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3rd grader with anxiety
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3rd grader with anxiety

My 8 yr old has recently been having trouble in school.  He is constantly NOT wanting to go to school, he tears up in the mornings & has called from school saying he was  "sick" & once he's home he is fine!!  He has NEVER done this before & I don't know what to do.  I know that 3rd grade is the hardest grade but he stresses about tests that are a week or 2 away & in class, he has to make sure everything is on time because he's afraid he'll miss something.  I've been trying to boost his confidence more & telling him his a smart kid ( A, B honor roll) & that he can do anything he puts his mind to. But he just gets down on himself & says he'll make a bad grade etc.  There are days when he speaks very maturely & says very profound things..like he did when he was younger & that shocks me because I know that it is in him to use his smartness.  One day he can do hard math with no problem & then the next day, he has a hard time adding 2 #'s together!!  His teacher & I are working together & with him to get this under control to where he will like school & have confidence in himself.  Has anyone out there ever expereinced this with their child?! I don't know what all to do to help him! I'm at my wits end here! He does not have any learning problems, no ADD or ADHD!   Please help!!!!
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I understand your frustration too well.  At the end of the school year last year, my 5th grade son experienced some of the same behaviors as you discribed.  We took him to a pychologist and she said he was suffering from separation anxiety.  If he was with me or his dad, he was fine.  We even transferred to another school because of this and I would sit in class with him.  When I was there he was fine and took part in class and demonstrated determination to learn.  When I would walk out of the room.......it got to the point that he would just loose it.  When it reached a point that he had missed too much school, we looked into homeschooling (which was absolutely against what I wanted to do)  The dr. put him on xanax and that just knocked him out......I hated that, then they tried a clonodine patch......and again just zoned him out.  Finally, I decided that I would rather homeschool him and deal with the separation anxiety without the med.  So that is where we are.  It's a tough road and my heart goes out to you and him.  Don't know what the answer is because we still have separation issues....hoping to grow out of them though.  In the meantime, we are just dealing with it in this way.
Good luck and post and let us know how ya'll are doing.
take care,
deb
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your feedback.  I'm not sure my son is having separation anxiety because he can be away from me for a whole weekend & be absolutely fine.  I'm thinking it just has something to do with 3rd grade & how hard it is. He's always been mature for his age & very smart...that's why I'm having a problem of understanding what's going on!!  I don't know exactly what this is he is going through...is it just a stage, is it maturity issues, etc....it's blowing my mind trying to figure this out. Nothing has been going on at home,, things are fine.  He has a younger brother & his father & I are still married & not having any problems.  I'm hoping that I can get to the bottom of this & get it straightned out soon.  I'll check in later & let you know what's going on!!
Tam
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Avatar_f_tn
My son had a lot of anxiety in 3rd grade. He was an A and B student and worked hard to get it. It didn't come as easy to him as others. But, he wanted to be perfect. Also, he had test anxiety and we went over ideas to try to relieve that and practiced exercises at home for it. Now, he does fine with it(he's in the 8th grade). But, he told me the other day that he sometimes has to stop before he even puts his name on his test paper, and take a deep breath, say a prayer, and then start or he just forgets it all. I wish you the best luck with him. Keep up the good work, you'll find what helps soon.
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Avatar_n_tn
My 8 year old is going through the exact same thing right now and I am so worried and frustrated.  He started being scared at night and he's always slept alone.  Now my husband ro I have to sleep with him.  His teacher says he is zoned out in class.  He is a straight A student.  No home problems.  Very well rounded kid.  I have questioned him about everything from bullying to abuse and he denies any problems.  He is tearing up easily and stressing over every little thing.  I try to make sure he gets enough sleep, nutrition, exercise, etc.  This is a new school this year, but he has a great teacher.  He loves school.  Has had a few hurtful comments from other kids(booger picker, etc.) but no real huge event.  He is a very serious kid and very mature.  I , like you, are at my wit's end.
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Avatar_f_tn
My 9 year old daughter is going through separtion anxiety I think. She has to sleep with me at night, has nightmares and refuses to go to school. The principal has pulled her off of me the past two days to get her in school. I have tried standing in line with her at the beginning of school but she starts yelling Mommy don't leave me when it's time to go in. I feel awful. She is a wonderful student, very smart. Now she is not wanting to participate in school activities and dance which she has been in for 6 years. She won't even stay the night with my mom anymore, which at one point i she always cried when she had to leave my mom's house not wanting to come home. She went to the school counselor today and they gave her a notebook to write notes to me throughout the day when she is worried or feels she needs me. I hope this will help. Monday's are the worst. She has a migraine by the time she gets out of school, and by 6pm she is vomitting because of the headache. The school has been wonderful trying to help me out the past few days. We had problems with separating preschool through 1st grade. 2nd grade was wonderful but this year it seems to have been worse than ever. It's so hard to have patience dealing with the crying everyday. Tonight she lay by me and cried herself to sleep because she wants me to walk her into the school tomorrow. I just don't know where to set the guidelines. I for her to be teased for screaming Mommy in front of the whole school. Try the note writing. I am also going to put a note in her lunch box tomorrow saying i love you and I'll see you soon.
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow, you guys are living my nightmare.  I am sitting her and my 9-year-old daughter is down - once again - in our room telling my wife that she's scared and wants to sleep with us.  What is it about this age?  Separation anxiety maybe?  

