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04 Feb 2006

5 year old behavior changes
My 5 year old daughter has recently become extremely clingy. I can't hardly leave her sight. She constantly looks for me in our house to make sure she knows where I am at all times. She doesn't want to go outside to play because she will "get dirty". She hates to wash her hair, so she does everything she can to keep from getting dirty or sweaty. This was not always a problem. Cleanliness was never a concern for her. She would play and have fun with no concern. Also, she doesn't want to go anywhere with other relatives if I am not going. This also is not her "normal" behavior. BUT my main concern is her eating. She has never been a good eater. She is extremely picky. She never has liked meat, vegetables or fruit. She likes breads, cereals, pasta and cheese. However, now she even refuses to eat some of her favorite things. She skips meals completely. I know she's hungry because she talks about food and asks to eat snacks. She has lost a few pounds.

There hasn't been any traumatic episodes at home, no deaths, no divorce, no illnesses, no big change. I am at a loss on how to help my child.

Also, I would like to note that I suffer from panic attacks and depression. I've received medical attention for these problems and take medication also. I have been fine for a long time and continue to take my medication. My older daughter suffers from separation anxiety and also takes medication for this problem. I didn't know if this would be important for you to know. I'm afraid that my younger child is also going to have some of the same problems that we have.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, mb235
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

The Clingy part aounds like a variant of Separation Anxiety, but that of course merely names what you have already noticed. It can occur at different stages in a child's development, and is uually no great problem for long, and usuually clears up on its own. But this new obsession with cleanliness, and finickiness is odder.
Another factor --- apart from the fact that one is more vulnerable to develope Depression if a parent or other relative has Depression, one can also be more vulnerable to related conditions, including panic attacks, or OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and there's a flavour of that about this recent change in her behaviour. Your younger child MIGHT develop such a disorder ot one of the others that have troubled your family, but identifying it early can enable treatment, not only medicinal but also counselling, which can control it and limit its extent
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