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Is my child suffering anxiety?
When my son was 12 months old his father and I separated. it was a pretty tough time for both parties and the emotional abuse from the father to myself probably went on for about 18 months afterwards. I can not comment on what impact this had on our son from his fathers side, but I have always been very careful to what I say around him in regards to his dad, and that his dad is a positive figure in my mind. Even if I don't always think so.
I have known for my sons 9 years that he has not yet gained as much resilience as most children his age. He is very bright, funny and extremely sensitive. Even as a tot/kindy kid his ability to adapt to change (for example after leaving kindy for the day wanting to play longer, or after a play date) he became filled with pure rage and upset. It became very hard to do most things. Chats with his Dad was me getting concerned and Dad saying "'oh he will grow out of it".. to which he has somewhat but now its slightly changed how it presents.
His father and I have always had shared care so that is our sons normal. Whilst he has resisted hand over and expressed not wanting to go, lately this has escalated. I had to drop him just for 45 mins to his fathers house (dad not there but his step mum and younger siblings from their marriage were) before school as I started work early and he was hysterical, crying and very visibly uncomfortable. he was twitching his hands and it was really hard to watch. I was trying to stay strong and calm for him myself but this was hard to see. I have tried so many times to get him to open up, let him know I'm a safe place and we can talk about anything.. he only says they are all just mean to him but that is all. I honestly believe his Dad is a good enough Dad and I know that when our son is with him and I see it like at sports games, he seems very happy with his Dad.
Is this all stemming back from change as a younger boy or is this potentially something deeper? I have been to parent workshops, sent my son to resilience workshops and Im open to trying anything. My partner has told me I need to stop moddycoddling him and be firmer but I strongly disagree and think that will only make my son shut down with me. I do not think by giving my son love and cuddles when he is upset is EVER a bad thing. My son adores him and wants to hang out with him often as well. my son says he wants to live with me full time but we have a parenting plan in place with his dad for 50/50. its just so hard 😞
Welcome here and if I was in your position I'd be concerned about my son too. You were separate when he was 1, but he was 2 1/2 before you ex stopped behaving towards you in an unacceptable manner. Even so you have always presented your ex in a positive light.
Your ex now has another partner and kids from her side of the new family.
Your impression is that when he is actually with his dad he is OK, but would like to live with you full-time, something not possible.
Have I got things right so far? My apologies if I misunderstand.
You have increasingly noticed sensitivity in your son since during kindy, and this has reached the stage you cannot drop him off at his dad's in his dad's absence. This has realy upset him, but except simply saying "they" were mean to him has not said more.
From what you have said I'd think that an attitude of "he'll grow out of it" is unhelpful and affection does not go astray, in fact reassurance open love may be at least part of what he needs.
Do you think you are able to take you son to a child psychologist in an attempt to find out exactly what has been happening to him or what he really perceives as being wrong? While your ex might not agree it would be a little hard for hm to object to your seeking appropriate medical treatment.
Parenting workshops are OK, however all you know is something is wrong and your son is in distress.
I'd like it if you came back and told me what you thought about the above
Good on you posting about your sons' well being
I understand your concern as I went through the same with my daughter when she was young. You mentioned in your post that when you drop off your son his dad wasnt there himself....This isnt helpful as your son needs his dad to be there like your son wanting you to be there when he comes back to you
Any parental separation is always difficult on our children JuggleMum as we know..yet...it is very important to have the father or in my case 'the mother' physically present when we are doing the 'drop off' to prevent any possible stress to our child...
May I ask if you have considered requesting the father to be available on drop off? This would be productive and very helpful for your son.....at this time as per what you have posted about your sons' feelings
as Croix has mentioned above...you are always welcome to post back as we are here for you JuggleMum!
my kind thoughts
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. Sorry I am so slow in my response to you.
Covid hit and well, life got a little crazier and I had forgotten that I needed to check my post as it didn’t alert on replies (newby here)
I have thought often about seeking professional help for my son. I’m hoping restrictions lift (when safe to do so) so that can be achieved as I hear that most of these sessions are over the phone which I don’t think is going to work for my son.
I can at least happily report that I have not seen that hysterical behaviour at hand over since back in March when I first posted. I think the slower pace to life really helped him to a degree but he still would benefit from some help because he STILL asks my why I left his Dad and why can’t we still be a family. It’s been 8 years so I really struggle with the right words on this one!!!
he also still cannot handle the change of plans very well, I bring you back to my comment on resilience... I do think it’s time to call in some outside help, as you say
Thank you so much again!
Thank you for taking the time to reply.
for the most part drop off is at school so no hand over to the dad, only on school and public holidays. I understand he works so sometimes the step mum is looking after our son whilst he is as work, so whilst this idea is a good one it is not always practical.
after chatting with my son further it appears he seems to “feel” he is treated different to “their children” ... as in the kid’s they have together. And my son being very sensitive picks up on this and I think has an effect on his wellbeing. I don’t believe she is being mean to him just that perhaps she may be overwhelmed with too many energetic boys in the house and this may be effecting her patience... just at a guess I don’t know for sure.
I have also replied to Croix above, I think once restrictions lift some professional help can only be a positive.
Thanks for coming back and filling us in. I guess the slower pace of life might be what your son needs, at leas in part.
A lot of medical professionals use Skype or Zoom so they can be clearly seen, not just an vice on the phone.
If you were to think the matter urgent enough you might consider this. I beleive there is a bulk-bill subsidy at the moment, but you might have to check that out.
I suppose the main thing is your son is happier at the moment