My 9-year-old daughter is a sweet, talkative little girl who has a tendency to exaggerate things, but within the past two years her claims of different illnesses and injuries have steadily increased to the point where it is literally every day. On school days, the first thing I’m informed about when I get home from work or as soon as I wake on weekends is either
- An injury she obtained at school ranging from scrapped knees, twisted ankles, etc. Sometimes there really is a scratch, etc. but never anything major to the naked eye and it’s always extremely exaggerated. Or
- A symptom that she has like a headache, sore throat, her ears hurt, etc.
They are announced in a very matter a fact tone, the injuries have a small story about how it happened and it always ends with her having to go to the nurse for something to help it. She even does this on the weekends and non school days.
This week for example she said while holding her pencil a friend scared her and she accidentally stabbed herself in the hand (her writing hand, that was holding the pencil). I did not see any marks or bruising and she continued to use it. She made 2-3 more comments about it before bedtime like “my hand hurts yet I’m still playing my Xbox game, that’s how much I love it”. Then the following day it was a headache that she had since first thing in the morning and on it goes.
She never asks to go to the doctor, almost always refuses any medicine to help the issue, and never really goes so far with the injuries where she refuses to use the hurt limb. She has no diagnosed illness, or mental deficiency and no one in our immediate family is cronicly sick. She doesn’t make any special requests or demands and try to use the sickness as a excuse so that is what has me so lost. The reasons for other kids faking sick don’t seem to apply to her, no out of the ordinary school issues and she still does it on non school days.
My husband and I are at a loss as to how to keep approaching this. We have tried being extra attentive after the claim, asking details and what she needs. We have tried to not draw attention to it, by listening and quickly confirming if she needed meds then moving on and over the summer I even tried to make her aware her words have consequences like when she would say “I have a headache” then an hour later ask if she could go next door to play I would remind her she had a headache and if she was ill she shouldn’t be going out. Nothing helps for more than a day or so.
I don’t want to be causing harm if this is a sign of a deeper issues. Is she just a complainer? I’ve thought about confronting her but again I would like some ideas so I don’t end up doing more harm than good. Any help or insight would be appreciated.