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Separation anxiety is through the roof!

 
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amother




OP


Post  Wed, Oct 16 2019, 11:32 am
Almost two years ago DH had an affair and we almost divorced. It was a very bad situation and our children suffered. Though they do not know the details, they know we were fighting... they witnessed crying, screaming, name-calling, etc. over several months.

Problems manifested in the children in many ways - trouble in school, over-eating, etc. One child, already more clingy than our others anyhow, became extra clingy. To be expected.

Thanks to amazing therapists and a lot of hard work and forgiveness our marriage survived and thrives. We are happy.

The short term issues we saw in our kids have self-corrected. Except with the clingy child.

The thing is... things seemed to get worse once things calmed down here. And continue to get worse even now, even though she sees we are okay and we have verbalized to her that we are okay and our family is safe. I guess it's possible that her fears are not connected to what went on in our marriage, but I just don't believe it.

I wish I could understand though why it keeps getting worse when she has such reassuruance that everything is okay.

I took her to a therapist 6 months ago but she refused to talk. Do I try again?

She is 10 and comes into our room every single night. If DH can't work out his schedule to be here at bedtime before he goes to learn, she will sit up all night in her bed waiting for him until he gets here. She first stopped wanting sleep-overs at friend's houses, then stopped wanting even play dates at their houses (will only have girls over here). She wont sleep over by my parents anymore or by my sister who is her favorite aunt in the world and used to beg to have a sleepover with. When DH and I go our at night she calls us every 10-15 minutes to make sure we are okay and find out how much longer we will be out. I feel so bad for her. Such high anxiety and worrying for such a little girl.

Any insight into this behavior would be so helpful and appreciated. And also, of course, advice about how to help her -- the right kind of therapy or therapist, etc. (Not specific referrals, we are OOT, but just in general what to look for).
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oneofakind




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Oct 16 2019, 2:57 pm
Try a therapist who is comfortable with a non verbal approach- art, sand tray and give it time to work. She may talk or she maybe doesn't have the words to describe her feelings. The goal is to reduce anxiety not necessarily talk.
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rmbg




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Oct 16 2019, 3:43 pm
Perhaps a therapist very experienced with play therapy.
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amother




OP


Post  Wed, Oct 16 2019, 8:47 pm
Ty for suggestions. Would welcome any other comments/ suggestions/ insights.
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behappy2




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Oct 16 2019, 8:56 pm
Do the two of you spend time with her together? That could help. Also games like hide and go seek help with separation anxiety. Having your husband roughouse with her, lots of connecting type of play. Maybe Also see if she can talk to you about her fears and just get them out. "I know its scary" Validate. Hatzlocha! It will eventually pass.
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tf




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Oct 17 2019, 9:27 am
Some pointers to ask yourself are:
1-How much private time do you have with her to just discuss how the day was? For you and her. No games, Chinuch or stories, just schmoozing. (5 minutes per day is enough)
2-reassuring at every incident.
3-questions about her fear and then challenging them by asking her to verify.
4- soft touch as you interact with her.
5-playfulness between the 2 of you (not with private time. That's separate.)
You can pm me for more.
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browser




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Oct 17 2019, 2:42 pm
Maybe EMDR
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amother




Denim


Post  Thu, Oct 17 2019, 2:47 pm
Ironically, the more you give constant reassurance, such as every 10 or 15 minutes, the more she will require it. You are feeding into this without realizing it or meaning to. I suggest you make an appointment at the centerforanxiety.org . Google it, it's a wonderful, frum organization. They use evidence-based approaches and their goal is to get a good permanent fix without a prolonged therapy process.
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amother




Honeydew


Post  Thu, Oct 17 2019, 3:11 pm
Just because she didn’t respond to the first therapist you took her to, it doesn’t mean therapy won’t work. It can take time to find the right person. Ie: my daughter also is very anxious and we brought her to someone for a few months and she refused to speak the whole time. The woman went on maternity leave and the person who took over our case just clicked with my daughter and she finally started talking. I’d try again. Find someone who has experience working with children and families. Play therapy. Also sometimes just having her in the room coloring or something while you and the therapist are talking is helpful bc she can just “eavesdrop” and absorb what she’s hearing and if she wants to share a thought or something then she can.
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tf




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Oct 17 2019, 3:16 pm
For children it's helpful for parents to get advice/therapy on how to help their child.
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amother




Fuchsia


Post  Thu, Oct 17 2019, 7:39 pm
You've already tried traditional therapies and they haven't really worked. Plus, you said this child was clingy to begin with, so there was something there before all this exploded. I would seriously consider biomedical treatments. Test for pandas, separation anxiety is a hallmark symptom. Clean up kid's diet, focus on gut health. Magnesium, b vitamins, cbd oil, 5htp, gaba, valerian, st johns wort, lemon balm, these are all very calming and can minimize anxiety. Emotional stress can also deplete the adrenals leaving a child in perpetual fight-or-flight mode, so maybe look into supplements that support adrenal function. Good luck!
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amother




Salmon


Post  Thu, Oct 17 2019, 9:28 pm
Huge hugs for all youve gone through op.

Horse therapy can be amazing! A friend of my fostered a child who would not speak to a therapist throughout the 11 years of foster care and she saw an unbelievable turn around when starting horse therapy.

Hatzlacha!
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tf




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Oct 17 2019, 9:30 pm
What's horse therapy?
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amother




Coffee


Post  Fri, Oct 18 2019, 12:33 am
A transitional object could be very helpful. Find something a specific pillow or stuffed animal & tell her this is here for u so that u don’t ever forget that your father & I are always here for you & we love u. Every nite remind her that that is what that is for & it’s there for her.
I’ve used it with my dd a therapist recommended it & Bh it really helps.
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