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Thread: Reducing child anxiety

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    don't stress too much, because she will pick up on it.
    When mine were little and in need of discipline, i would make a point of saying that I loved them very much , but their behaviour really upsets me..... then it becomes not about the love but about the behaviour.
    Often the oldest child in a family becomes a worrier. Its almost part of their place in the family. My eldest brother (55), still worries about all of us (7 kids), whereas the five middle ones cruise, and the youngest is still a spoilt brat. I am not suggesting that this happens with all families, but it is typical of some.
    "never let the truth get in the way of a good story "

    ...small steps....

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Are you sure she's biting her nails because of anxiety, or because, well... she likes biting her nails?? Some people just seem to be chronic nail biters (no idea why, but I'm sure they're not all that way due to anxiety).

    I tend to be quite an anxiety ridden individual, but don't bite my nails at all. My husband, however, has been biting his nails forever, and it has nothing to do with his mental state.

    Not saying nail biting is okay (my husband's drives me nuts) but it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with your daughter, either!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Southeastern TN
    Quote Originally Posted by teach2183 View Post
    I'm more concerned with dealing with the anxiety. I asked her several times what is bothering her today and am always available to listen. This morning we were snuggling in bed and she asked if I love her (I tell her at least 10x/day!) and then pushed on to whether I still love her when she's grumpy or does something wrong. Of course I told her I'll always and forever love her no matter what. She seemed to be okay with that. At dinner tonight she asked about why my mom (we call her grandma angel) died (well before DD was born). I believe in being honest, especially since I know she'd catch me in even a little fib. So I started with saying she was very sick. But DD pressed for more info so I said cancer and she asked what that is. When DH got home tonight he went in to say good night to her and she told him she's worried about my grandfather (94) and whether he'll live long enough to meet my brother's baby (due next month). Her mind (like mine) never seems to stop and is a total sponge for anything and everything she hears.

    I am working on a more and more primal diet. The worst thing the kids have on any regular basis is lunch meat. Although our other meat is also not organic/grassfed. We just started a CSA so this past week they have had lots of organic spinach, carrots, and eggs. Today we had eggs cooked in butter with spinach, peppers, and strawberries for breakfast; meatballs over pasta (non-GMO corn based) for lunch; apples and cheese for snack; and pork ribs with potato "fries" (wedges drizzled w/ olive oil, salt, garlic powder and baked) and mixed frozen veggies.
    I call this the "deep thoughts" phase, my 4 (soon to be 5) year old is in it too. I think every kid has it--it's the realization that everything isn't happy-go-lucky, that grandma/grandpa/mom/dad/etc. won't be around forever, people die, there's more to the world than what they know, etc. She's been asking deep questions a lot lately (how long do people live, what was the earth like before people, what are stars made of, etc.) and while she's not showing big signs of anxiety, it has definitely rocked her world a little.

    I just tell the truth, and use it as a teaching opportunity. Sure, sometimes we have to talk about morbid things, and sometimes it leads to explaining simulations of the solar system until she loses interest and wants to do something else, but she's learning and by not dramatizing anything we're not feeding anxiety.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    London, England
    A thought ... I have always had the feeling that nail-biting is an inability to express it becomes an inwardly directed action rather than say, having a tantrum. I think it is similar to cats and dogs chewing their paws with anxiety.

    It might be an accumulation over a period of time of a number of things - new younger sibling and then, the house move (which is enough to make anybody chew their fingers - I've done it 30 times (don't ask)).

    Homoepathy can help ... and loads of TLC. At that age, she can be coaxed away from her little troubles.

    Hope this is helpful.


  5. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Is she biting them compulsively until her fingertips are unhealthy, or just trimming her nails with her teeth?

    I only bite my nails to trim them and have since childhood; if I see the tips of my nails turn color and get that rim of extra nail, I look at it like, "oooohh they look tasty" and can't not want to cut them off with my teeth.

    I remember once my brother sleeping and his nails were long, and I saw his hand (we shared a room and our beds were next to each other) and I was fighting my impulse to bite his nails LOL.
    "Ah, those endless forests, and their horror-haunted gloom! For what eternities have I wandered through them, a timid, hunted creature, starting at the least sound, frightened of my own shadow, keyed-up, ever alert and vigilant, ready on the instant to dash away in mad flight for my life. For I was the prey of all manner of fierce life that dwelt in the forest, and it was in ecstasies of fear that I fled before the hunting monsters."

    Jack london, "Before Adam"

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by teach2183 View Post
    It appears that my 4.5yo has some issues with anxiety. She started biting her finger nails about 4 months ago, but I didn't think too much of it.
    Ya know what got me to stop biting my nails finally as an adult? Finding a hobby that required nails. i wanted to play my banjo without fingerpicks, and the nail biting didn't help. It finally gave me a REASON to want a bit of nail.

    Just a thought, is there any activity you can find that interests your child where having nails would help?

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Northern California
    You've probably already thought of this but when my son was that age he was very sensitive to stories where the children are w/o parents, a plot device that is very common in children's books. He remained like that for a long time, in fact he was turned off to the Harry Potter books and didn't read them until he was much older. Most the kids we knew weren't at all bothered by the fact that Harry's parents were killed. I think some kids think deeply about such things. Now that he is almost 15 he loves stuff that I find slightly morbid.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Chicago Suburbs
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    Thanks for all the thoughts! We read a huge variety of stories, so I will keep an eye out for her reaction to orphaned characters. She heard me tapping my nails on the counter yesterday and decided she'd like to be able to do that. I told her we could even paint her nails if they're long enough. So we'll see whether providing motivation to get them long will help. I've offered the nail polish before to no avail. She's backed off of the morbid talk lately and is sleeping okay at night, so I guess I'll just keep an eye on her.

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