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Interested in your thoughts re: 11yr old girl emotional and clingy


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#1 L's Angel

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 06:45 PM

I'm hoping some of you mums to girls this age (or aunties, sisters, anyone with experience) can offer some insight into the recent behaviour of an 11yr old girl in my family (sorry to be vague but I feel odd talking about family without their knowledge)

Some background, she is a sensitive kid - And both her and her sister seem to 'think themselves ill' if you know what I mean. Her parents seperated 18 months ago and it was fairly civil (her father was already adjusted to the idea, her mother was very upset for a long time but all are OK now and have really tried to ensure the kids are OK all along). She and her sister spend most of their time with their Mum but have overnight stays with their Dad once or twice a week usually.

Recently whenever she has had her weekend stay at her Dad's she has gotten very upset and insisted she's sick and wants to go home. And this weekend the whole family got together for lunch, she was there with neither parent and by the time we arrived 15 minutes late she was sobbing her little heart out saying she felt sick and she missed her mum and really wanted to go home. sad.gif

I sat with her and gave her plenty of cuddles and tried to console her, she settled after a little while but dissolved into tears a number more times until she got to speak to her mum on the phone and her Mum came out to meet us after a while. She was OK then, stuck around for a while and then we dropped her home after her mum had left. She did say she was really tired as she'd not slept much the night before so that no doubt contributed.

The point I'm trying to get to is to ask do you think this is 'normal' for a girl her age or is it something we should worry about? I was really sensitive and emotional at her age (still am) and I seem to remember that everything upset me more than it should. But then I was off at boarding school sharing with a real bully so I wonder if that was my problem. I wonder it's just her way of dealing (or not dealing) with all those changes that happen at her age, perhaps hormones kicking in even though she's not got her period yet. But others in the family who work with children seem to think 'it's a worry'.

So, would you be concerned if an 11 year old (only recently turned 11) was getting so upset nearly every time she was away from her Mum? She's otherwise a fairly happy, engaged child, just has these episodes where she gets so upset and won't be consoled without seeing her Mum.

Any insights? I just worry about her, she's a gorgeous girl and it breaks my heart to see her so upset. sad.gif
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#2 Mel B

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 09:22 PM

This is really interesting, I was thinking about posting something similar about a little girl in MY family. She is 10.5. Very intelligent but very sensitive, always wants to do the right thing. Her parents have been separated since she was 3, so she has been visiting her dad for a long time now (with a younger sister too). She has had episodes of homesickness but at the moment she is just in tears from the minute they pick her up. The nights are the worst for her.

She isn't a manipulative kid at all, she's an absolute sweetheart. In her case I think perhaps it is partly hormonal. I would have hated to be away from home so much at her age.

Sorry I can't offer a solution but thought I'd let you know that it isn't an isolated case smile.gif
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#3 ~Kristy~

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 10:19 PM

I was similar about the same age..i wouldn't go on school camps, wouldn't sleep at friends houses, wouldn't stay at friends houses for long after school or anywhere at all overnight i just wanted to be with my parents at home and got really upset easily (wasnt having any family/school/friend problems at all).
I think it was pretty much a hormonal phase for a few months but it eventually stopped & AF came not long after. The Dr also stopped the asthma medication that i started taking around the time i became more emotional incase it was a side effect.

Sorry i have no advice just reading your post reminded me of myself at a similar age so thought i would share my story. Hope it gets better for her soon.
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#4 *Lib**

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 08:28 AM

I know when my parents seperated I felt guilty for one or the other depending on who I was with. What a stressful time for her. Hopefully its just an adjustment issue for her. Poor little thing sad.gif
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#5 Framboise

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 08:38 AM

I developed an anxiety disorder when I was 11. I had had glandular fever and been so sick I spent about 3 or 4 months off school and became totally reliant on my Mum. I lost all confidence *just* when it was important to be part of the crowd of girls at school.

I was exceptionally clingy and emotional towards my mother and still vividly remember the absolute terror of the thought of her leaving the house to go somewhere without me. I was convinced she would die if she left my sight. I remember she used to do a Keep Fit class on Tuesday evenings for an hour and I would start fretting about her leaving on about Sunday morning....by Tuesday evening I was in a complete panic and convinced she would die if she left the house. I so clearly remember being filled with just complete terror and angst about her dying. I remember climbing out the window when my Nan was looking after me and running through the suburb in my PJs looking for Mum's car - I was convinced she had crashed it and died. Mum eventually found me running along in my slippers crying. All I remember is the relief she wasn't dead - not how upset everyone was at my behaviour. I just couldn't help myself.

