My eight year old has had problems with stress at school since the 1st grade but it seems to get worst every year. She complains of stomachaches at night and in the mornings when she has to go to school and a test or some other stressful situation is going on. She stays up at night worrying and crying and has to be reassured that she did not forget to do homework, sign papers, get things ready for school. This year (right after Christmas Break) She started with the stomachache like usual but then began to throw up. There is no medical (physical) reason for this and the Dr. says to give her Mylanta. She is still stressed, has missed school, and I have been to school every day for the last two weeks to sit with her at lunch. She will not eat at school because she says she will throw up. When I ask her what she thinks is wrong she says (after long conversations and questioning her for several days) that she is worried that she will not be able to go on to 4th grade because the teacher said that she has to pass the Standford 9 test (yes she does know the name of the test). She is very upset about this test which the studnets will be taking at the end of Feb. I have talked to the teachers every year about pressuring her about tests. We want her to pass her tests and do well but she is the type of child that can not handle the stress. Iwould rather she be happy than a straight A student. Nothing I do seems to help the situation. We are considering having her test for a learning disability because of her extreme fear of time testing. It is as if she totally looses control and doesnt even know how to begin when it comes to tests. What do you think I should do? This is breaking my heart to see my little girl so upset. She puts such an extreme amount of pressure on herself to be perfect at all that she does. Please help us.
On the basis of your information, there's no reason to suspect learning disability, particularly if she achieves well academically. However, your daughter does display an anxiety disorder, and this deserves treatment. Please consult with a pediatric mental health professional, who will be able to conduct a thorough evaluation and collaborate with you around an appropriate treatment plan. Do not stay with your daughter at lunchtime at school. Your sensitivity and desire to help are admirable, but such intervention is not wise and is likely contributing to the problem. Also, do not allow your daughter to avoid school. This will also exacerbate the problem. Dr. KDK
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