Tag Archives: anxiety

Depression in children

Today Rebecca, mum of 2 girls, asks about your experiences of depression within children.

I’m worried about my youngest girl who is 6. She takes a bit of a beating verbally from her elder sister who constantly knocks her and the things she does. At 9, I think she’s going through a developmental stage of competitiveness; at least her classmates seem similar.

Unfortunately I think my youngest is also going through a typical developmental stage of becoming aware of what those around her think of her. And this is really affecting her self-esteem and self-confidence. She has none at all.

Amplified by oldest’s constant calls of “You’re silly”, “That’s not how you do it” and “No, do it A Problem SharedTHIS way”, youngest’s feelings of self-worth have disappeared and she now feels unable to do anything for fear of getting it wrong, or not meeting other’s expectations.

At home we model ‘failure’ and overcoming it. We talk about how well they both combat challenges. But still, youngest always seems so blue and my gut instinct is that she’s depressed.

Does anyone have experience of depression within children? I’ve spoken to the school liaison officer but not sure where else to turn other than the GP….he’s next on my list.

School exclusion experiences

Today our mum from Life on the Frontline wants you to share your experiences of school exclusion.


As you may already know, from reading this post, Week 23, on Monday, Tall had a two day exclusion from school at the end of last week. Aware that there were some tests coming up in school, we tried very much to give him a supportive and calm time at home with a bit of school work thrown in. However he was very, very anxious about going back to school and by Sunday evening I could tell he was in a very high state of anxiety about the following morning.

He went back into school on Monday with really disastrous consequences, all of which I will share in next Monday’s Life on the Frontline post. This has now resorted to a much slower and lengthy integration for him back to school, also meaning he is at home for most of this week. I really want him to have as little stress as possible around returning to school. So these are my questions. Do you have experience of a child being excluded from school? What do you do with them whilst they are off school? How do you keep anxieties low around their return to school?

Back to School Anxiety

This mother would desperately like your help in getting her son to school……

ProblemMy son really dislikes school. He was ok for all of key stage 1, but since he’s been in key stage 2 he has really struggled. I mean really struggled. He doesn’t struggle with the work, although he often refuses to do it, he struggles with the relationships with the staff. He finds it hard to comply and is very sensitive to what he perceives as cross voices.I  am working with school to help support him and he is currently being assessed to be statemented. He has also been diagnosed as ASD.

His dislike of school  has brought about many a difficult morning trying to motivate him to go to school.

I know that some may think that I should consider home schooling him, believe me, I’ve thought about it. However, he is very against the idea and I too don’t believe this is not the answer. He can be very sociable and loves seeing his friends. Also I worry that I wouldn’t be able to access his  full potential, he is extremely bright.

He is now in year 6 and I know it’s going to be tough getting him to go to school. Do any of you have experience of your child really not wanting to go to school? What techniques, rewards, bribes have you used to ease the situation? Having had a bad start to the year I really would love to hear how others manage..

If you feel you can help please leave a comment below..

Starving the Anxiety Gremlin by Kate Collins-Donnelly – A Review

Sarah from The Puffin Diaries has reviewed Starving the Anxiety Gremlin available from Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

I have been using this book with both my children over the last couple of months, a boy aged 9 and a boy aged 10.

anxietyGI initially worked with my youngest son, as he was having a great deal of anxiety around going to school. He has always struggled to verbalise his emotions and often hides his feels and emotions. I hoped the book would help use explore some vocabulary and narrative on what he has been experiencing each day in the school environment.

The book aims to offer a cognitive behavioural approach to managing anxiety, suitable for those 10 years and above (I was aware my youngest wasn’t quite the right age but hoped we could pick the bits out that were suitable).

The book suggests that it can be used by the young person to work through or alongside an adult or professional. I think the child would need to be at least a couple of years older than my children to be able to make good use of the book independently.

My 9 year old and I started at the beginning, reading the introduction. By the second page my son was engaged with the content. Here speech bubbles suggesting different ways a child may feel when anxious offered an opportunity to yes or no to how he might be feeling.

BOOK : “Do you feel like you have no control over how you react when you are anxious?”

SON : “Yes”

So a good start.

The book goes on to describe what anxiety is and what different types of anxiety exist. Some of this content, as throughout the book, is aimed at older children. For example self harming, drinking and drug abuse are listed as behaviours that anxiety may induce. However I did find it easy to skirt around these and lots of the other content was very relevant and useful to discuss.

We did the anxiety word search together and also did a really good work sheet on colouring in the physical anxieties attributes which are relevant to you.

In fact the whole chapter on identifying what YOUR own anxiety is, was a good interactive experience which really helped me to understand a lot more about how my son feels.  

It really highlighted his separation anxiety from me, which previously I hadn’t considered to be the real problem. I presumed that the school environment was the problem.

With my 9 year old we are still working our way through the book, choosing the sections that are suitable for his level of emotional maturity, which really is younger than 9. I think he may not be fully able, as yet to grasp the concept of CBT, however we are still reading some sections and doing the bits he’s happy to do, it can’t do any harm. I’m sure we will come back to it all as he develops.

I have also now started working on this book with my soon to be 11 year old son. He is off to high school in September and whilst he is excited now, I know he will develop anxiety over the prospect over the summer. I think the book will be pitched at a level that he is mature enough to understand; he has a greater emotional intelligence than my youngest son. He enjoys the prospect of discussing his emotions and is asking when we can do more work together.