It took me perhaps 3 or 4 years for those feelings to completely pass. It wasn't till I was about 15 and the family went away for the weekend without me that I remember thinking 'hey, I didn't fret about Mum dying'.

I was never treated for it and had another couple of episodes of anxiety later in life but recovered from them.

Looking back on it, I really did need some sort of treatment. However, the family was so focussed on my physical illness that my emotional wellbeing was overlooked. I think Mum just took it as part of everything and perhaps didn't realise the extent to which I was feeling. I still feel desperately upset for that little girl and wish I had received some help as it really was crippling.

I wasn't being manipulative or trying to get my own way - it was a pathological irrational fear. I'm sure switched on by being so sick at that particular time in life.

I would take it very seriously.

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#6 L's Angel

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 05:35 PM

Thank you for responses ladies, I just don't have experience with girls of this age (exept myself of course) so wasn't sure if it's something to be concerned about.

I really don't think she's doing it to be manipulative, I know I said she and her sister think themselves sick but I don't think it's to manipulate anyone I think it's because they've always been a little wrapped in cotton wool by their mum. Don't get me wrong, she's a great mum, I just think perhaps there's times when they've been a little bit off but she's made a big fuss and they've been convinced they're much sicker than they are. So when they feel a bit sick, they see it as something really bad. Does that make sense?

QUOTE(Liberarchi @ Sep 29 2009, 10:28 AM) View Post

I know when my parents seperated I felt guilty for one or the other depending on who I was with. What a stressful time for her. Hopefully its just an adjustment issue for her. Poor little thing sad.gif

I do think this may be a big contributor. She's a sensitive, caring girl and I wonder if seeing her mum so upset for months when the seperation happened has made her worry and 'need' to be with her more, a delayed reaction but still a reaction.

I don't think she's trying to manipulate anything, I do think she genuinely can't cope with something and it's presenting as clingyness. I have had her over here a few times while her Mum went to the gym as her Dad was away and she was fine both times. But when she goes to her dad for the weekend she doesn't cope. I thought perhaps it was the unsettling of the routine but then when being at lunch with the rest of the family, just for a few hours she was still the same. It's not all the time, just sometimes.

I don't want to dismiss it if it's a genuine problem, but I don't think making a huge deal of it if it's only a 'rough patch' will help either. I guess if it happens again when I'm around I can try and talk to her about it. I just hate seeing such a beautiful, bright girl so sad. sleep.gif
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#7 Pootle

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 06:20 AM

Hi,
I also have a daughter (almost 11) who has become very anxious whenever separated from me. It's been very worrying and upsetting for me seeing her like this and I have wondered whether it is partly hormonal. It started when she went to school camp for 4 nights in September - prior to that had no issues. She was very very upset immediately she got on the bus and I so wish she hadn't gone. We've talked about the camp and she insists there was nothing specific that happened there - just that she missed me.

Since then she won't go to friends houses alone and just wants to be either with me or at home. She only goes to school because she has to but becomes tearful and stays with me until the last possible moment. Her friend is going to the movies today for her birthday party and my daughter wants me to be there also or she doesn't want to go.

I don't know if I need to seek help or if with a bit of support this phase will pass? I won't be sending her to camp this year but I worry whether in High School it's compulsory to go on camp? I also had to accompany her class on school trips lately as she was so anxious about going.

Thanks for any thoughts!

#8 L's Angel

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 11:17 AM

Hi Pootle,

I don't know if it's any help to you but my niece has been seeing a child psychologist for the anxiety she was experiencing. I think it's helped, she hasn't seemed to be so upset at being away from her mum for a while now, although there are still anxieties about her carsickness and other bits and pieces.

I dont' know whether it's the pscyh visits, the behaviour from her parents, or just time that's instigated the improvement, but she does seem to be better at the moment although it's still an ongoing thing.

She's been through a lot with her parents seperating and a lot else going on in the family overall (some of which she didn't know about but must have picked up on the emotional tension of others) and with her personality and sensitivity it's no wonder she struggled, but thankfully she seems to be doing OK at the moment.

I hope your daughter is OK - I just think 10-12 can be a really difficult age for girls, I know it was for me...
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#9 Pootle

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 07:00 AM

Thank you for your thoughts. She has decided not to go to Grade 6 camp this year but her preferred high school for next year do a 4 night camp quite early in the year (about March). We will find out as much as we can from the school, and I'm sure that in a years time she'll be able to cope better. If towards the end of the year she's still feeling overly anxious about the camp then I may seek the help of a psychologist. Overall she appears to be less anxious in general so fingers crossed this will continue!




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