Child Caring

Choking reaction in a 9 year old warrants an evaluation

My 9 year old has this fear that every time she eats, something is stuck in her throat. It happens on and off. She'll go thru a period of eating really well and then times like now where she'll eat very little which will be only liquids. She cries when you ask her to eat solid food. I'm not sure if she's depressed about me going back to work and is rebelling. I'm about to lose my mind as I myself suffer from depression and anxiety. Please advice me on what I should do.

From: Dina, Hamilton (no state given)

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Dear Dina,

Since you say this has happened "on and off" before, and that you suffer from anxiety and depression, it's possible that your daughter's behavior is linked to yours, not necessarily because you are going back to work per se, but to your general state of mind. Our children are sensitive to our moods, our worries and our anxieties. When you get anxious, that can make her anxious on many levels, including making her wonder, "If mom isn't feeling good, can she still take care of me?" On the other hand, it's possible that there are other things in her life, like academics or friendships, that make her anxious. I wouldn't make any assumptions about why this is happening.

What I absolutely would do is talk to her pediatrician. Childhood anxiety can manifest itself in disordered eating. If she hasn't had a medical evaluation for her eating and stomach issues, she needs one. If she hasn't had an evaluation for anxiety disorder or other mental health issues, I suspect she needs that, too. I'm not a doctor, but I urge you not to put this off.

I also hope you are getting the professional help you need.