She's slept for 9 years with no problems.  She has lived in Europe and travelled many places without ever a hitch in sleeping.  Now bango she's scared and can't sleep.  She's exhausted everyone morning.

I have recently found out that GAD (General Anxiety Disorders) run in my mom's family.  Heck, they all seem to have something going on.  I never knew that but I do know that I have had incidents of anxiety (but don't we all get nervous giving presentations in front of hundreds of people?).  You might want to ask your parents or your husbands parents if GAD runs in the family.  You just may hear that ole Aunt Lizzie drops Xanax like M&M's and so did Grandma.

If that's the case you have to watch for signs but not overreact to them.  The majority of kids have anxiety at times and sometimes it can be very concerning.  Who didn't have rituals when they were kids?  Those could be construed as anxiety.

The best bet is to be supportive but lay some boundaries.  You need to help them get back to the place they also want to go.  They don't like it any better than us but they have often boxed themselves into this behavior and can't stop until the cycle is broken.  

And, as you see, you're not alone.  I also have colleagues who have kids in the 8-10 range who are experiencing the same thing so I also believe that it is age range specific.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am literally a ball of tears right now!!!!  My son has always had a problem with the "unknown" He can not deal with change very easily at all and has a problem with me leaving him in any type of a new environment. He is 7 and has been fine sleeping at night up until the last couple weeks. He goes from my home to his dad's, but that has been the same also. No recent changes or anything crazy going on... except for 3rd grade starting. He has been waking me up every night he is here with me and crying that he's scared. I ask him why and he says he's just scared. I remind him that its the same room he's been sleeping in but he's still scared. I want to comfort him but I don't want to get him in the habit of me sleeping with him. I want to sleep in my own bed. He's going to be 8 in October! This is ridiculous. I want to be a good mommy and I want to do right by my son! I don't know what to do but I am going to speak to his school psychologist tomorrow and see what he says!  The school had meetings with us every year since kindergarden and tried to tell us he has apergers disorder which is under the umbrella spectrum of autism. His dad and I didn't agree... but I am starting to see it more and more. MOSTLY when it comes to change and now with this sleeping disaster!
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Avatar_f_tn
Actually, I wonder if Asperger's is not the issue but GAD (generalized anxiety disorder).  This anxiety disorder often "rears its ugly head" about eight or nine years of age.  I might suggest you google the phrase "GAD and children" or "anxiety behaviors and children" or "children and generalized anxiety" or similar words/phrases.  If this the issue, then a trip  to your family doctor would be a prudent step.  Just another suggestion  .....
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for taking the time to post your comments.  I am also in tears as I am writing this post .  My 8 yr old who just started 3rd grade gets sad and starts crying and worring about going to school the next day.  We try to be patient and understanding with her as much as we can but also dont want to enable her.  Her answer is she misses me and doesnt want to leave me.  She makes herself so sick she started complaining about headaches and stomach pains.  May God give us all the patientce and strength to help our children.  It hurts me to see my child suffer.  Now I know I am not alone.
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