Feb 15, 2015

My Daughter is Saying Worrying Things

Category: Children
Posted By: Coralie

Question: We are struggling with our daughter's mental health at the moment.  She is 4 years old and started school in September 2014.   Every morning she complains of a stomach ache and says she doesn't want to go to school.  She ends up crying most mornings.



She has also been saying some worrying things.  She says she hates herself, that no one likes her, no one wants her, she doesn't like the way she looks etc.  I am really worried about her especially as I have had mental health problems since I was quite young.  I have questioned whether she could have learned this way of thinking from my own behaviour but I don't think I have said anything like this.

The health visitors here are useless.  School have said they will keep an eye on her and ask the school nurse to speak to her but I am so worried that this is the start of something more serious.  Is there anything else you can recommend I do?




Dear Coralie,

I am so sorry that you are having difficulties with your daughter at the moment, it must be very distressing for you both.

The situation with school is not at all an uncommon one.  We start our children to school very early in this country and many children struggle with separation, particularly if there were other factors in their lives that mean they are a little more vulnerable than other children.  This is normally something that can be helped by clear boundaries and talking through what it is that is underlying the separation anxiety.

However, the things that your daughter has been saying are quite unusual in a little girl of her age and do seem to indicate that perhaps your daughter is struggling a little more than most 4 year olds who find starting school frightening.  And I think you are right to take these things seriously.  I would suggest that you talk to your GP and see if there are any services in your area that you can access for your daughter.  They would need to make an assessment to see if your daughter could be seen alone or if you and she should be seen separately.

It is possible though that there are not resources available at this stage.  In this case I would suggest that you work on building a strong relationship between you and your daughter and helping her feel as safe as possible at home with you, this will allow her to feel she has a secure base from which to be able to leave and go to school.  It’s a lot of work but I would do as much reading as you can so that you can support your daughter.   I would suggest:

‘Saying No, Why Its Important for You and Your Child’ by Asha Philips.  I know that the title sounds odd but it is a great book for just explaining children at different ages.

‘Understanding 4-5 Year Olds’ by Leslie Maroni

I really hope that helps and that you can find some support.

Best wishes,


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