Back to school anxiety

Welcome back, As continuation from my last blog…

ANXIETY!

As you all know being a mom is tough, being a mom with ADHD raising kids with additional needs is tougher to say the least.

By now you all know my daughter Sarah has extreme anxiety and with changing schools and all, I wanted to elaborate on that some more. As excited as she was about changing schools, her anxiety was getting the best of her. She had already met the staff, took a tour around the school, explored her classroom and played on the climbing structures in the lovely school yard.

Excitement can most definitely be overwhelming, with a new place, new people, new smells, new sounds, new textures, new routines! It can be too much. The wrong approach to a child with extreme anxiety, self harm, suicidal thoughts can change their behaviour drastically and cause other, seemingly, unrelated issues. For my Sarah it’s turned into a fear of highways! Yeah totally unrelated.

Anxiety in children is real! It’s not seeking attention, it’s not to avoid a situation, it’s just pure anxiety at it’s finest. For Sarah it means sleepless nights, poor appetite, migraines, eyes filled of tears and worry to the point of throwing up, thoughts of ending life, unpredictable mood swings, episodes of rage, running away and self harm.

In these cases a parent has to do what a parent has to do. Which is what’s best for the child, not what’s good for anyone else or what’s expected. Ignoring judgement is hard but only a parent who sees past everything can guide a child, through pure love, to overcome it all.

How I helped her beat anxiety in this case, was allowing her to go through the process, which also meant she miss the first day of classes. Help her clean her room after meltdowns, hold her tight and be her rock.

The first day really isn’t what we make it out to be. It’s full of unorganised chaos, confusion, anxiousness, settling into routine after a long summer off, noisy assemblies etc. I’m sure you get the picture and remember your own butterflies in your tummy on your first day of school or work, it’s scary!

The second day I drove her in and picked her up at the end of the day. Even though she had the biggest smile that I haven’t seen in a long time her eyes gave her away. She was excited to tell me about her day and all about her new friend she met that shares her sense of humour. I was happy she had a good first day. We celebrated with homemade chocolate chip cookies and 0.1% milk, had our routine walk after school, happily did her homework (her first ever homework, her old school didn’t do homework) and all seemed well.

Bedtime routine came fast and the anxiety monster crept in. Extra hair brushing, extra hugs, extra melatonin, more extra hugs, extra long story, plenty of reassuring, redirecting and tuck back in’s. Finally some zzz for another successful school day.

The next day was pretty much the same, Friday was the day she was able to take the bus… She seemed ok walking to the bus stop. Bus was a few minutes late causing some anxiousness. Sarah needs clear expectations to control her anxiety, we approach the bus driver, I introduce her to the driver and explained that Sarah requires an assigned seat, the bus driver as expected ignored my request and pointed to a random seat and drove off before she could sit down.

Knowing my Sarah I knew that was going to create a disaster come bus time after school. Her wonderful school staff help with a plan. As I was at the school on stand by (Sarah had no idea that I was there) the very friendly and understanding staff was there to support her and get her on the bus. But she broke down and one staff notified me without Sarah knowing for the next step. I could hear over the staff member’s radio of another staff trying to refuse my involvement and forcing her on the bus.

This is the time a parent needs to step up and do what’s best. Yes it may work for some children but for Sarah the risk she would flee the second the bus would arrive at her stop, setting her up for failure and making it be a hundred times harder to get her on the bus on Monday.

I stepped up and took her home and we will try again on Tuesday. (Anxiety takes time)

Tuesday was successful!!!

Comment below about your back to school experience.

See you next time at my crazy house.

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