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Avatar universal

6 year old daughter confesses everything

My wife and I have a 6 year old daughter and last week she began crying on the way to school and confessing to my wife everything under the sun, such as "the teacher told us to write our name then date but I wrote the date first, I was talking at lunch when I wasn't supposed to" and so on.  She never gets in trouble at school, during the resent parent teacher conference her good behavior was highlighted as a strength.  But everyday it is the same thing crying while going to school and confessing all night long.  We have tried explaining to her that it is good to tell us about things that she thinks is bad but she needs to let stuff go and not linger on small infractions that no one would have known about if she didn't confess.  I am in the military and currently deployed I am about half way through this 6 month rotation and believe that this could be a factor in her newly found guilt.  What should we do?  
82 Responses
189897 tn?1441130118
      Oh, it is so tough to deal with a child who suddenly is apparently kind of miserable.   And, especially at  this age!
      First thought, is that if this just began last week.  Then I would think that something triggered it.   Really try hard to identify what that was.  If she has never had this problem before, there has to have been a trigger.  
    And yes, your rotation might be a part of it.  Were you discussing possible future happenings recently while she was present?
     She does seem to have anxieties about school.   You might want to look into that a bit more.  The fact that she has good behavior at school - could also mean that she is trying so hard to be good at school, that she falls apart when she gets home.   During the parent conference did the teacher indicate any scholastic problems?  Is she behind in any areas?
      Finally, there are books out there that are meant to be read, shared, and talked about with kids.  They are aimed at this age group.  One such book is - "Is a Worry Worrying You?".  Check out the reviews of the book and others listed below.  It may provide a vehicle for you to help her.  The link is http://www.amazon.com/Worry-Worrying-You-Ferida-Wolff/dp/1933718056/ref=pd_sim_14_28?ie=UTF8&dpID=51v8qRe%2Bn4L&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=0W0RBJB5RR1EGCGJP3JJ

      The book will help you cover some important areas, but essentially you have to figure out where this is coming from to effectively deal with it.  Is is school related or deployment related?
     I hope this helps.  Please post if you have any questions or feel like answering the questions I posted.  Best wishes.
This used to happen to me. I would consistently confess to my parents, and I would feel guilty if I didn't. Even if I wasn't confessing about anything that was bad, I still felt this way. This turns out to be a part of OCD. After going to therapy for anxiety, I have been able to work past it. Just tell your daughter that you love her and that she didn't do anything wrong. Tell her these are throw away thoughts - OCD thoughts.
I am not a doctor nor claim to have any sort of medical background. I am  a parent and been through this with my son when he was 8 years old. He was a straight A student, class representative very outgoing. One day to the next he displayed multiple symptoms including the confessions and OCD. We took him to his pediatric doctor who wanted to put him on psyc meds passed on that and investigated further. Look into PANDAS!! This is key!!  GOOD LUCK!!  
Yep. Wife has OCD. This is EXACTLY the sort of thing she did as a girl. It's exhausting for your daughter, I am sure.
Yep. Wife has OCD. This is EXACTLY the sort of thing she did as a girl. It's exhausting for your daughter, I am sure.
I am a mother of six grown children with a nursing background. I think it is great that she is opening up and talking to you about things that happened in school. It can be really hard to get children to open up and talk about  things that they have been through, especially things that they considered embarrassing. If you encourage this and learn how to validate her feelings now, you will have a much easier time communicating with her later on when life gets more complicated and serious. Let her talk, talk, talk and listen with love to everything she wants to talk about!!!! Communicating with others and opening up about feelings is one of the most important things that you can teach a child how to do!!!
i did the same as kid. it's ocd
These intrusive thoughts, fears, guilt and the compulsive need to confess are familiar to me. I am now in my 60s and that is exactly how my OCD first manifested itself when I was a child. I still have OCD, but there is treatment available. Above all, do not shrug it off as a phase of childhood insecurity. Your child would benefit greatly from seeing a psychiatrist as soon as possible. OCD causes great mental anguish and only you can get her the help she needs. Just talking to her will not fix this. But do not despair. Understanding the cause of this behavior is the first step to getting it under control. Get professional help, please.
Avatar universal
To be honest this is coming from some one who has been raped and abused it sounds like she may be experiencing something at school that she is afraid of... like she is telling you what she did wrong because she thinks you are sending her there to punish her I would see how she reacts to certain students/teachers/other faculty in the school
I completely agree with you. I have worked in childcare for several years and all ages from infants to toddler to preschools and our child abuse training we are trained to look out for signs as such, if a child will not come out and straight say what is wrong they will only consistently say something they think is wrong because they want you to figure it out they feel bad for confessiong what is actually happening. Not to be negative does sound like more then being in trouble is bothering her please look into this. If my 3 and half year old was doing so I would definitely see what his real issue was.
3060903 tn?1398568723
Talk to the counselor at school would be my first move and ask whether they've seen a change happening. Maybe they can subtly let her know that "nobodies perfect", maybe by more than one teacher. Also, i'm sure they would have a list of books that would be helpful, along with Sandman's reading suggestions.

