seven-year-old with anxiety

Conversations With My Seven-Year-Old Grandaughter With Post-Traumatic Anxiety


Her: Mammaw, when I am president everything is going to be free, so nobody needs money. And there won’t be any jails.
Me: That’s fantastic sweetheart. People will definitely vote for you, but I am not sure about getting rid of jails. What about the really dangerous people?
Her: If you don’t need money people won’t have to steal, and we won’t need jails.
Me: True but what about murderers? Mean people kill for reasons other than money.
Her: Well then I’ll just get rid of all guns.
Me: You just lost the election!
Her: Ok Mammaw, they can keep their guns, and we will have a few jails for people that kill people, and you won’t need any money to get stuff.
Me: You got my vote babe! Plus you will be the cutest president EVER!

How do we get jobs?
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Her: Mammaw, how old do we have to be to get jobs?
Me: 16 in most places babe. Why?
Her: How do we know how to get one when we are old enough?
Me: Someone will help you when you are older. I will show you. You can ask the teachers, and they will help you. There are job sites, and friends who refer you, stuff like that.

The above conversation may seem straightforward. However, how many seven-year-old children do you know not just curious but already worried about their future? It took a while to occur to me. It started happening around five, shortly after our traumatic loss.

She started asking every question over and over, and she would rephrase and ask you to repeat. At first, I thought she was acting silly.

How will I find my classroom

Her: Mammaw how do I know where my class is on the first day?
Me: We will find your classroom before school starts, and you will have a nametag on, adults can help you also.
Her: What if I don’t find it? How will I know where to find it? Who’s my teacher?
Me: You will find your class the same way you did the last couple of years babe. Plus your older brother and sisters will be there with you.
Her: Same question cycling over again.

I would absently end the conversation with something generic like you just will out of frustration until I realized she was anxious about it. All of a sudden this five year realized that life had an ugly side. A piece of her beautiful, sweet, innocence, gone and anxiousness took its place. She no longer felt secure so of course, a new classroom was a BIG deal to her. Now, I do my best to give her every answer I can until she feels secure with it and it takes a lot of patience. Subsequently, if I fail, she is going to throw a fit that puts most fits to shame. She can go from angel to demon in a split second, and none of us wants that.

Here are some great articles on understanding and helping with adolescent trauma, stress, anxiety, and depression.

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