such things, and they are old enough to know that if we are worried, it is real! Be very careful not to worry out loud in front of the kids - they'll have such worries of their own soon enough!
Don't try to tell her she's wasting her childhood - you're just giving her something else to worry about! Help her focus on good things, and not what could go wrong. If you are relaxed and smiling when you tell her it's ok, rather than anxious about her fears and saying with furrowed brows that she has no need to worry, she'll believe you.

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A.B.

answers from Charlotte on

I had many of the same issues when I was a child...some carried over into adulthood. I was constantly afraid in the dark, my imagination seemed so real. I was afraid of "monsters and ghosts" up until my teens. As an adult...I sleep with a nightlight however I have learned to cope with the fears. I don't think explaining to her that there is nothing to worry about will change how her mind works. I was later diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I would have a fear locked in my head for months at a time that haunted me everyday. Again as an adult I have learned that these fears mean nothing, and my relationship with God has helped me so much. I do take a small dosage of Zoloft as well. I'm not recommending you put your child on anything, however the problem sounds like she needs some counseling and heavy consideration. I am a happy mother of three with a wonderful husband and love my life...so she can be helped.

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R.H.

answers from Fayetteville on

Counseling. It maybe free at her school, use it. Go with her. Get it yourself to learn how to deal with her. My dad was able to see the same person I was seeing at the school for free. Plus it was better that it was the same person. He had a better perspective when he got most of the story. It might be psychological, but do not let anyone put your child on medication, or it might be emotional. You do not know and I can't tell. But someone who is a professional might be able to help.

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M.S.

answers from Asheville on

First, I would pray b/c really only God knows her heart. Second, I would try to help her "see" what she is afraid of or worrying about-i used to be a worrier too & i remembering someone saying 99% of what you worry about never happens, so i figured i would give it a quick worry and let it go-that way i worried about but only for about 2 seconds. I also remember my dad helping my sister w/ the "dark". He got a paper lunch bag and came in our room sat next to her on her bed & asked her what she saw inside-"nothing" then he went outside (we watched through our bedroom window) and "caught some dark" He brought the bag back holding it closed tight and asked her if she was ready to see what she was afraid of-b/c he had some dark inside the bag. After she affirmed she was ready he held the bag open and let her look inside & a second ? w/ 2nd reply. . . "nothing"-see there is "nothing" to be afraid of-literally. It worked for her. For the $$$ issues have you shown her the family budget or how finances work-we are often afraid of what we don't understand so I would seek ways to assist her in understanding as much as is possible. And remember she is being bombarded w/ all kinds of things from school-peers,teachers, expectations-it may be that she needs less instead of more. Just quiet time with Mom or another trusted adult, some "slow time" I find that gives my children great comfort-just to be there with them and be together.

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J.H.

answers from Clarksville on

I have an 11 y/o son who worries about a lot of things, too. If my gas light comes on in the vehicle or the guage goes down below the 1/2 he's wanting me to stop and get gas. He was diagnosed at age 4 or 5 with anxiety disorder, not otherwise specified. The way your daughter is worrying sounds like that. You may not be able to simply explain that she's wasting her childhood. Maybe you could take her to the doctor and see if they think that there is something causing her worries, and if they don't then maybe they could talk to her about not worrying so much. I hope you can help her!

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J.P.

answers from Nashville on

I have seen this alot working as a Pediatric nurse. Some kids have what is called OCD- Obsessive cumpulsive disorder. I would really talk with your pediatrician about this, because eventually her nerves from worrying are going to be shot. J.

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S.G.

answers from Nashville on

I was in the doctor's office and saw an article in the free "Williamson Parent" magazine about raising "frett free" children. I thought of you and your concern for your daughter. I didn't read it but hopefully it could give you some good advice.