There may be some things that you can do at home, and on video chat, other then reading to them. For instance, playing (more) games with your daughter will give you (the at home parent) the opportunity to teach them how to win or lose gracefully. And that it is not so much the outcome, as the playing.

I'm thinking that since you've mentioned that you are deployed that your husband/wife is video chatting with your child. How often are you able to do that? Also, there may be a chance of course that your daughter is worried about you, having heard the news about terrorism. I'm sure that kids of parents deployed must be hurting and worrying. I'm not sure what a therapist would or could do to ally their fears, but it might be a good thing to have a place where your daughter could talk about her feelings about a parent being deployed.

The reason why this is happening aside, the end result is that your daughter is  becoming a perfectionist and you can gain knowledge on the best way to deal with through your own reading about childhood perfectionism.


I'm so glad you posted.and hope to hear you'all get healthfully to the other side of this.

Thank you for your service. Come home safe and sound.
I just wanted to say the perfectionism is a symptom, not the problem. I think playing win/lose games is maybe not the best, since it will increase her anxiety to "lose", the anxiety being the core issue manifesting in perfectionism. All perfectionism is rooted in anxiety.
Yes, sounds like anxiety disorder and maybe OCD.I have had anxiety my whole life, and Pure OCD since I was 23. I'm now 50, and it's hard enough to deal with as an adult, cannot imagine as a child. God Bless you all..
189897 tn?1441130118
    Hi Nighthawk,  very good comments.  Thankyou for joining our community!  Hope you stay around!
Avatar universal
Hello! I think I might have an answer to why she is behaving like this, but I don't want you to panic, because I'm not 100% sure. I am 23, but when I was a child, and even now as an adult, I struggled with a panicked need to confess everything I did wrong. I was also obsessed with perfection, despite never getting in trouble. About a year ago, I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Part of OCD involves intrusive thoughts and guilt, as well as a need to "confess" about everything because the guilt causes anxiety. I would look into this if I were you. Best wishes!
Avatar universal
I just signed up to medhelp to give my input. I'm sorry you are dealing with this situation. My DD had at age 6 sudden onset of OCD   Hers was not confession but was in the order of not touching things etc. it was quite disturbing to us. This sounds like OCD to me however the sudden onset would make me want to consider PANDAS / PANS in the differential.  Please look into this. It could save you all years of heartache and prevent many possible wrong diagnosis. I am not saying she HAS this by any means but please look into it. After years of research and labs and "wrong" diagnoses we have concluded our DD has Lyme causing her PANS symptoms. She is now being treated correctly-antibiotics/herbals and all her other diagnoses are melting away ... Ocd. Auditory processing. Sensory issues. Dyslexia. Etc. one not need all those issues to have strep or some other infection to cause ocd. Lyme is just a stickler.
Anyway. That's my input and two cents. I hope she is doing ok and sincerely will pray for her and you all.  
Again it could be stress from school/ social situations / deployment. But it could also be infectious cause.
Just a website for info. FYI.
Yes I say PANDAS too! This was my daughters very first symptom!
This sounds like PANDAS/PANS to me as well. Do some research, many pediatricians are still not even familiar with the diagnosis so really look into it before consulting with your doctor. My daughter was diagnosed with it 6 months ago & it's a tough road.
Avatar universal
I will second the suggestion that a **sudden** onset of anxiety and needing to confess, especially in someone as young as her, sounds like PANS/PANDAS.  The most common age for this to start is 4-8, so she's right in the middle of that. PANS is a post-infectious auto-immune brain inflammation.  The PANDAS subtype of PANS is the result of a strep infection that wasn't even serious enough for you to catch as strep; perhaps just a sore throat.  Antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications are the best treatments, and the earlier started the faster this goes away.  
If you were half-way through a rotation, rather than just gone, that doesn't sound like you were the trigger for this intense anxiety.  
In PANS/PANDAS, sudden onset of irrational anxiety, esp. separation anxiety, OCD, (including needing to confess), anorexia, and frequent urination (even new bedwetting), and behavior regression are common symptoms.   The cause is an antibody attack on the brain, not anything anyone did - not her, not you, not classmates or anyone.  If it is this, then anti-anxiety meds, prayer, meditation, sleep, won't take care of it;  needs medical treatment for whatever underlying infection.  ANd if that doesn't do it, then yes, follow the info on Pandasnetwork.org or Pandas Physicians Network (ppn.org)
I agree, I have pans and this is what I used to do when I was younger.
Avatar universal
Your child sounds like she has OCD. Look it up and see if she has any other symptoms. Also if anyone in your family had or has it. My 7 yr old daughter also does the same thing and constantly hand washes and is overly conscious of germs.I first noticed it two years ago and it also started with the constant tearful confessions of trivial things. My husband and older brother both have OCD so we know the symptoms. It is very likely to be hereditary.Do some research and if you think she fits the bill. Talk to your pedia about what you can do to help. A developmental pedia can help too.If she is diagnosed with OCD even just knowing about the condition helps them a lot and they are very releived that their behavior has an explanation!! Hope this helps you!
what is the root cause of the OCD?
It is not hereditary but the infections that cause OCD can be passed from mother to child
Avatar universal
I went through something very similar when I was young about 12-13. My daddy ( who was my world an absolute Daddy's Girl) was working night shifts for a shut down and made so much working over time he wouldn't take a day off. After about 2 months of seeing him I became very guilt ridden for no reason I can't explain how intense this emotion was, it was like it weighed on my chest constantly and no matter what I did I couldn't make it go away . There was no specific trigger just one day I woke up and it happened.  I would cry every morning hated going to school and when I got home the first thing I would do was go to sleep and just sleep until I had to wake up. My parents were divorced and my mom wasn't around so my grandmother was living with us and she is a super Baptist, she couldn't offer me any comfort and one night after seeing me in agony for weeks crying constantly when I was awake she became convinced that I was "under conviction"and said shed never seen anything like it; so she called the preacher. He and several men from her church came and prayed with me and prayer always helps me feel somewhat better but just the thought of the feeing going away of having something done about it  was enough to make me feel a bit better. At the end of it all they left and while I was calm for the moment I was no where near cured, as I woke the new morning the feeling returned. What ultimately made it better was telling my Dad and he took time off but after another few months of not seeing him I began having the same issues but knew how to deal and then the shutdown ended. Looking back, I believe it to have been severe depression. I have battled depression since; my Dad passed away 5 years later and similar feelings emerged after. At this point I'm hardened to it, a shell of the carefree bubbly girl I used to be, emotions are rare for me. I hadn't thought about that experience in years(I'm now 27 with two babies of my own) and I'll tell you this, I have never hurt so badly as I did during that time (not even when my Dad passed) and the thought of a baby going through it breaks my heart. So, I had to post this to try and help you to understand her feelings maybe, and to maybe have that  point you toward a solution. I pray your daughter finds comfort. Thank you for your service!
Avatar universal
My daughter was very similar around the same age. I can agree with some of the other answers here that it could be OCD related. We have a family history of OCD and anxiety disorders. There was a time shortly after this where my daughter began washing her hands repeatedly as well.

