WTF do I do?! (Really long, sorry)

(15 Posts)
OscarSwoosh Mon 04-Feb-13 11:36:25

I am at the end of my tether. I mean, really, seriously, cannot cope with this much longer.

DD14 has not been back to school properly at all since the Christmas hols.
At first it was because she kept being sick. This seemed to be because she was very worried about being sick in public (had norovirus just before xmas) and the worry would build up until she actually vomited. This only happened at home. She was able to go out as long as I was with her, but has not felt able to return to school full time. She has not vomited for about 3 weeks now.

The school has been great - they have said she can just attend her favourite lessons for the time being. But that isn't really working. For her, it is. But for me, not so much. I work from home and need to be able to plan my day but couldn't because I never knew which lessons she'd actually attend on any day.

Went back to talk to school and they have re-arranged seating plans in lessons for her, so she can sit with a friend; they have put her into a different set for 3 subjects so she can be with her friends; they have given her a card she can flash at the teacher to say she needs to leave the room if she feels unwell; they have even said she can drop one subject altogether.

I'm pretty sure there's nothing else they can do.

I have a short temper. I can go from happy-as-larry to raging anger in 3 seconds flat, but I've been holding it in as much as possible because I don't want to make things worse for her. Last night we had a long chat and we agreed she would try to go in for first lesson today and then play it by ear on a lesson-by-lesson basis and see if she could manage to stay at school for as long as possible.

In reality, she didn't even put her uniform on until 10:30am because she 'felt sick'. Then sat down and ate a chocolate bar.

I'm afraid my pent-up crossness escaped a bit and I said "What the FUCK am I supposed to do?!"

She got her uniform on about half an hour ago, but has now said she's not going in at all today because she feels like she might be sick.

She saw the doctor early January and he was quite unhelpful really. Taught her how to do proper deep breaths. Tested her for a few things (nothing physically wrong).

I can get very little work done (am self employed) and have lost almost a month now. I can't concentrate when she's here.

She thinks the only solution is to be home educated until the start of year 10. But it's more complicated than that, isn't it. She's been home educated before, during primary. But she's year 9 now, is choosing her options this week and wants to do her GCSEs. She won't be able to stay on the roll at school if she's home educated.

I don't know what to do, this has reduced me to tears a few times over the last month and I'm just stuck. I can't physically drag her to school (she's bigger than me for a start!) and I'm worried about what will happen. She's missing so much work and I'm worried I might end up being prosecuted for allowing her not to go in, even though the school are permitting this.

I'm going to go and ring the docs and see if I can get her another appointment for later today but I can't imagine what he will suggest - counselling I suppose, but waiting lists here are long in my experience and can't afford private.

Anyone been through anything similar?

flow4 Mon 04-Feb-13 13:15:37

Oscar, you have my sympathy. I haven't had a nauseous DD, but I have had a DS (also then 14/15) who was truanting and getting excluded when I was self-employed and trying to work from home, and I also felt I couldn't home educate. I had to pull out of one contract because he was excluded for 2 weeks - and I had never before let anyone down like that in the whole of my previous professional career - I was furious and ashamed and frightened for our financial future (especially since I am a single parent) and frankly desperate.

I don't have a 'fix' - this kind of situation went on for me for a long time, but I can share some of the the things I did that seemed to help rather than make things worse. They may not all be appropriate with your DD, but I'll tell you anyway: you can pick what seems useful/relevant...

- I insisted he stayed in his room during school hours if he wasn't there. He was allowed to come down to the loo, of course, but not to interrupt me. He was allowed to come into the kitchen at lunchtime, but not otherwise. He didn't always stick to it, but it established a principle: I am working, and you are not allowed to interfere with that.

- I wept all over him (! blush ) I didn't plan this - it just happened. I don't think he actually realised how not going to school affected me, and stopped me from working and earning the money we all needed to live on. It did seem to help when he understood the impact of not going to school.

- I paid him to go to school. £2/day for each full day he went, handed over each evening, plus a bonus if he attended for a full week. It was bribery, clear and simple - but all the sanctions I had tried previously had not worked, so it was worth a try.

- I kept school fully informed. LAs are extremely unlikely to prosecute parents who are trying to get kids to school.

- I got counselling for myself - I was climbing the walls with stress, and it helped to have someone 'neutral' to talk to.

