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Child Behavior Forum
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Avatar universal

Social Anxiety? and other

My daughter is 7 years old and in second grade.  My wife and I have had concerns about anxiety since she was very young.  I thought the anxiety issue would pass, but it seems to be becoming more pervasive.  She is an only child, very bright (I guess I am going to brag now), all of the mental and verbal milestones were reached early (1st word 8 mos, walked at 10 mos, ABCs at 14 mos, etc.).  She is at the top of her second grade class academically.  She seems to be so mature at times, but will often revert to what I call "baby mode," throwing temper tantrums if she does not get everything her own way.  
Socially, I see issues.  She is in activities--played softball last summer and is now in basketball.  While planning for these activities, initially she is very excited and asks to play repeatedly.  However, when it comes time to actually go to the event and play she becomes very clingy, hiding behind my wife or I, states that she does not want to play, tries to quit, etc.  We actually let her quit gymnastics and soccer at her request.  Amazingly, she did not ask to quit softball (I think she loves the game) and I did not let her quit basketball...she goes, but she is very timid.  It's not just sports, but there have many activities in which she showed great interest right up until the time the event was about to ensue, then she "chickens out or at least tries to."  I worry that she is going to miss out on things.  We have offered music, martial arts, sports, scouts, etc,etc
As for friends, there are two children that live two houses form us--she will not play with anyone else.  Two girls moved in across the street, we were very excited until we told our daughter--she promptly stated that "I will never play with them."  She did have a few friends in 1st grade, but these relationships have dissolved.  However, when I pick her up at school, many kids will smile at her, say goodbye, say hi, etc. My wife helps at the school and states that she doesn't seem interested in having more than one friend.
We live about 5 blocks from school and there is a boy in her class that lives o the way.  His mother does not drive, so my wife volunteered to drive him on inclimate days.  She cries, states that she "hates picking him up,"  "let him walk in the rain," etc.  This behavior perplexes me--I tell her that it's just being nice.
She also has a problem with functional constipation.  The child will not go to the bathroom at school, especially not bowel movements.  This runs in cycles--as soon as we think it is going to go away, it comes back.
Other areas:  
1.  Has to have her own way or else a tantrum ensues.
2.  Throws a fit if her routine is deviated from or if somebody does something which she deems as being the incorrect way of doing it.
3.  Will not try a new food.
4.  Writes very sloppy in fear of missing her recess or not getting the assignment done.
5.  Has a ridiculously mature, sarcastic, and funny sense of humor.

Please help!
4 Responses
242606 tn?1243786248
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Time will certainly tell, but I imagine what you are witnessing is developmental unevenness. Your daughter's cognitive development is 'ahead of the curve', so to speak, but it is not matched (and it wouldn't be expected to) by her social and emotional development.

It will be important as you move ahead not to permit her social reticence to win the day; continue to insist that she stay in the mix socially. It is only by having social engagement that her skills and interest will improve.

She is not particularly flexible, and her capacity to tolerate frustration is limited. Focus only on those areas where her predilections are causing problems. For example, she may not like it when something occurs in a way that is different from what she wishes or prefers. That in itself is OK. But to respond with a tantrum is not OK. It's sensible to send her to time out (10 minutes would be sufficient) for such tantrums (remember, the discipline is in response to the tantrum, not to the inflexibility). Not trying new foods is a common childhood behavior; you needn't pay it any attention at all.
Avatar universal
Our child suffers from severe social anxiety and much of what you wrote is very similar in our case - reached mileposts well ahead of her peers and yet socially ...  

Today, some researchers believe that anxiety disorders may also be a developmental disorder - the first four items you listed at the bottom of your post indicate both developmental issues as well as anxiety issues.  Her inflexibility and frustration levels are also indicative of anxiety.  In addition, anxiety-ridden children are usually constipated, have food issues, and sensitivity problems (as tags in clothing or seams in socks).  By the way, our child was not able to use the bathroom at school until Grade 3 or able to eat at school until Grade 2.
Because children who suffer from anxiety (meaning intense fears which can reach toxic levels) cannot control their body/mind in what they perceive to be a "fearful environment", they try to control their environment so that they can function.  I expect this is what is occuring when your daughter is reacting to her peers, school, routines, etc.  If she is suffering from  anxiety, she is just trying to survive the best way she knows how.

I might suggest you seek further medical advice from a paediatrician or a child psychologist/psychiatrist or a child neurologist.  Social anxiety is a disorder that one does not "grow out of" but with proper treatment it can be controlled - in our case, treatment involved intervention, therapy and medication.  Your second sentence indicates you already know the problem - please seek help for your child.  I wish you the best.

Avatar universal
This sounds very much like Asperger's Syndrome.
Avatar universal
My son is 8 and much of what you said sounds like him...I worry so much..He is just so different.  he has a 6 year old brother and 3 year old sister.ISince age 2 had to really force him to partake in anything. He seems to have no confidence. Usually once he sdoes it or knows he is godo at it he is ok. Still wont' join ingames at parties.  he plays piano but will not do a recital. i keep taking him to everything and wont' let him wuit.  he has wanted to wuit piano, ball.e tc.  he is great one on one but no good in groups.  teacher said she thinks he is borderline genius.e is having hard time learning to read but intellectually is abov eother kdis his age. He doesn't play with toys.  Liek to watch more discovery shows. How its made etc. Rather be with adults than kdis his own age.  Teh other kdsi seem to want to play with him and sometimes he does but not for long he loses interest wit them.He to has the sarcasim of an adult.  I don't knwo any other children like this. I am worried other people think he is wierd. He went to counselling alst year adn really helped. I think I may take him back. She siad he has mild anxiety disorder. He can be very emotional and says inappropriate things. I always worry what he will say.
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