About 8-9 years ago one of my daughters said this to me. She said “Dad, I’m in pain.” She had been having troubles at school. She had been hitting other children in anger. She had been doing poorly in school. I had an educational assessment done on her and found that she was full of anxiety. She scored superior on some psychological tests. She scored so poorly on some tests that she seemed retarded. She was all over the map. The second half of her assessment was about her emotional state. It read like a child borderline. She was unable to regulate her emotions. She was shameful, angry and anxious.
I sent her to 2 years of DBT for children. She is a miracle. It turned her life around. Even though she spent 6 months in complete silence with the therapist, eventually, she did the work. She learned the skills.
I have a friend whose daughter came to her at 10 or 11 and said the same thing to her (the mother). The mother responded, “It’s just a phase. It will be ok.” I know my friend has regrets about that response. Her daughter now in her mid 20s. She is a heroin addict and living in a squat in a bad neighborhood in New York.
If your child comes to you and says “I’m in pain” what do you do?