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How anxious?

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#1 tinselfoil hat

Posted 24 May 2019 - 08:47 PM

DD has just had her third birthday and I am starting to worry (oh the irony) that her levels of anxiety are excessive. She’s scared of toilet cleaning gel disk things, our dishwasher, a baby monitor camera, as well as worrying that our (friendly and lovely) neighbours will talk to her and normal things like darkness. It stops her enjoying so many things. For example she won’t willingly go to the library because when we signed her up to be a member the librarian talked to her. She overcame her fear of playground slides a few months ago, which was a big deal for her (she was scared she’d fall). I don’t really know what I’m asking, but I’d love some wisdom. Is this level of anxiety normal for a 3 year old? What are typical 3 year olds worried about? DH and I thought we’d wait until the end of the year to seek help in case it is something she’s growing out of but it seems crippling. I’m not sure if waiting is unwise. Would a GP be the best place to start?

#2 Riotproof

Posted 24 May 2019 - 08:50 PM

I think you are right to seek support now.

#3 JomoMum

Posted 24 May 2019 - 08:50 PM

I think if you’re worried about it, that’s enough to warrant looking into it. It seems to affecting regular parts of her day.

A good GP will consider referring you to a psychologist for some strategies and advice.

#4 newbub2014

Posted 24 May 2019 - 08:59 PM

I think it’s ok to at least take some initial steps now to discuss your concerns with someone, theres no harm in seeking some support/advice at this stage and then making a decision as to whether to actually proceed with any formal support. A GP is a good start, another option would be to look up if there are any free services in your area that help with this kind of thing eg in my state we have Child and Family Centres, and you can drop in anytime or ring up and speak to the intake officer about your concerns. They can point you in the right direction and also offer some programs that may help as an initial step that more involve giving you the tools to support your child, rather than direct support for the child as an initial step (eg the Cool Little Kids program - this is also available online if you want to have a look).

#5 rosie28

Posted 24 May 2019 - 09:06 PM

I think the GP is a good starting point given it’s having an impact on her day to day activities.

#6 Paddlepop

Posted 24 May 2019 - 09:17 PM

Yes I'd be concerned. My DD was similar at that age.

She was diagnosed with anxiety at 4yo, and we started her on medication for it. She's 9yo now. She's still on medication. The medication reduced the anxiety enough that we could talk to DD instead of to the anxiety, and we could help her talk about what she was scared of, why she was scared, and get her to be willing to try to deal with whatever it was that was causing the anxiety eg escalators, toilet training.

She's still anxious but it's manageable and she can enjoy life. When she was unmedicated she wasn't enjoying life which was a pretty miserable thing to see.

How does your DD react to the things that she's scared of? For example does she just refuse to do whatever it is with no more fuss, does she cry and scream, does she avoid it and cause you to change how you do things so you don't upset her?

I'd see a developmental paediatrician and/or a child psychologist to get some help.

#7 PrincessPeach

Posted 24 May 2019 - 09:20 PM

i think you are right to speak with your gp as well.

Fear of the dark, loud things & heights to me falls in the realms of normal (well if the 3 year olds at playgroup are to go by, my own 3 year old is currently fearless & my older one was only afraid of the robot vaccum at that age), but the fear of an event possibly happening is really out there thinking for a little kid.

And by out there, I mean quite advanced thinking.

#8 tinselfoil hat

Posted 24 May 2019 - 09:31 PM

Thank you everyone for confirming what I knew in my heart. For those with anxious kids, could anyone else see it? I second guess myself because my friends with kids don’t see it and even her daycare carers think she’s fine. DH and my parents can see it, but nobody else seems to think it’s beyond normal realms for that age.

#9 CallMeFeral

Posted 24 May 2019 - 09:33 PM

I would seek out a Cool Little Kids program if you can. At that age, anxiety interventions are basically about teaching the parents how to help the kids, and don't directly involve the kids at all. And they don't need to be at an extreme level for that sort of help to potentially change their trajectory a lot (evidence shows that children with anxieties at a young age are more likely to develop anxiety disorders in future and it can help alter that line).

ETA. And there's no downside apart from cost. Worst case scenario you know more about anxiety and how to spot it and deal with it in case it comes up.

Edited by CallMeFeral, 24 May 2019 - 09:34 PM.

#10 Paddlepop

Posted 24 May 2019 - 09:57 PM

alfoil hat: The people who don't spend large amounts of time one on one with her probably won't notice it. If they see her getting upset they might dismiss it as a normal 3yo thing. However if they see it happening every hour or two, every day, about multiple things, and have to be one comforting DD then they'd sure as heck notice it. That's why your DH and your parents can see it and your friends can't. I assume the daycarers are simply too busy to notice or DD has worked out coping strategies there or daycare is a safe anxiety-free space for her.

I know that with my DD people who didn't see her for long didn't notice is beyond oh, she's a 3/4 year old, they all have tantrums about things. My parents could see it in DD after spending a few days with them staying at their house.

One reason why outsiders (for lack of a better term) might not see her anxiety is because you probably scaffold her to minimise things that might cause her anxiety and you've worked out how to calm her down as best as possible. Take away that scaffolding and she'd probably collapse and then they'd sure as heck see it.

#11 spannerset

Posted 24 May 2019 - 10:00 PM

My daughter was always very anxious, desperately wanted to do things or be involved in things but was just too anxious to join in. She couldn’t sleep unless I was lying with her until she was about 7. Really struggled making friends and socializing because she felt the other kids were always judging her or thinking she was weird.

She did some sessions of play therapy when she was 5, and then some more when she was 7. They really helped, the effect from the first session was instantaneous and it steadily improved from there. This year (she’s just turned 9) she’s finally made a few good friends that she feels comfortable with and the anxiety is almost gone. We have a psychology that we check in with every now and then to go over breathing techniques and self regulating exercises, but otherwise it’s all good. I’m expecting things to ramp up again through puberty but hopefully we will have a range of coping techniques up our sleeves!

#12 tinselfoil hat

Posted 06 June 2019 - 09:20 PM

Thanks for the nudge in the right direction PPs. I had a chat to our GP today who is going to refer us on for further help. She floated the idea of sensory issues, ASD and giftedness. I feel so overwhelmed. I want my perfect girl to feel free to be herself. I guess it can only improve from here now help is on its way :)

#13 robhat

Posted 06 June 2019 - 09:43 PM

Good to hear that you are seeking help. I don't think the level of anxiety you are seeing is particularly normal for most 3 year olds.

Also, sounds like you've got a good GP. I know one little boy who has a lot of anxious worries. He was diagnosed with anxiety and medicated for a while but his doctor now thinks that it's not anxiety. He does have sensory processing issues and ADHD and we now think also gifted, which he's going to be tested for and he's off the medication. Gifted kids often have anxious worries as they over think everything!

It can take a while to work through everything and work out what is going on, but be patient.

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