- he’s had night terrors
- he tells us that he’s scared a lot
- last year he went through a period of regression in areas that were previously mastered
- he’s overly sensitive to others and tends to overreact to other kids at school, expecting the worst
- he has a lot of stress over change and acts out with anger
- he appears on edge a lot
- he has nervous habits such as chewing fingernails down to the end
- when he was a little younger, he only drew people with scowling faces
- recently he went through a phase where he would repeat all of his sentences in a whisper right after he spoke
- he has a strong need for order and becomes very upset when things aren’t “just right”
- he has extreme anxiety over teeth falling out, shots and getting haircuts
- he has meltdowns over things like his shoes getting wet and batteries dying, worries excessively
- his anxiety leads to melt downs, defiance or aggressive behavior, usually mimicking his older brother’s behavior (though it’s not a rage—it’s like he’s imitating what he’s seen)
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Fighting the Worry Monster
Recently we brought our youngest to the therapist because we’ve been concerned about his behavior. It’s been a long list of stuff for a while, but we’ve been busy battling bigger issues with our oldest. After our appointment, our therapist concluded that our little one, who is 6 years old, has some anxiety issues. He believes that it’s probably inherited and then agitated by his brother’s disorder. Here’s an example of what we’ve seen:
I know that a lot of kids may have similar issues, but it’s the total list and the negative impact it’s having at school and at home that’s made us concerned.
So what’s the therapist’s solution?
“Fighting the worry monster!”
Now if you’re like me, you might be thinking... why would you introduce a monster to a child that’s scared all the time? Well according to our therapist, we need to help our little one externalize his anxieties so he can acquire skills to fight it. He can’t fight it if he thinks it’s a part of him.
So here’s how it works (I know you’re dying to know):
My son tells us he’s scared to go to sleep. We’re suppose to remind him that he’s listening to the worry monster and he needs to fight it to make it go away. We then have him draw a picture of the “worry monster” then once done, he’s suppose to tear it up, stomp on it, completely destroy it and put into the trash. After that, we give him a ton of praise for fighting the “worry monster” and give him a certificate of bravery or words of praise.
So that’s what we’ve been working on. So far our son seems to participate and it seems to help him forget whatever anxiety he had at the moment. Othertimes, he just yells at me, “stop talking about the worry monster!” I think only time will tell if this is going to work.
So, how have you handled your child’s anxiety?