I need HELP with my 6 year old daughter!!! — The Bump
School-Aged Children

I need HELP with my 6 year old daughter!!!

My 6 year old daughter has SERIOUS anxiety issues.  We've gone to the doctor on numerous occasions for this.  At first they diagnosed her with ADHD, which yes she's hyper but it's more than that.  It started when she was 2 years old when my Daddy died.  He lived with my husband and I and he was her caretaker during the day.  I had gotten home from work early one day and was home about an hour and he had a blood vessel that busted in his brain stem and died right in front of us.  Even though she was only 2 years old, she struggled daily with this and still remembers details of that night without anyone telling her anything.  I mentioned this to her doctor because we were having trouble with her sleeping at night and they told me to just give her some melatonin.  When she turned 5, things got drastically worse--started having terrible behavioral issues with her (in my opinion, due to her not getting a good night sleep) and she was diagnosed with ADHD.  I told her doctor I thought it was more of an anxiety disorder more so than ADHD but they don't listen.  They sent her to a therapist that tried to teach her how to meditate (which in my opinion, trying to teach a 5 year old that supposedly has ADHD to meditate is impossible).  They started her on Clonidine at night to help her sleep.  She was started out on .01mg.  It would put her to sleep for maybe 2 hours but that's it.  She's now on .02mg of it and still isn't sleeping at night.  Things have taken a drastic turn though.  My mother was found deceased back in March and ever since then my daughter will not let me out of her sight.  She finally told me the other night that she was scared that me and her Daddy were going to die and she would be left with no parents.  I told her that this isn't something she needs to worry about but she said since my parents died, that she's worried about hers.  I cannot go to the bathroom without leaving the door open (or her busting in), my husband and I can't sleep together at night without her being in the middle of us, she will not go and stay with other family members.  It's sad because I feel like I'm a prisoner because of her anxiety and I don't know what to do.  I've talked to her doctors again about having her diagnosed with severe anxiety but they won't do it because she's so young.  I've done everything that I can think of at night to try to get her to stay in her bed and sleep.  She has stayed up for 48 hours straight before because she was SO scared to sleep alone.  She hyperventilates, throws up, gags, will literally beat my door until there is a hole knocked in it.  PLEASE give me some insight on what I can do.  This Momma needs a break!!!

Re: I need HELP with my 6 year old daughter!!!

  • Have you thought about finding a new doctor and a new therapist?
    [Deleted User]Spin313[Deleted User]Designermomma
  • My son lost his father when he was 3. Even though he shouldn't remember he definitely does. I spent time searching for a good child therapist and it made a huge difference. Play therapy was great for getting him to be able to deal with his feelings in a constructive way. I reassure my DS that although we never know what may happen (my FI died after a routine surgery) that I will always love him and that there are so many people who love him and would take care of him. We read books that are age appropriate and I used a lot of suggestions from his therapist. He's not in therapy any longer but was for almost two years. Id call her again in a heartbeat if I needed.

    Some things we did at the therapists suggestion to form healthy attachment, but also self-soothing/self reliance were drawing a picture of how he felt, carrying photos of all three of us/just DS and I and other family members, creating a dependable bedtime routine, talking about our feelings (we have an emotions poster in his room) and lots of praise when he was successful (sleeping for an hour or toe alone at first, then falling asleep alone, etc). It was some of my hardest times as a parent! We were both exhausted!

    Good luck it's so hard dealing with loss yourself and helping a child through it at the same time. Id talk to your doctor and if you're not getting anywhere I would find a new pediatrician that would be willing to make a referral. Big hugs to both of you!
    Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers
  • I am so sorry for your losses! Your family has been through a lot in your daughter's young life.

    I would probably stop trying to fix her sleep and just let her sleep with you. Focus on her emotional processing of her grandparents' deaths. Get help from a child psychologist. You cannot promise your daughter that you or her father won't die. Anything can happen. But you do need expert guidance on helping her deal with her emotions.

    There are also some books on anxiety in children that may help you, but I think the first issue is to help her process her grief. And maybe get a new pediatrician.
    DS born 8/8/09 and DD born 6/12/12.
    Spin313
  • My son has a severe anxiety disorder.  A teacher at the school he goes to recommended a therapist and my son loves going!  She gives him hot chocolate at each session and makes up games around subjects he loves.  This really gets him to open up.  If you had a therapist who was only trying to get her to meditate I would find another therapist.  Originally the school wanted him to meet with their therapist and after I spoke with her and she kept telling me how she was going to pull him out of class (which would be stressful for him) and have him complete "checklists" I told the school I was going the private therapist route.  She clearly didn't know my child if she thought he was going to sit down and do a checklist. His teacher also agreed she felt it would only cause more problems.  
    We also had to make the difficult decision to medicate.  We went back and forth for awhile then he got worse really fast.  We started him on Celexa, for his anxiety, and its helped a lot.  
    It sounds like your doctors are not listening to you, and trying to treat the symptom (not sleeping) and not the actual problem (anxiety).  I would get a second opinion.  Also, my sons therapist recommended the workbook "What to do when you worry too much."  Not sure if your daughter would find it helpful.  The reviews were great, many said it helped.  I found with my son that it pointed out to him he was different and that seemed to upset him further.  

    Good luck, I know how hard this can be! 
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