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Question
Posted by: denise | 2004/02/09

child / seperation anxiety

hello. abit of advice please please. i am at the end of my tether. i am a single mum who relocated to ct just over 3 years ago. i do not have any family here and did not know many people, but things are better now friends wise and i have been in a supportive relationship for nearly a year. i joined a single mums support group run by uct when i got here which made a big different settling in. i also go for one on one therapy with an interin for about the last year due to some of my issues. my childs father stays in eastern cape. my daughter who is turning 5 in August has terrible problems with going to school and seperation. she hates it. All aches and pains in the morning etc. however she loves to sleep out at friends houses (about 4 –5 times a month) and they come to us etc so it seems seperation is only a problem school wise. she was at a school from one years old until dec last year, but i have moved her as the tears every morning were terrible and I felt it had been going on too long..she has only 2 years until big school so these are important years for her to enjoy school,. she also told me and her dad on seperate occassions over this holiday that the teachers smacked her so i immed moved her. every 3 -4 months she goes to her dad for 2 -3 weeks to visit (gran and grandad are also there)...she enjoys her holidays, but also does not like seperating from me. we have now moved to a more holistic school (going into 4th week now), but nothing seems to have changed although the school is much friendlier and stimulating. it is miles away, but is worth it if she is happy. Her trips to the eastern cape are rather disruptive. Her dad and I get on very well, but I have decided that, until the school issues are sorted out, that he must come here for visits from now on. He has his own business so it is difficult for him to come here whereas there he has the support of granny, granddad and the whole family. I am feeling very disheartened as daina is still crying a lot this morning. I have left a message for the teacher as she usually brings daina to the fence to kiss me goodbye, the teacher was not with her this morning and this caused tears. I obviously hate leaving my daughter crying on the step. It has got better at this school. The first week she was hysterical. My question is, should we go to child therapy or should I go for specific parental therapy so I know how to handle all this ? I feel I am messing up my childs childhood, but I am in a position where I have to work full time and have no help with fetching etc. I am prone to depression myself and have recently seen a psychatrist to check medication. I have been on Zoloft for 10 years and am going onto Efexor over the next month. I try hard with my daughter and spend lots of time with her on the weekends doing her things (this weekend we went swimming, a childs party, made a braai together and went for a walk in the forrest in between hanging out at home), but I feel defeated. She also hates sleeping in her bed so last night I let her sleep in her tent in my room. She also has problems sleeping and cries a lot at night and talks in her sleep and usually ends up in my bed. HELP !

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Our expert says:
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Dear denise,
It sounds like you're very conscientious and a very caring mum. It sounds as if it would be useful for your child to see a child psychologist who could explore why she has recently become so insecure ( in the various ways you describe ). You should discuss the issues of how best you as a parent can deal with this, both directly with your intern therapist, and ask to see and speak to the child shrink after he/she has seen and assessed your lass, so that his/her advice can be directly related to whatever he/she finds has been troubling the girl. Also, try asking around at the single mum's support group - I'm sure many of them will have met and coped with similar problems. One aspect of such problems that can reverberate a bit, is that as you grow anxious about the child's anxiety, the child grows more anxious, and so on.

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