Monday, October 8, 2012

Stressed out FIVE year old?!?

When my youngest was born I suddenly had my hands very full with a 5 year old, 16 month old and newborn. My oldest immediately welcomed baby #3 into our tribe. But something was off. Then I noticed he was developing a slight facial tick which I heard from many was brought on by stress!

What the what? A stressed out 5 year old? I was so confused. I mean, he seemed happy! He talked about loving his new little brother! Mom was even around more being on maternity leave and all. I thought how could he feel "overwhelmed?"

Truth is, how could he not? Things change profoundly when adding another child to your family!

Here's what we decided to do:
We took him into the doctor right away to rule out anything we hadn't considered. The doctor didn't seem too concerned and said to come back in a few months if it didn't resolve.

Second, we began to increase our one-on-one dates and not ask him about the tick. When folks pointed it out, it either intensified or he'd begin to fake it. The last thing we needed was a fake facial twitch every time we asked him to get to bed or clean up his room, so we never really talked about it.

Then I just stopped theorizing. Sometimes as parents we're so in our heads about the what-ifs! His doctor and his teacher didn't seem too concerned. I decided not to worry too much about what could happen tomorrow and began spending quality time with him today.

I also made sure not to ask too much of him when it came to the helping with the little ones. He was suddenly the big brother of two kids under two and I'm sure I was asking him to be cautious, be helpful, and be quiet more than he was used to or really had to!

From then on, his tick slowly diminished and after we all adjusted to being a family of five, a few months passed, and we were happy to discover his facial tick was gone!

In what ways have you noticed a child express stress? Please share your stories below!

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