The important thing is that these issues didn't persist for her. As a person who has experienced OCD, I already know that calling a lot of attention to the symptoms can make the anxiety worse and lead to a repetitive cycle.

You may need to enlist the help of a therapist to understand and manage her anxiety better. Or, if you feel confident that you can help her learn to alleviate it herself, that's okay too. Mainly, I wrote this to let you know that despite my daughter's problems, today at 11 years old, she is a very happy person. She still battles perfectionistic tendencies and still has anxiety issues, but we have learned to manage them without medications and she is growing into a wonderful young woman.

It can be frightening and stressful when you first discover things like this, but it will be okay.

18878484 tn?1469190037
I used to do this when I was little too.  I would stay awake all night and start admitting everything to my parents, and all day too, anything I could think of, even if I thought a piece of tissue was dirty and maybe I dropped it on the ground instead of in the garbage, then maybe somebody else will get germs if they pick it up, etc. etc.  It stems FROM ANXIETY.  I started getting anxiety attacks at the age of 12, and the constant confessing started right before....like maybe when I was 9 or 10.  Your daughter is/and or/ will be suffering from anxiety.
I totally agree. When I was about six or seven years old I would count every step I took and every step I climbed and every section of sidewalk that I crossed. At an earlier age I suffered from temper tantrums and crying all the time and suffered from nightmares. Today I am 50 years old and have more anxiety than I ever imagined possible. Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, nightmares and severe sadness still continue to engulf me and it totally *****.
Avatar universal
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