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shutting down

Hello,
I am the grandmother of a 5 year old kindergartener...Today her father had a scheduled conference with the teacher. To his surprise, the teacher commented that my grandaughter at times seems sad, and shuts down. Exactally what she meant is unclear, but said that at playtime, she prefers to sit and color or draw instead of interacting with the other chldren. She has been in a school invironment from the time she was 2 at daycare. She seems to interact just fine as far as we all can see, and we are shocked to hear this. I have never experienced a minute of sadness with this child. My son is a single father.
A little history.....her mother was a drug abuser during pregnancy, and is totally out of the picture today. My son has full custody of his daughter. He does not do drugs, and is an excellent father. We are very supportive of our son, and his daughter. Grandma is the closest thing she has to a Mommy.
I am curious to know why her teacher is finding this unusual. She has suggested my son speak to the guidance counselor.
Is it normal behavior for a child with no Mommy to behave like this? Or could it be due to the drugs her mother took during pregnancy?
I am so concerned with this. It has all of us upset, as it is contradictory to the child we know and love.
Please respond...I need some feedback.
Thank You.
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Avatar_f_tn
You have just described my granddaughter when she started school.  I suspect your granddaughter is suffering from anxiety. Is she able to speak to the teacher or her peers?  Is she able to eat at school?  Is she able to use the washroom at school?  By the way, anxiety is an inherited trait and so the child's upbringing (or lack thereof) does not cause this disorder.

First you need to see if your child might be suffering from anxiety - google terms as "childhood anxiety" or "anxiety disorders in children" or ""child anxiety" or similar phrases.  Read to see if any of these description are similar to your granddaughter.  If you feel this might be the case, then the next step is to contact your granddaughter's pediatrician or family doctor for assistance.  If your family doctor is unable to help, then ask for a referral to a specialist in anxiety disorders.  By the way, anxiety is highly treatable and the earlier the diagnosis; the better the prognosis.  Today our granddaughter is doing so well but it has been a long road (she will soon be a teenager).  If you think that I might be able to help, please write again.  I wish you the best ...
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you so much for your response. I will google anxiety to see if it matches up with her behavior. Thing is, it's such a shock to us. Today, her father expected the teacher to tell him that she is a beautiful, intelligent, and delightful angel...not to hear that she shuts down! And appears sad!
We are curious to know why she hasn't asked about Mommy, and frankly don't know exactally what to tell her when she does. I wonder if a 5 year old wonders why other kids have a mommy and she doesn't. The fact that she hasn't asked troubles me...maybe she is harbouring it inside...could this be why she appears sad to the teacher? I thank you so much for your input.
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535822_tn?1389452880
Possibly the Teacher has not got a teacher bond going with your granddaughter yet as she is happy at home it seems the problem lies at school did you ask her if she was okay and felt well,and how she liked school and her teacher,  perhaps she isnt stimulated enough, and maybe she simply likes to be alone and quiet sometimes. I think possibly this isnt anything to be unduly concerned with at this stage epecially as she would be upset at home.if she had any problem.
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Avatar_f_tn
I know how you feel - we also thought our granddaughter would take to school "like a duck to water".  We could not believe what was happening there.  It might be wise for your son (or you) to stop in during class time (with the permission of the teacher, of course) and see what is occurring.  Our child at home was not the child at school - a classic descriptor of anxiety.  At the time, we knew nothing about this disorder (our child has social anxiety; I suspect your granddaughter also suffers from the same).

As for your child having no Mother, ask your son what he wants you to say if the question arises.  That way, you will both be telling her the same story.  As I said before, this issue does not cause anxiety (I suspect your child's mother  might be suffering from anxiety as well as other mood/emotional disorders as is our DIL); and your grandchild inherited this trait from her mother.  As for the sadness, depression is often co-morbid with anxiety - our child was diagnosed with severe social phobia, selective mutism and depression at six years of age.  It appears your granddaughter is not as severe as our child; but today, our granddaughter is the same person in public as she is in private.  We have walked a long, long road but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  If anxiety is the issue, please keep in touch as we've been there (and shed a lot of tears along the way).  Best wishes ...
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for your feedback..It is truly appreciated. When she isn't feeling well, we know it...so I doubt it is anything physical with her. She has told us that she likes school, likes the kids in the class..but didn't say she doesn't play with them. She is as social as anyone I know...even smiling and singing in the grocery store to strangers..I agree that some people (including kindergarteners) have their own personality, and if she prefers to be alone, drawing or coloring by herself....why would that be a probelm for the teacher? She has interacted with children for 3+ years at daycare...so it's not that she doesn't know how...It's so upsetting when you want to hear positive things come out in a teacher conference, instead of this negativity. I am upset..my stomach in knots...but I know that she is as sound as any other normal 5 year old. Thank you again for your response.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am glad to hear that your GD overcame the anxiety. I would have never guessed she is a different person at school...and it's only at times, teacher said...usually after snack break, and free play time. I honestly beleive that maybe she's the kind of kid that just doesn't depend on others to amuze her, or entertain her...she loves to draw, and color, and if that's what she chooses to do instead of playing games or whatever it is kindergarten kids do at break, then i think the teacher is making too much of this.
I did google anxiety, and it doesn't really fit her...but one never knows what lies deep down..and it's better to be aware of a possible problem in the future
Thank you again for your response
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603946_tn?1333945439
I am trying to draw a picture of all this in my mind- she seems sad and sits alone to color- etc

when I talk with moms and grandmoms at the beginning of the year we try to communicate everything to see if the child's behavior sounds different than it had been in the past - I wonder if the teacher is trying to find out if this is normal behavior for her to be sorta shy- all dad has to do was say "she likes being alone" Usually when I talk to dads I talk to them and tell them about their child's whole day too- anything different I can think of that happened that day - not because I am worried about it but I want to know if it strikes a chord with you all- see?- I have had dads apologize because their boy wanted my crackers at lunch- I didn't mind sharing my crackers, I told him I was just trying to tell him (dad) his son liked these particular crackers. Moms will usually say- "Ok I'll get him some of those"- dads are more fixers so they think I am wanting something changed if I mention it- maybe grandma can go along to the next meeting- just my 2cents
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