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How can I help a child cope with never having a dad
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How can I help a child cope with never having a dad

I have a 13 year old niece whose father was killed a month before she was born.  Ironically, she was born on Father’s day.   Her mother (my younger sister) compensated by giving my niece extra attention and never leaving her side unless absolutely necessary, i.e. to go to work/school.  As the years have gone by, my niece has been exhibiting anxieties.  She cannot be left alone, at all.  She has anxiety attacks if my sister walks out to take the trash and she can’t see her through a window.  She once called the police because my sister took a few extra minutes returning from dumping the trash, which was heavier than usually and made walking to the garbage dumpster a little more difficult.  If my niece hears a little noise from outside, upstairs or the hallway, she immediately panics.  Sometimes, she may just be imaging she heard something and forces herself into an anxiety attack.  She is scared to walk to the school bus stop alone, although it is right in her same apartment complex (she does not have to go out to the main street).  She cannot stay home alone after school unless she has someone (mom, step-dad or me) on the phone with her at all times, until someone gets home.  She must keep all windows and blinds closed for fear that someone will see her home alone and try to come and harm or kidnap her.  We are pretty sure that my niece is afraid that she will lose her mother or be taken away from her mother but we don’t know how we can help her deal with her anxiety.  We were hoping to unite her with some of her father’s family in hopes that it will help fill a void she may have and also help her to learn more about her father and who he was and where she comes from?  She seems to also have a fear of defecating.  Not sure of all the details in that respect but I do know that she will hold it for a week or more, until she can’t hold it in anymore.  My sister has taken her to therapy but nothing came of it and my sister cannot afford to continue to send her to therapy.  So, what can we do to help my niece with her anxieties, phobias and void?
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I think it's just going to take time and lots of love, attention and patience. I think you all should still give the therapy a try. If it didn't work before maybe you should find someone else, someone more compassionate or something.
Lots of children don't have dads and do just fine. She can still have male figures in her life with uncles, etc.
Try to make sure that she knows she can always come talk to you or her mom and you will always be there for her. Try to set up special outings with her just to have a little fun and draw closer.
Like I said, it will take time. I do urge you all to give the therapy another try. Most therapists accept most health insurances. Ask your sister to check with her insurance to find out.
I wish you all the best. God bless,
April
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Thank you April.  Unfortunately my sister's current employer doesn't offer medical insurance and my niece doesn't qualify for any state or government funded insurance benefits so, financially, it is not possible to take her to a therapist.  Also, she has already tried 3 different therapists but they didn't seem to help.  I will, however, try to do more things with her, like you suggested.
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