My nearly 8 year old boy is just finishing year 3 and is generally a very happy little boy.
He has a good selection of friends and is at or near the top of his class in all subjects. He loves school and at the moment seems challenged in class, particularly as there are several other gifted children in his year group. He is also very aware that he is bright and is one of the cleverest in the class, he doesn't seem to have self esteem issues.
My problem is that he sets himself such high standards of achievement that when he doesn't come first or comes below some of his friends in a test he gets very anxious and can worry about it for days.
In the past couple of weeks he has convinced himself he is going to die and seems to be having panic attacks. The most recent one was last night when he was hysterical and inconsolable for over half an hour, this was really distressing to watch.
His teacher is well aware of his anxiety and perfectionist issues and also knows that he doesn't cope well with any kind of change and has been very supportive of him and me.
His recent anxiety could easily be him worrying about moving to year 4, but I'm afraid to ask him in case it gives him something else to worry about!
I'm not sure how to help him, and I'm wondering whether it is too soon to be taking him to see an educational psychologist to help him deal with his anxiety.
Hi Worried Mum, this is not an unusal circumstance for our young and bright, I have worked with many children who experience anxiety, individual work with a therapist can help, but a great book to use with your child is:
What to do when you worry too much, an anxiety book for children, it is very straightforward and works in the majority of cases.
I also have an 8 year old boy who teachers say shows some anxiety at school. In fact all of this teachers have said this. I don't think it is extreme but I am puzzled about some of his behaviour and not sure whether to just "battle on" or to try and get some help from somewhere (although who knows where??)
The history is my son was always a very bright child with a wide vocab. After about 18 months at school I was concerned as he couldn't read very well, so had him assessed by SPELD and also by a behavioural optometrist.
He scored on 98%ile for verbal and reasoning ability , but in average range for processing speed. He was performing at an age average level at that stage for reading, maths etc. After doing some eye exercises prescribed by the optometrist (his tracking was very poor) and also SPELD for a few months, his reading really took off. He has been a very avid reader from about age 7 and gets through tons of books.
However, I am still worried about some other aspects. At school his teachers have never reported any problems at all, except that he can be anxious and "not a team player". he is well behaved and does the work but I don't think he achieves to his potential. He seems to find the learning of basic maths facts and especially the timed testing really hard, so often can't even say the answer to really easy stuff within the 3 seconds or whatever. His writing was poor although it has improved, but I think it's still a long way from his actual ability level. Spelling I think is not too great, but ok.
He can get really stressed about homework, even though I have never seen him bring anything home that looks very challenging! He is a perfectionist and isn't very confident about his schoolwork.
Socially, he hasn't ever really made a good friend at school, although he seems to get on ok and the other kids are always friendly to him. Seems happy to do his own thing and is happiest when doing creative projects himself. He seems to play with the girls or with younger children. Outside school he gets on well with kids a bit older than himself and has a few good friends.
He has times at home when he has really angry outbursts, sometimes over very minor issues. His behaviour can be quite oppositional at times and he is very strong willed, and often seems to be the cause of fights with his siblings. Once he gets all worked up he is really hard to handle. He is however a very sensitive child at heart so this combination makes it difficult to "walk the line" as a parent. Some days I think it is all ok, other days I feel I need help in knowing how to handle him, and that if we don't get his issues sorted they will only get worse. We have shown all his reports (SPELD, optom) to school but they don't seem at all interested. His testing by SPELD was considered by SPELD to indicate an SLD.
I used to wonder whether he was ADHD or apspergers or something like that, but when SPELD tested him they only suggested possibly mild dyspraxia due to not skipping properly?? He certainly isn't the most athletic but rides his bike fine, and I saw him in running the other week, he came about the middle of the pack.My family tend to be high IQ types but not the most sporty!
Um any suggestions, Sorry about the long long post, but where to start?
The main problem is his behaviour at home, which I think stems from frustrations due to his mixed ability levels.He also seems to show tactile sensitivities eg having his hair washed can be an ordeal, and makes a big fuss if he hurts himself ( even just a minor scrape) and struggles with organisation.
Thanks for any thoughts-I guess his issues are common to many bright children.
Sounds very familiar! My 7 year old has had a heck of a year with anxiety about school. We've been to Educational Psychologists who identified that there was an anxiety problem (amongst others - not unlike your list reads, mumofthree). We rattled lots of cages at school, GP and are currently getting help with the Kari Centre in Auckland (Mental Health for under 18 year olds).
They have provide our family with wonderful and effective tools for helping our son deal with anxieties and equip him with the tools to keep his anxiety under control (CBT, socialisation classes amongst others).
Get help early on. If you wait until their 15 or whatever the problems will just snowball at worst. Ask your GP for referrals. Ask your school RTLB or principal. Keep pushing it.
It's been really, really easy for him to pick up the skills and he is so much more at peace with himself. There is hope! Get him help!!