On the whole I think this book is an excellent tool for prompting discussion around anxiety, explaining anxiety to a child and teaching them how to manage this response to situations.

As yet we have not completed the book and therefore can’t vouch for its complete effectiveness. However, I’m a true believer that even if our children take a small amount of what we’ve worked from and translate it into their lives, then we have had a success. As we have already created a greater understanding of this emotion and prompted discussion, I would say this book is a great success for our family.

Warning SATs Approaching.

Are you where many parents are right now, approaching dreaded SATs?


All Children in years 2 and 6 are only a couple of weeks away now and I’m sure many of you can feel the tensions rising. In our household it already feels like we’ve walked this very dangerous tight rope with mocks just before Easter. We made it through, just, but we were left with a fragile and tired boy who’d sat the SATs, and another boy we’d just about placated whilst the week seemed to be all about his brother.

So as the really thing approaches how are you all feeling?

How are you helping you child to cope with the possible pressure they feel under?

Or maybe you’ve been through it all already and have some tips for others who are about to go through it.

I know for us there will be plenty of rest and calm down time. I will work to keep the boys apart, especially in the morning before they go to School. There will be plenty of praise, some out of ear shot of the youngest and plenty of reassurance that trying his best is more than amazing as far as I’m concerned.

So what about you, how have you, or how will you support your child through these anxious times?

Sickness and food

TProblemhis week’s Problem Shared comes from Vicki at The Boy’s Behaviour – have you any tips or advice?

For quite some time now Mini, who is 7, has been complaining of tummy ache and nausea.

Quite often the complaints used to come on a Sunday evening or Monday morning, so we assumed, in all honesty, that these were attempts to stay off school. This was confirmed after some time through a number of ways, and the recent move to another school seemed to stop all feelings of sickness. I should add that we did get him checked over by the GP on several occasions but they couldn’t find anything physically wrong.

Over the last few weeks it’s started up again. Except now it’s especially bad on Friday (spelling test) morning too, but in fact in occurs every morning…weekends included, and it carries on after school and throughout the evening.
Again, I took him to the GP and he was checked over, and the doctor found nothing physically wrong. But this GP suspected there might be some anxieties involved, and confirmed that the sickness feeling probably is genuine. She’s given me some medicine for Mini to help with that.

So he seems to be constantly worried and anxious. One of my worries is that this constant sickness is now beginning to affect Mini’s diet. He’s always concerned about what to eat, whether it will make him sick, and although he’s always been a pretty good eater, he’s completely gone off fruit and veg – even his beloved blueberries.

Anyone else had anything similar? We’re really stuck and although we’ve always known he suffers with anxiety, this is really the first time it’s been displayed through physical illness, rather than aggressive behaviour and emotional issues.

Confessions of an Overwhelmed Mom

Here one mum talks honestly about about how difficult things have really become…

I have a written a few times over the past 4 months that I have felt overwhelmed. It started with my parental leave finishing in July and my return to work full time. It continued with having my program cut, with my work load doubling and getting a new manager. And, it multiplied by a gizillion when Jonathan was struggling on day 2 of kindergarten, on day 4 when he got an aide, on day 6 when I came to the conclusion that she was terrible and day 10(ish) when he got ‘kicked out’ for half a morning and could only attend one hour and fifteen minutes a day (because that’s how much this terrible aide could cope with him for).

So here’s my confession; I couldn’t cope.
I wasn’t just feeling overwhelmed, I was overwhelmed. I was crying randomly over silly things, having anxiety attacks, feeling very inadequate and incompetent and I finally admitted that I needed help.

I didn’t even intend on asking for the help, it was a bit of an accident. But I think my mouth took over for my stubborn brain because it knew what was best.

I was at my doctor (who is wonderful) for something unrelated and she asked, as she always does, how I was doing – meaning with Jonathan and the adoption etc. And I slowly answered “It’s good….? It’s a little hard. Well, it’s pretty hard. I’m…struggling”

THERE! I did it! I said it out loud and the world did not implode! Whoohoo!

And there was a tiny (ok slightly large) feeling of relief in just saying the words out loud.

helpAnd this story could go on and on as, ahem, sometimes I tend to do, but, my point is, that since that time that I admitted I was struggling, about 3months now, I have been on anti-anxiety medication to help me cope with all the challenges, all the change and all the overwhelmingness that comes with adoption, trauma, therapeutic parenting and the general craziness that has become my new normal.

I wanted to write about this because I have been inspired by some of the other bloggers, through The Adoption Social, that have openly talked about struggling with depression and anxiety and I too wanted to openly write about my own mental health.

I want to join in with their voices in bringing mental health to light and take away the shame of asking for help and talking about it. The more it is talked about, the less stigma there is. The more we talk about it, the more we can support each other.

Parenting is hard. Adoption is hard. Asking for help is hard.

So what I want you to know is this: there is no shame in being vulnerable. There is nothing defeating or weak in admitting that you need help. If you feel overwhelmed and you are struggling, please ask for help. Tell a friend, tell a professional. And ask for help. You won’t regret that you did.

Big thank you to Lindsay who writes at Grey Street for sharing her experiences and being so honest. If you’d like to share your own stories, or perhaps write us your own confession, then please drop us a line at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com