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Bill
Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3705
Experience:  35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
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my 9 year old niece lives with my sister ( her mom) and I part

Customer Question

my 9 year old niece lives with my sister ( her mom) and I part tiem and her dad part time.
She stresses out about everything. If things are not exactly perfect- like she has to eat cereal because there is no eggs, or the puppy jumps on her, or she left her shoes at her dads house she cries. I dont think there is every a day that she doesnt cry.
how can we help here learn to deal with things
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Bill replied 1 year ago.

Bill :

Hello- Thank you for asking the question. I have over 30 years of experience working with individuals, couples and families & am happy to reply.

Bill :

I am sorry to hear about this problem.

Bill :

I have worked with children for 35 years and it sounds like your niece is having a stress related reaction which is probably the result of what is happening in the family.

Bill :

I am going to give you some helpful tips and links to websites that you can read and use to help your niece deal with stress and build stronger coping mechanisms:

Bill :

To adults, childhood can seem like a carefree time. But kids still experience stress. Things like school and social life can sometimes create pressures that can feel overwhelming for kids. As a parent, you can't protect your kids from stress — but you can help them develop healthy ways to cope with stress and solve everyday problems.

Bill :

Tips to Reduce Stress:

1. Help children put words to their feelings. Ask them if they feel nervous, scared, or worried. Ask them what is making them feel that way.

2. Acknowledge your child’s feelings and encourage the use of positive statements. Often children do not understand the outcome of an action or change. Instead of realizing their favorite teacher will be back tomorrow..they might think she is gone forever. Create positive statements for the situation.

“I am safe. My substitute teacher is fun. My teacher will be back soon.

3. Introduce stress management techniques to children. Parents and teachers can easily teach and use techniques like breathing, positive statements, and visualizing on a regular basis. Lesson Plans are available.

4. Establish a bedtime routine that helps kids relax. Soothing music or relaxing stories. Indigo Dreams: Kids Relaxation Music promotes sleep and relaxation.

5. Spend reassuring quality time with children. Parents and teachers can laugh and play together. Singing songs like The More We Get Together, This Is The Way We Laugh And Play and If You’re Happy And You Know It can be a liberating and fun stress reliever that you and your children can enjoy together.

Bill :

Review this information and feel free to ask more questions and I will be happy to respond.

Customer :

my sister spends a lot of one on one time with her

Customer :

she will be 10 in Feb and right now is screaming about how angry she is because my sister asked her to put the clean silverware away

Customer :

and screaming ends in crying

Customer :

at school she is really good

Customer :

her teachers always tell us what a good student sh eis and how polite and well mannered she is

Bill :

I understand-

Bill :

This could also indicate depression. Children act out in anger when they are depressed or sad. At this age- they do not have the cognitive ability to say "I'm sad" or "depressed" thus the sadness is expressed in anger followed by the tears

Bill :

Depression is often regarded as anger turned inward.

Bill :

The symptoms of depression in children vary. It is often undiagnosed and untreated because they are passed off as normal emotional and psychological changes that occur during growth. Early medical studies focused on "masked" depression, where a child's depressed mood was evidenced by acting out or angry behavior. While this does occur, particularly in younger children, many children display sadness or low mood similar to adults who are depressed. The primary symptoms of depression revolve around sadness, a feeling of hopelessness, and mood changes.

Signs and symptoms of depression in children include:

  • Irritability or anger.
  • Continuous feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Increased sensitivity to rejection.
  • Changes in appetite -- either increased or decreased.
  • Changes in sleep -- sleeplessness or excessive sleep.
  • Vocal outbursts or crying.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Fatigue and low energy.
  • Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that don't respond to treatment.
  • Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or interests.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
  • Impaired thinking or concentration
Bill :

See more here about childhood depression:

Bill :

If you think that your niece is depressed- it may be wise to discuss this with her Pediatrician who can evaluate this and refer her for counseling is needed.

Bill :

If you have additional feedback or questions- feel free to ask- I am happy to help.

Bill :

Kindest regard's, Bill

Expert:  Bill replied 1 year ago.
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