Parenting, Thing 2

The Worry Of A Child.

Last night I had to do a little bit of freelance stuff before I went to bed. Something I hoped would take 10 minutes but I couldn’t find the problem which meant I wasn’t going to get to go to bed when I wanted. I was tired as it was the end of a long day and I was very overwhelmed with my To Do list and Nikki was whining and pouting about the fact that I wasn’t going to come to bed and lay down with her.

Listen, Nikki. I’m stressed. I can’t figure this one problem out and I’m tired and you making me feel guilty is not really helping.

Then she started sobbing and I got even more frustrated.

That’s not helping either! Now I feel shitty for making you cry! Why can’t you just say, “Good luck, Mom. Hope you can come lay down with me soon.” Why do you have to freak out and be so dramatic?

So she stifled her cries, wished me luck, and I went back to work. I never solved the problem but was so tired I had to go to bed anyway. I went to go give her a goodnight hug and kiss these notes were on the pillow next to her.


Sorry I made you feel bad word. I don’t want to go to sleep knowing I made you feel bad – so when you come in here please wake me up and give me a hug.

Nikki is showing worse anxiety at age 9 than I have at 39 and I currently suffer from worse anxiety than I’ve ever had in my life. Her problems do seem to help me address mine though because – especially lately – I’ve been trying to work with her and that means I have to work with mine.

We talk a lot about how I’d like her to tell me what she needs instead of just melting down. If she’s having a bad day and needs some extra love, let me know. Don’t just freak out over something that is really not the problem. We’ve been talking a lot about what it means to be sensitive. She cries a lot “for no reason”. We talk a lot about how that also has a good side and I believe it’s what makes her kind and loving and the kind of kid who hides notes for me on Mother’s Day.

Where I used to worry about Wesley becoming a sociopathic serial killer, I now worry about my daughter being so unable to cope with anxiety or emotions that she’ll be medicated her whole life. I’m certain medication is in her future because if her stress/anxiety gets worse with puberty, she’ll need something to help her cope. But I want her to learn skills before then to help manage the somewhat normal levels of anxiety and extreme emotions.

Sometimes she can get lost in drawing or writing, she’s a very creative spirit. I’ve been trying to encourage that activity if she gets overwhelmed. I think I need to be better about pushing that because I think last night would have been a perfect time for her to use those habits to work out her worry.

And I need to quit being a dick to her.

I need to remind myself, even when I’m frustrated and stressed, that she is just now learning how to navigate this world as someone with sometimes toxic levels of empathy and emotional sensitivity that she can’t seem to manage. I need to take a pause before I respond to her like I did last night, and while I might have valid points, those points are – well…pointless…if she can’t process them because she’s sobbing uncontrollably.

She makes me want to be a better person so I can teach her how to deal with all of those overwhelming emotions. Whenever I’m having a particularly rough time lately, I find myself thinking, What would you tell Nikki?

I did wake her up and give her a million hugs last night. I hope it helped. I’ll try to be ready with boundless love for her again this morning.

My poor, sensitive, anxious soul. That’s what it is – once soul in two bodies. I’m hoping as we each make efforts to heal ourselves, we’ll help the other person as well.

Parenting is tough, yo.

4 thoughts on “The Worry Of A Child.”

  1. My youngest is this same way, he feels everything, too much, and is stressed over everything.
    We went to a fireworks store with a friend the other day, so the friend could buy some sparklers, and my son was having an anxiety attack about what if someone did have a match or a lighter and they set one of these off, we would all die in a fiery blaze. So, he gets anxious about everything.

    I’m teaching him to meditate and to use his words, like you are with Nikki. If he’s stressed, he starts to tic, and I can catch it as soon as it starts and start addressing the underlying issue, instead of letting it consume him.

    Being aware of what is happening, is the key, for Nikki, as it is for my son. He doesn’t always understand that he’s anxious/upset/stressed, and he sometimes needs me to point it out and talk it through.

    You’re doing a wonderful job. I grew up with debilitating anxiety and depression, and a set of parents that believed mental illness was imaginary, so you can just imagine how my childhood went. You’re allowing Nikki the chance to grow up normally, with coping mechanisms and awareness, which is more than many kids get.

  2. I am right there with you too! I have always been VERY anxious and overly sensitive, and unfortunately, so is my little guy…I have to remember that staying calm (and telling him I’m sorry when I get frustrated with him for his anxious behavior!) can go a LONG way!

    I think when I was a kid, if my parent had at least understood/talked to me about it/apologized after snapping at me, it would have helped me have WAY less anxiety/maybe healthier relationships as an adult. So you are doing it right!!

  3. As someone who has dealt with anxiety and depression from a very young age (I was about 4 when I was first diagnosed with depression), I just want to say your daughter is so entirely lucky to have a parent who understands what she is experiencing!

    When I look back on my own childhood I realize that had I not had my mother, who dealt with anxiety herself for most of her life, I most definitely would not have made it through high school. Because she knew what I was going through, she was able to guide me through my own anxiety, even if she was still learning as she went, and I always knew that I could go to her when I needed help. What was the most important, however, was that I never once felt like I was alone and, without even realizing it, she taught me to always keep fighting and searching happiness.

    Definitely encourage your daughter to work through her anxiety with drawing and writing! Writing got me through some of my darkest moments and I will forever thank all the people in my life who taught me and encouraged that skill (especially now that I’m applying to graduate schools to study creative writing). I know your daughter will too! When you have the time, look into writing therapy. It’s still in its infancy but it is such a great tool to have in your arsenal when dealing with mental health and it’s definitely something I wish was around when I was younger.

  4. My son is a very sensitive soul. He gets very worried about people being angry or disappointed at him. I’m just now recognizing how it impacts him and trying to do a better job of not snapping at him if I’m frustrated. I’m also trying to find a balance with expressing emotions and traching self-control. I’m a pretty emotional person too and I’ve had to teach myself to be collected in stressful situations and I want him to develop some of the same coping skills.

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