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My 8 year old has developed a nervous tick.. is that normal??


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My 8 year old daughter is a very well behaved child. She's shy though, and has what I would call phobias. She's scared of dogs, storms, noises, trees and tall grass, and here lately she doesn't want to sleep by herself. Within the last 2 months I've noticed that she has developed what I would call a nervous tick. She doesn't even realize that she does it or she will say she's cold. She'll go "Brrrr" like she's cold and shake her hands. I noticed it first occurring when she would get excited about something. Now she does it when we are just sitting around the house. She'll take and run and jump on the couch which is something that she knows she's not supposed to do, or will do a little hop in place.

I've suggested therapy, but it's court ordered that my ex-husband agree with all medical and educational choices. He doesn't think she needs it. But I her fears are obviously keeping her from enjoying herself. I've read that phobias of trees are actually fairly common, or more common than we think.

Am I over reacting on this?

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Jenna,

It's hard to say if you are over reacting or not. It does seem as though your daughter is feeling anxious about things. Perhaps its something about school, other children, the state of things between you and her father, etc.???

Kids that age can develop all kinds of fears. They have wonderful imaginations and that can be troublesome. By the way, what she is allowed to watch on tv is important. Violent programs and cartoons are known to upset kids, so too video games and all such. Really, she should watch no more than two hours of tv per day and not at night. Prime time tv and cause sleep problems in kids. Read the blog I posted here the other day.

Hope this helps.


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All excellent points and things that I pay a lot of attention to. I don't allow her to play any video games that are violent. All of them are based on cartoons that she has in her collection. As far as television goes, I only let her watch Nickolodean, which is just cartoons. She watches tv for probably three hours a day. I avoid watching the news around her, watching the weather because I know she is scared of storms, and I keep the line of communication between us open at all times. We talk about school. This past year has been her best year because she made lots of friends, and she became comfortable enough just to be her and to communicate with children her age. She's excited for summer to be over, and excited to be getting a new wardrobe for back to school. Most of all, she is proud she's going into third grade.

As far as her father and I relationship goes, we get along, no arguing. But the thing is, over three years ago, she made the accusation that he had molested her. Like any parent, I took it as far as I could. In conclusion, they found not enough evidence, and it was dismissed, though he would not take a lie detector test administered by the state police. About six months ago, she recanted her statement, saying she made it all up. But I do not believe a five year old could make up something like that and have such knowledge. But I've taken her to counseling for that, and done all that I can do, and no longer speak of it. Neither does she. I feel like this may have something to do with her behavior here lately. Not that she's being touched, but that it's on her mind what she alleged happened. She stays with her grandmother whenever she goes to her father's and she likes that.

Forever, I will believe her allegations just simply because a child can not make that stuff up. I had a nervous break down when I was forced to let him have visitation rights again after he was cleared three years ago. But knowing I had no other choice, I swallowed my anger and I treat her father with no hostility. Children pick up on that quick, and I would never do anything to hurt my kids, even if it means doing things I don't want to do.

Sometimes I think her step mother has something to do with it. I've had talks with her father and her step mother about the step moms behavior. Apparently she is really grouchy and hateful to my daughter. That's one of the reason's why my daughter stays with her grandmother when she's up there.

The problem with having shared custody is not knowing what she's exposed to when she's not with me. Especially when it comes to television and other things. Don't know what I can do about it. The court system in the county is extremely unfair, not to mention they're distant relatives of the judge. Not a good chance to get a fair judgement.

She's anxious yes, but about what? Is it possible she's just a nervous person like me? Does general anxiety show up that early?

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Yes, a young child can be anxious. Reading your last post , you are doing everything a good parent needs to. It is so important to have the communication open. She trusts you and can tell you anything. I think unixpressed feelings can manifest itself in other ways. Could this be just a habit though. Or a compulsion? It may not be anxiety at all. My son, when little had really bad ticks. His were more like nervous twitches. He has develpmental delays, and if their wer eany type of changes the ticks would become worse. In his case he was on medication to help control severe hyperactivity and the meds could make the tics worse. He was also fearful at trees though. And other things.

I would just watch these behaviors and if they continue to presist or increase then maybe she would benefit talking to a professional. Often times childrens behaviors come and go. Sometimes just as quickly as they started.

She seems to be coping well too.

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Jenna, has the tic worsened since the death of your brother? If she already has anxiety, the stress of the situation now could be worsening things. How has she been coping with this?

The problem with having shared custody is not knowing what she's exposed to when she's not with me.

That must be difficult. I too' date=' like mscat, think it's good that your daughter is open with you so that she would express anything that concerns her or causes distress. Does she talk about her visits with her father?

her fears are obviously keeping her from enjoying herself

This could be a sign that seeing a professional might be warranted. If this is interfering with her daily activities then this is something to consider.

I wish you and your family well, Jenna. Take care.

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Irma Jean, I hadn't even thought about the death of my brother causing it. Yes, it has gotten extremely worse since his death. I can't believe I hadn't thought of that. I guess I was so absorbed into my own pain that though she appears to be handling it well on the outside, I hadn't thought about the new anxiety's it could bring to an 8 year old. Maybe she's not scared to sleep in her room because of noises or things of that nature, maybe she just wants to be with me because she's afraid something will happen to me.

I remember going through a stage when I was her age where I started worrying and stressing myself about what if my parent's died.

Thanks all for the helpful responses. I'll investigate this theory and see if my brother's death may have triggered anxiety's and new fears.

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