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ADHD Parents Together
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Helping 10 yo manage anxiety

Hi all,

My 10 yo daughter has a dual diagnosis of ADHD and anxiety. The two together make it really hard for her to articulate or cope with her feelings. We are very slowly increasing her anti anxiety medication and she sees a therapist. This is making a big difference. But she’s still pretty far away from being able to cope with her emotions. Any suggestion of what we can do to help her?

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My daughter will be twelve in February and her anxiety was through the roof. UGH, it's so hard to watch! She still has a ton of anxiety and it's still hard to watch her in the car as we are driving to school. She calls one of the roads to school "the dreaded road". Kills me. There were a couple of things that helped us. We go to therapy together. It's SO hard because we have both had to change. I have a SUPER sarcastic way of speaking. I have had to really change how I talk to her because I didn't really understand that sometimes I hurt her feelings. We've had multiple breakthroughs in counseling together which means a lot of crying and hugging. Her individual therapy helped, but I honestly think just me and her in there, breaking it down has been most effective. I also took away the internet. I found that it just wasn't helpful her watching or participating on the internet.

Finally, Just love her. I'm ashamed to admit that I wasn't really just hanging out with her. I mean, I was, but not on a really deep level. Once there was no internet and we were in counseling it was just us. (I'm a single Mom). I just tell her that I got her. I'm never going to stop and that we got this, together and that yes, there are going to be hard days, but that it will get better. I hug on her a lot more now. In the car before she gets out I squeeze her hand three times and she squeezes my hand three times back. It's like our signal.

It sounds odd, but in some ways her diagnoses were a blessing. We actually talk now - ALL THE TIME ;). I know everything (down to who brought what for lunch) that is going on at school. She does not handle social cues well, so we work on that and our counselor and I just tell her all the time that she just hasn't found her people yet but she will.

HUGS a lot of times after I drop her off I cry a little on my way to work. It's ok, it's because we love them so dang much. Don't forget how hard this is on you too!

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Wow, such wise words. (Not wise crack). Really hit me.

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Your a great mom! Tears are OK. I do that too.

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Both of my grandsons have severe anxiety at the mother does too so that's where they got it from. You are doing the right things just hang in there it's not an instant fix. Besides their ADHD medication one is on wellbutrin and the other on resperidone. They also see a counselor individually with me. There has been slow but steady improvement.

You sound like a great mom keep doing what you're doing.

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Just stay with medication and therapy and be patient. I answered another post yesterday. My twins have ADHD but my son also has anxiety. He is now 13. It is a process and takes time to learn coping skills as well as mature, unfortunately. My son's therapist has worked on "I" statements to help him articulate his thoughts..."I feel overwhelmed by the homework". "I am stressed getting too much instruction at one time," etc. I know your daughter is younger and it will take awhile. Does she have an IEP? Does she get in-school counseling. This has all benefited my son very much. The IEP is key because it is a legal document and "opens a lot of doors!" You can also help how you react. Easier said than done. There was alot of conflict in our house for awhile. As mentioned, my daughter has ADHD (her worsened later than my son's) plus a little ODD, jealousy and then throw in the hormones. It wasn't and isn't much fun when things get tense... Hand in there!

Wishing you well!

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Hi MaudQ, I also have a 10 yr. old boy who is dealing with anxiety, depression, and ADHD. He is seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist who manages his medication. He was on Zoloft 5mg since last March and and it was working up until last October. His psychiatrist took him off Zoloft and put him on Lexapro 5mg. to manage his anxiety (neck and knuckles cracking, nail biting, hair pulling, hyperventilating on his way to school and refusing to go to class because he was worried about what others think...) He has been on Lexapro for the last 3 weeks and it has worked very well. The anxiety has reduced to the minimum. He actually went to school for the last couple of weeks consistently. There are still moments he feels anxious but he gets over it quickly.

I hope things work out for your child and your family. Hang in there. We are all in this together.

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You are seeking help and that is amazing good. One thing I found helped my kids in the classroom, that therapy may or may not have suggested, counting.

Some students would go from 0-10 on the emotion scale in seconds and we learned, that if I slow counted with them it helped.

Ex: Child would lose control. Oh x it looks like we need to calm down, let's count and see how fast we can do it. I would count, 1, 2. Uh oh, still upset, let's wait and try again, 1,2,3, Oh that is much better, child calmed, but started again, we would continue this process until completely calm. Sometimes we got to 10 quickly, sometimes I had to restart many times. Sometimes we would walk around the room while we counted.

It is hard when you need immediate results, or when their emotions trigger our own, but when you have the time it helps them learn a practice, before long the students would do it themselves.

I found great results. She is older than my class, so perhaps just calm counting or calm singing. It takes the panic from the frontal lobe of the brain that the emotions are in, to the reasoning.

Also, tapping helps some children calm. Look up tapping techniques for anxiety.

Diet has made an amazing impact on my life. Gluten-free, Dairy-free, amazing difference!

I pray that you find all the help and tips and answers you are seeking, but you are doing a great job seeking out resources for your daughter!! It is hard walking this journey and I pray for amazing insight, strength, and peace for you in Jesus name!

Here are some other great resources: bit.ly/2HoHLDA

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