Hope that helps smile

flow4 Mon 04-Feb-13 13:43:20

I've just spotted loopyloo has started a very similar thread: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/teenagers/1676075-school-refusal-in-14-year-old-boy
It would probably be worth comparing notes smile

1. Is there a school counsellor? They also might have access to counselling services - also get her on the list for Camhs.

2. Make it much less comfortable at home (not by yelling wink) but by having her without phone/internet/music - replicate school conditions, at desk working by 9am, no moving for 'lesson time', no talking in lessons, tasks to complete - all done neutrally.

Now I'm not saying that you will be able to work while implementing the above but it might drum home to her that school and friends is a desirable place to be as working at home is fucking boring and long - in school they only do about 3 hours of actual work because of the other things going on in the school day so school at home can be much more intense.

Definitely do the lovely mum empathy stuff and get her a counsellor but also get her to see that the home option is going to be as hard, and less fun, than school.

OscarSwoosh Mon 04-Feb-13 15:00:54

Flow thank you. I've done the crying thing, she caught me in my bedroom a couple of weeks ago. I did think afterwards that it might have made her see how this is affecting us all, but it didn't. She accused me of making her feel bad (even though I was shut in the privacy of my bedroom and she walked in on me)

I am keeping school in the loop as much as I can. They have been wonderful, which I was pleasantly surprised about. They certainly weren't like that when I was at school myself!

I'm liking the idea of doing 'school at home' in her bedroom for the times when she's not at school. I know I can home educate but it would mean some massive changes here and I also don't think the school would allow her to choose her options and then just come back for year 10 to start GCSEs...I'll have to see what they say, I might be wrong. Also, bribing with money - could work, she does like having money burning a hole in her pocket smile

Laurie thank you. There's no counsellor at school, I've asked. They have 6th formers who come in once a week for kids to rant at, but they're not allowed to give advice. TAs who are trained listeners, again not allowed to give advice. A school nurse once a week. My DD's not keen on any of these options. I like the 'school at home' idea as I said above, so I might try that.

Update: I was about to ring the doctor for an appointment and DD said not to because there's nothing he can do, he can't wave a magic wand. I might try again tomorrow.

CrazyOldCatLady Mon 04-Feb-13 15:45:01

Have a word with the GP and get them to give her vitamin pills or something 'anti-nausea medication'?

The school sound fantastic.

NeverBeenToMe Mon 04-Feb-13 15:55:54

Not much to add but would imagine the feeling of nausea is anxiety about returning to school after such a long time. there are some tablets called Motillium 10 which are good at relieving nausea symptoms - might be worth trying her on those?

Doesnt seem five minutes since my dd1 was a school refuser - the stress is horrendous - I truly feel for you x

ClaimedByMe Ghana Mon 04-Feb-13 16:04:23

Update: I was about to ring the doctor for an appointment and DD said not to because there's nothing he can do, he can't wave a magic wand. I might try again tomorrow.

You are her parent she is under 16, if you say she has to see the dr then she has to see the dr, as a severe anxiety sufferer myself and I have done since I was a teen, I have a fear like your dd that I will have a poo accident when in public, she is controlling you and the school, if she has anxiety she needs counselling and possibly some medication.

MzPixielated Mon 04-Feb-13 16:07:01

what is she like at the weekends, still as nauseous? or is it just associated with going to school.
also she is not a doctor and doesn't know "there's nothing he can do"
im ashamed to say my attendance at school was awful, i never went and it started because i was very ill and then got comfortable at home and not having to do work so i just dragged the illness out and really clutched at straws, i didn't take hardly any gcse's and as a result i've ruined my life, maybe a long chat about her future if she doesn't knuckle down?
if you cant physically home school her for work reasons i would point blank tell her that isn't an option.
i've had cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety because i was terrified of going out incase i got so nervous i was sick infront of people, it helped soooo much i can now go out alone. all it needs is a referral from the doctor so get her in and explain the situation.
on a day to day basis i would try baby steps, just getting her to put her uniform on then getting her to school then sitting in for one lesson and so on and so forth until she does a whole day, have a goal to work towards each day. i second other peoples opinions on here that home should be as boring as possible, no internet, no phone, no t.v and no music. you can get work books for her key stage she can go through doing the tasks until she is back at school.

flow4 Mon 04-Feb-13 17:08:50

Just to add, when my DS was excluded, I did start by doing things like they would be done at school - at his desk, no TV, etc... But he fought me over it, and I realised he could entertain himself quite happily that way: he had me running up and down stairs confiscating remote controls, chasing him back to his desk, making sure he was doing some work, etc... hmm But by withdrawing my attention from him as much as I possibly could, it gave him the space and time to get bored. Because actually, although my DS likes his media and technology, what he wanted most was social contact and my attention...