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T.L.

answers from Hickory on

My daughter is now 14 and a very well rounded, athletic, outgoing girl. We went thru this though. It started around age 6. EVERYTHING was worriesome and bothered her. She expressed many feelings of guilt, but could never come up with anything she had done wrong. There was a time when it would take up to 3 hours for her to be able to go to sleep. She did not want to go to school, did not want to socialize. We finally got professional help. It did a world of good, but there was a short period of time that she had to take medication. Thank God, this is something that she outgrew. I would recommend that you look into some therapy. Re-assure her that there is nothing "wrong" with her, but you want to see her happy and not worrying about things. I highly recommend Michelle McLean at Solutions, in Hickory. I know how helpless you feel. I think she will outgrow this too. My teenager is now a social butterfly, an excellent student, very outgoing and has many, many friends. I will keep you in my prayers.

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K.P.

answers from Louisville on

I have 5 children and my youngest went through a phase of worrying also. For months, I would have to tell her that it is my job to take care of her. I would never let anything happen to her. She was frightened of storms and when kids at school found out, she was teased. I then had to tell her that the principal was the adult and wouldn't let her get on the bus if the storms were too bad, etc. I just kept reinforcing that the adults in her life cared about her and would take care of her, it is our job. Her 'job' is to be a kid, worry about things in her control (school work, etc). It took about 2 years but she is now 12 1/2 and is fine. I hope this helps

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J.O.

answers from Raleigh on

There's a psychologist in the are who writes books on anxiety who I heard helped one family tremendously...His name is Reid Wilson, his books are online, too if you want to check it out--but he specializes in anxiety.
[email protected]____.com

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J.W.

answers from Lexington on

I would start with a thorough medical exam which includes testing hormone levels. Hypothalamic, pituitary and adrenal problems can cause this symptom. My experience is if you start with the psychological/psychiatric route, the problem is assumed to be of "no known cause". She may go through the testing and it still be of no known cause and therefore given a "mental" diagnosis, but she at least deserves possible known causes to be investigated. I sadly speak from personal experience with my own child. Once she had the "mental" label, doctors quit looking. They therefore didn't find some treatable problems.

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J.M.

answers from Charlotte on

Sounds like your daughter may suffer from some type of obsessive compulsive disorder and is afraid of losing control. Have you spoken to her teachers about this? Is this "condition" affecting her school work/grades? I would definitely consult my family doctor because it sounds as if she may have a condition that could be treated with some mild medication. Have the teachers noticed this problem or just you? My daughter often went through this type of thing and was diagnosed as mildly ADD with mild panic attacks. Good luck!

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B.S.

answers from Huntington on

K., does you daughter watch scary movies or read books like harry potter? If she does than stop it. Sounds like she might have compulsive bahaviors like my son has. keep her busy doing things. Give her good family books to read to help change her mind set,take her to church. These types of things will reasure her things are not so bad as she assumes. Make sure she has "good" friends. If you don't go to church,get her in there. Maybe a youth group will help her , and teach her if she worries just give it to God! He wants her problems and leave them there and just go on.

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E.M.

answers from Louisville on

Hi K. I was just like this as a child you need to get her to a therapist ASAP. This sounds like the beginning signs of GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) And OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) If you are in the Louisville area let me know and i can recommend some great doctors. good luck!

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T.K.

answers from Fayetteville on

K.,

I am so sorry to hear that your daughter is having a tough time dealing with things and that you are having a difficult time as well. The only thing I can think of is maybe getting her invovled in a girl group. I work with girls between the ages of 11 - 18 weekly and one thing I know we work on is being positive and coping strategies. I get feedback from the girls and the Moms and it helps they say.

I don't know about where you are religiously, but church helps too. Good luck and best wishes.

T.

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D.P.

answers from Raleigh on

Hi K.,
Well, I have to say that I am 32 years old and I am still afraid of the dark... :)
However, extreme worry can be a sign of an anxiety disorder. I would just mention what you have written here to the pediatrician and see what he/she thinks.

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