My daughter is 5. She has undiagnosed (except by me) generalized anxiety disorder. And that's ok. But it's challenging.
One aspect of this is that transitions are challenging for her. This has always been true. The way this manifests itself these days is for her to put up tremendous opposition to moving on to the next "event." An example of this: This morning I suggested to her that we take her little brother to the library for the parent/child program. Keep in mind she has been to this program many times, and always enjoys it. And once she's there, she doesn't want to leave. And so! But regardless of this fact, she stated that she didn't want to go. As a general rule, if either of my kids really doesn't want to go out, I don't push it. We all have days where we just don't feel like facing things. But usually, they are pretty enthusiastic about heading out to have a good time. So armed with all of this knowledge, I pushed. I told her that I felt that it was good for her brother, who really enjoys being there. I reminded her that she always enjoys it, too. Etcetcetc. She stated over an over again, for an hour that she didn't want to go. So I gave her the option of staying home. With someone else. Another part of her anxiety is that she is very reluctant to stay with anyone other than me, and that includes her father a lot of the time. (SIGHS!) So of course she said no to that idea. She stated that someone else should take her brother, while I stayed home with her. Now I am real with my daughter - may more so than I should be. I informed her that I did not plan to be stuck at home all of the time because she doesn't want to go out and doesn't want to stay with someone else. (I am irritated by this point, even though it's practically a daily discussion) I inform her that she has a choice of either coming with us to the program, or staying home with someone else. And I feel good about giving her options. It makes me feel that I am not forcing her to go somewhere she doesn't want to go, that the final decision IS hers.
In any event, after trying to convince her brother that he didn't want to go (he did) she reluctantly came along. But here's the next phase of her anxiety. She is afraid to go anywhere because she's afraid she'll need to use the bathroom on the way. This is something we are working on, but it is very frustrating for all, and adds to the angst that is every outing we go on. So I do as I always do, inform her that we're leaving, and encourage her to use the bathroom. And as always, she informs me that she'll go "right before we leave." And as always I then inform her that we are heading out the door. So she goes. Then she jumps into a discussion about how she just knows she has to go again, and on and on and on. And go into my part of the discussion, which is to remind her that she just went, and that she has successfully managed car rides before this one, etcetcetc. She is actually on a reward system for this one. But that's another post.
So at long last we are all in the car, and on our way. With bathroom breaks sandwiching the program, we do actually get there, and as predicted, both kids have a good time, and darling daughter doesn't want to leave. But it is a reward of sorts for me, who is then off the hook for having "made" her go in the first place. She genuinely seems surprised, once we're out, that she is having such a good time and is happy.
But it's work. And I get tired of it. And I know it's not her fault. I know she would rather not have these issues. And I feel for her. But I feel, sometimes, too often, that I am held hostage by her anxiety issues. I rarely get out of the house or do anything without the children. When I do, I worry about getting home before too much time has gone by. And I am envious, sometimes, of the other parents who go out with other adults. On a consistent basis. Hubby and I very rarely have time together without the kids. And that's hard on us.
But I remind myself of how lucky I am. How very lucky. And we move forward. And it's all ok.
How to wrap
2 years ago