My daughter is 3 years old and she has been saying lately how she doesn't like people or kids. She freaks out around other children and clings to me. I have been working more hours often 7 days in a row and she is use to be being around. Lately she has been telling children she doesn't like them. I feel horrible and I am thinking she has a social anxiety problem. She was in school this past year and her teacher never said anything. Should I be concerned?
I'm am no professional by any means. But I seriously doubt that a 3 year old would have social anxiety. Sounds more like separation anxiety. I (really) recall my mother dropping me off at daycare when she went to work. I must have been 3 or 4. I screamed bloody murder, cried, kicked, and smacked anyone who came close to me. I told them I hated them. I told my mom awful things that never happened at daycare. All of it in an effort to make the daycare tell my mom that they didn't want me there, so maybe I could be with my mommy. I hope this is helpful, somehow. Blessings - Blu
My nephew suddenly started having bladder control issues. Many appointments, specialists & tests later, it was finally discovered he was being teased & bullied in the bathrooms so he started trying to hold it all day. He was barely 4 at the time so no one thought it could be something like that. Kids react to things so differently than you might expect at times so you never really know, especially when it is out of character for them.
Hi there. Here is some really great information on social phobias and social anxiety. About 40 percent of social phobias start before the age of 10 and 95 percent before the age of 20.
Kids, and young ones, do actually suffer social anxiety.
Here is a link on this:
However, I think part of the problem you are seeing with your daughter is this sudden change in your work schedule. It is a lot for a 3 year old to be with mom frequently to not so much for 7 days. That could be part of it.
However, the avoidance of other kids and the way she verbalizes it (which, we are talking about a three year old here, so this is how she's figured out to convey to you that she doesn't feel comfortable with other kids/people right now) would indicate that she has a bit of anxiety.
It is really important to tread lightly. Don't push. Don't force it on her. If she has to be away from you--- pack some items for her to play with by herself if she doesn't care to join the crowd in playing (which three year olds developmentally are just getting out of the stage of playing along side someone rather than actually with them). Tell her it is okay if she doesn't want to. Let her go at her own pace. She may be content to sit on the side lines until she feels more comfortable. If she never seems to get more comfortable, then you need to take further steps to help her.
Agreed that anxiety shows itself in kids in ways such as stomach aches, avoidance, not speaking to others, etc.
I was very shy when growing up and little. And have been diagnosed with mild social anxiety as an adult. I get nervous around others that are unfamiliar to me. however, my situation is very manageable. I sharpened my social skills through my professional life and can mix just about anywhere now with confidence. however, I don't enjoy parties in which I know few people, etc. I like familiar faces I'm comfortable with.
PS: My 9 year old son has anxiety. It shows itself in a variety of ways. And we are beginning counseling in August. Most doctors believe that the earlier you begin to address this and work on it, the better outcome. good luck
Thankyou so much for the great advice! I feel better! She has at home with sitters while I am at work so not a daycare. She was in school this past year and they said she was shy and didn't jump right in to play with the others but they never told me it was a issue. They only told me when I asked them about how she was doing and if she was playing. She hasn't been around many kids outside of her past year at school only twice a week from 9 to 11:30. I figured I won't try to force anything on her but let her open up with others when she is ready to. I was thinking about having play dates but only one kid at a time just to get her use to interacting. I think its a combination of things right now me working and he not really being around many kids outside of school.
One wants to be careful diagnosing children with anxiety disorders, as all children go through bouts of anxiety and few grow up to have an anxiety disorder. It's the nature of childhood to be insecure, and it's the job of parents to figure out why, which is why being a parent is no picnic.
Here is my take on this---- it is one thing to take every child and look for what is wrong with them and give it a name. However, it is another when a child isn't coping well. My son's anxiety causes issues for him. He can't finish a test for fear of getting something wrong. If he doesn't think something is perfect, he tears it up. He will avoid things that are difficult or new due to not being able to do them very well right off the bat. This really hinders him and are classic signs of anxiety. He also shows signs of OCD when excited and stressed. He has to 'be even'. So if something touches his left side, he will have to touch his right side to it immediately following. He also has to touch things a certain number of times. This only happens when he is all hyped up (he was very much doing these things right before we left for vacation last week) and when he is nervous (when he was playing basketball on an excellent team that he was a little behind in regarding his skills). Now, it would be silly for me to ignore this. I know from my professional life that these things are from anxiety that he is having. I look to a psychologist to help him find coping tools to feel better. I have a background that lends myself to helping him in this capacity and we work on it at home. But there is something to be said for a mother realizing that outside help is necessary. I'm too emotionally connected myself to always be effective.
I also think that it is good to seek professional help when a young child has issues with self esteem. I think because of my son's developmental delay, he's had a rocky start to the 'real world' and it makes him have a negative self image. Feeling different from everyone else an be really hard on the psyche of a child. I hope that my son's therapist will help change the course of this by giving him ideas of how to improve upon how he views himself.
My son is a great kid. I am sincerely hoping that a psychologist will help him early on with the issues around his anxiety so that he doesn't have a life time of suffering.
That's my take on it.
You are so welcome. I think it is a good sign that her teachers last year noted that she may have been shy but didn't see any significant problems socially or developmentally. This could be an adjustment phase mixed with a shy personality.
One thing you might do especially when she turns 4 is to begin having one on one play dates for her with friends from either the neighborhood or her school. You should be present for those and help her through. You can guide her socially and help her to find a way to connect to the child you've invited over. One on one is often a good route to take with a shy child. And Saturdays or Sundays work for play dates if you are working during the week.
hang in there. I really think we are all works in progress and especially kids. I admire you for wanting to make sure she is alright. You can keep your eyes on this and intervene if you think things go down hill. peace and luck
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