| re : advice needed           |
21/10/2012 11:33 - Ask Mother Hen
I´m so sorry to hear that your son is going through such a hard time. It sounds like his whole sense of trust in the world has been shattered, and now he´s afraid of all kinds of situations. Its going to take some time to rebuild this sense of trust - he needs to be able to trust that things will mostly be ok, and also that if they´re not, he´ll be able to cope and that he´ll get help to cope too. You´re doing everything you can to help; praise, encouragement, reward charts etc. With the anxiety that he is experiencing though, the normal stuff just isn´t enough. I have a few suggestions. Firstly, teaching him relaxation skills to help him cope with the anxious feelings. This is a valuable life skill.
Get him to take slow deep breaths in through his nose and out through his mouth. Starting at the feet, direct him to tense the muscles in his feet, then relax them, and notice the different sensations. Move up to the calf muscles, do the same. Then the thighs, bottom, imagine going up the muscles of the back, the shoulders, down the arms, clench the fists, bring awareness to the facial muscles and jaw - each time getting him to tense/crunch up the particular muscle group and then consciously relax. Then move down the front of the body from face to chest and finally tummy. Doing this slowly can teach him to become aware of the tension in his body and give him the skill of relaxing. Practice every night and at tense times during the day until he can relax more easily and deeply just by thinking of it.
Secondly, get him to imagine (visualise) being inside a bubble. This is his protective sphere - he can make it any colour he wants, as big as he wants etc. Tell him its invisible to others but it blocks out any badness - so even if others say anything to hurt him, those bad feelings and words just bounce off the outside of his bubble and cant hurt him inside. Be creative and use his imagination to make that bubble perfect for him; something that only takes a moment to visualize, get him to bring up that feeling of being safe and comfy inside too, help him to imagine feeling strong and confident inside that magic bubble so that he practices bringing up those resources inside himself. Get him to do this little exercise before going out to school or social situations - remind him that he is protected, he has his magic bubble around him, he can stand tall. This is actually a powerful exercise when practiced and can really help a child´s sense of inner power and safety from would-be bullies.
I would also suggest that you encourage him to learn some martial art/form of self-defense - look into whats available locally and ask what they do exactly. Some classes teach children how to stand up for themselves, how to act assertively, what to say etc. so its not about fighting, its about building his confidence in his own ability to cope.
You might also be able to find a story book or two that he can relate to, ask in your local bookshop for a recommendation. It helps if he doesn´t feel like the only one in the world this has happened to, and if he can see that there is a way through it.
Apart from that, coach him with role-plays about what to say or do in any situations that concern him. You will probably have to treat him like a younger child for a while, he is feeling insecure and may need you to accompany him to play-dates, birthday parties etc. until he gets to experience them as safe and enjoyable again. It takes a while to re-experience things as normal. If you are still concerned in another month or so, seek professional help, but in the meantime I would really encourage you to practice the above daily. Best Wishes
| advice needed           |
17/10/2012 12:16 - Ask Mother Hen (Locality: Kildare)
hi,my 6 year old son is in senior infants.Last year when he started school he had no problems settling in and skipped in every morning much to our delight.During the summer he was looking forward to returning to school esp as he would be bigger in senior infants and he was excited to see all his friends again too.after two weeks of being back,one morning out of the blue as we got to the gate he gor very distressed and didnt want to go to school.this continued for another full week every morning and after numerous questioning as to what was the problem he eventually told us that some bigger boy pushed him in the toilets during breaktime.Now his story has changed along the way to one or two friends being with him to then being on his own.Its not that i didnt believe him but i did question his story as it had changed.Obv i knew something was going on so i approached the school and his teacher i didnt think was very helpfull but the principal more thanhelpful.She has looked into the incident for me and has talked to the bigger classes etc and has changed where the smaller children use different facilities to the bigger ones during break time.We sat my son down and had a great talk on numerous occasions as to how safe school was now and that an incident like that would not happen again.
However over the last two weeks his anxiety has gotten worse and now has affected him going to his rugby training,birthday parties and even playing with our neighbours kids.He wants to be at home and around us at all times.when we ask him is everything ok he says he doesnt know.when i ask has anything else happened he says no..we are constantly reasurring him and praing him and even have a reward chart for the week and a treat for friday if he ids brave and goes to school.This has always worked with him and i suppose we are at a loss as to what to do.My stomach is sick every morning waiting on his reaction and we try to be as upbeat as we can...What can we do.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated..
Thanks in advance.