The pediatrician's observation about children displaying some separation anxiety after an illness and staying home is accurate. Relative to that aspect of your son's functioning, keep offering a patient and supportive environment, but don't sway from having him attend school. Relative to the sniffing of his hands and the hand washing, in light of his baseline anxiety, it would make sense to consult with a psychologist. He may be displaying signs of an obsessive-compulsive disorder, and this is more likely due to the fact that he already displays anxiety of a different variety (i.e., separation anxiety).
When i read your post i nearly fainted! I have a 10 year old going through exactly the same situation, but a bit more extreme. She is normally an excellent student, loves school, gets above average grades and is very social. I noticed a change during Christmas break (this is eerily the same time as yours), she suddenly wanted to sleep in my room, became apprehensive about going back to school. When school began, first week went fine, second week, she claimed stomach aches, then fearful tears, and finally full blown tantrum like episodes. The school counselor, principal, teachers all were unable to calm her. The last attempt in getting her in to school involved a truancy officer who physically tried to make her go to class, this failed as well. I have taken her to the family doctor, he performed a thyroid check, which came back normal, she has had two visits with a phsycologist, and is now going to see a phsyciatrist. I took her back to family doctor and requested neurological testing, i want to make sure that there is no physical causes behind this sudden personality change before she is given any meds. The compulsive habits also struck home. She tends to arrange and rearrange her food on the plate before eating, and has tantrums if she goes without goodnight kiss. I would love to keep in touch with anyone going through, or who has been through similar situations, I am not completely against meds if absolutely necessary, but am beginning to wonder if there is some sort of chemical or physical reasons for this situation, which may require meds different than those that treat behavorial problems.
My 5 year old has been having crying issues also, however, they have gone beyond being at school, he now has them at home. He began school this year and was excited about going. He was doing a little crying periodically prior to the holiday break, however, shortly after Christmas break it seemed to increase. His teacher began to send home a daily report and indicate the number of times that he would cry and almost cry. This became an intimidation in itself, so we knixed it. I have tried to encourage him to take a break, count backwards from 10 to 1 and to breath. He says its for no reason. He can't figure out why he is crying. Like I said he even takes breaks at home now. I feel like I am failing, I can't figure this one out.
My son is still crying a little at home but when he gets to school he has been doing a little better lately he now ignores me before I leave. His teachers also give me updates on how many outbursts he has. We try to incourage him to but it seems to help sometimes and sometimes it don't. My pediatrician recommended he see a child psychologist because this has been going on for almost 2 months. He is going tuesday and I am a little nervous about it but also curious to hear what they will say. But I know what you mean about feeling like your failing and also I feel terrible leaving him at school when he is crying. Does your child stop crying after you leave? and also I wanted to ask if before school does your child have any anxiety such as pacing or stomach aches or diarreha? My son also has low self esteem which I also have no reason why because we encourage him about everything. Don't give up hopefully it will get better for you. I do understand what you are going through.
Thank you for your response. No he does not experience any signs of anxiety. He takes the bus to school and is in great spirits when he leaves. We have tried to get into his thoughts to see exactly what it is that is setting him off with no luck. He says that the tears "Just Pop Up". Last night he told us that he missed us, so today he is taking a picture of us to school with him. I am considering taking him to a psycologist to see if they can help. My son is a very caring, loving and intelligent young man, if anyone had told me to watch for crying issues,I would have never imagined it would be the case.
Hi, Although its been many many years since my oldest son went through a similar experience I still remember how hard it was taking him to school and watching him stand at the window & cry. I tried talking to his teacher & she was really nasty about the whole thing, so I marched right to the office and insisted that he be put in another class. He was moved that day and we never had another problem. I think the problem was the teacher. My youngest son had a teacher in 1st grade that I thought was a sweetheart but my son told me the following year that she ws only that way when the parents were there and as soon as they left she got nasty to the boys but treated the girls fine. Its normal for a child to have seperation issues when leaving parents for the first time (even for months) but if it continues look at everything. My sons are now 22 & 15 and I survived the childhoods although I'm cringing at the new driver in the house.
Best of luck to you all... :)
If you daughter is first showing sudden changes at age 10, make sure to ask her in a safe way if anything has been done to her that she didn't like. What I'm getting at is inappropriate advances by anyone. (And most violators "groom" their victims first with subtle actions, so it can feel distressing before it reaches an obvious violation.) I may be way off base here, but it's something you wouldn't want to miss a chance to manage for. Your own instincts will tell you a lot, and if you were a survivor it's even more likely to happen to your child (unfortunately and frustratingly).
Also, I'd assume that psych's and other's in the field would have asked, but I've been studded at how often the question is skipped over or not asked well, so it's good to cover the bases yourself. I also wouldn't ask the obvious "is this why you don't want to go to school" but ask it in a less stressful and more independent setting, and if the answer if No but the demeanor changes....
For the younger kids there behaviour sounds a bit in the normal development stages, so it didn't raise the question for me as much. My niece torn paper with high anxiety from ages 2-3, bit her lip until it was swollen, barely talked to other kids and bites her nails. Now at age 5 she's more confident in herself and stopped with the first two and just bites her nails and has best friends. She got lots of encouragement, and by contrast her little sister was born pleased with herself and sure she was welcome by everyone. My sister going to a therapist herself and learning to calm down also helped her daughter a good deal. I don't know how anxiety at 2-3 as just a stage compares developmentally with anxiety at 5-6, but I thought I'd mention it.
Lots of success!
A related discussion, my 5 year old school anxity