OscarSwoosh Tue 05-Feb-13 02:52:17

I'm so glad I posted on here in my moment of despair. You've all made me feel so much better and I really appreciate it. You've all given me some fantastic ideas on managing this problem, thank you thanks

I am going to make an appointment at the doctors tomorrow and if she refuses to go then I'll go in her place! I will get a referral for CBT or counselling. I've had CBT myself and I know that the first appointment will be an assessment to see what would suit her best. I think she'd probably be up for that.

Someone mentioned getting the doc to give her vitamins as a sort of placebo - we've tried something similar. We told her how fantastic Rescue Remedy is and got her the pastilles and the gum. She now relies on them heavily even though admitting they're not really working for her hmm But they seem to make her feel more able to cope, if only for a few minutes.

Motillium 10 - thanks for the suggestion, but just googled it and apparently not to be used in under 16s. DD is 14. I will ask the doctor though, if there's anything suitable for her. I agree the nausea is now anxiety about returning to school, but it didn't start as that. She had really bad norovirus before xmas and then a few days between xmas and start of term, she started vomiting all over the place despite there being nothing physically wrong with her. This anxiety just seemed to come out of nowhere.

At weekends, and most of the time at home, she is absolutely fine. It seems to be at its worst when she is away from me. She knows that if she's sick when she's with me, I'll deal with it and clean her up. If I'm not there she will have to deal with it herself. Oh, light-bulb moment - back in year 7 she went on a school trip and was sick all over herself on the bus on the way there. The teachers did not help her clean up and she had nothing to clean herself up with. We had to drive to where they were going, where she was stood outside in public waiting for us with one teacher, and was covered all down her front in cold stinking vomit sad I bet that's in her subconscious, not helping matters.

MzPixielated I'm so glad the CBT worked for you. I've tried the babysteps, they're not really working unfortunately. We've got all the CGP books, so will be dragging all of those out!

ClaimedByMe I'm sorry to read you have anxiety too and I really appreciate you posting. She definitely is controlling us all.

I have spoken to her and told her that we will be doing school-at-home tomorrow (oh, today!) until she goes in for the 2 last lessons. No gadgets etc. Desk and CGP books in bedroom, set tasks. Break time at actual break time iyswim. We're going to stick to her school timetabled subjects. She seemed overly enthusiastic about it though which got me a bit worried but we'll see how it goes. Hoping she gets very bored. Also offered her the money bribe, she all but rubbed her hands with glee! grin but is still not wanting to do a full day yet.

Sorry my posts are so long, I don't know when to shush!

flow4 Tue 05-Feb-13 08:54:42

"offered her the money bribe, she all but rubbed her hands with glee! but is still not wanting to do a full day yet."
^ This suggests to me that you should only bribe pay her for a full day! smile

The Y7 memory might be useful, actually... You could talk to her about it, and about how you have remembered it and wondered if that is what's behind her anxiety, and ask what she thinks... And you could together assemble an 'emergency vomit kit' - plastic bag, baby wipes, mints, bottle of water + whatever else she thinks would help - that she can take with her if she ever feels nauseous or is worried she might, and so she can help herself if she ever actually is sick...

loopyloo123 Tue 05-Feb-13 20:04:01

Thanks for your support. Many many similarities. Today he went quite willingly and was fine but who knows what will happen tonight to change his mood?

IDontKnowWhereMyMedalsAre Thu 07-Feb-13 15:33:48

A bit off topic but when Ds has been off school sick (not often admittedly) he has either been in bed or working to the school timetable. Never has it been tv, internet etc. PE meant walking to the recycling bin, DT meant assembling the kitchen stool from Ikea, obv, Eng, maths, sci etc were as per course work. Try and keep her on track with her friends, it should give her opportunities to text her friends to discuss stuff. I'm pretty sure the national curriculm week by week is available somewhere on line so you know vauguely what they should be doing and school will be happy to help.
Good luck and flow4 has an excellent idea in her preparing an emergency pack.

mindfulmum Sat 09-Feb-13 02:24:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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