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AIBU to be gobsmacked that DD2's Headteacher told her to stop pretending to be ill when she has chronic fatigue.

(207 Posts)
go8smacked Fri 30-Sep-11 21:00:38

DD2 has been suffering from fatigue for nearly 3 years and is under the care of a paediatrician. School know this and that he will be writing to them to discuss how to manage her fatigue.

Today DD2 was very tired, paediatrician has advised that she needs to go to school but we need to moderate her activity, so I send her to school but go in at 11am to check on her. I can see that she is tired as she is self-soothing (she is always tired to some degree) and when she sees me she pleads to come home. Her teacher (also the headteacher) starts to tell her how she has been fine all morning and to stop making me worry ?!?!?!?!? I'm not happy about leaving her but I don't want to undermine her in front of the now assembled crowd of children. I tell my DD2 that I think she should stay for lunch and that I will phone the school after lunch to see how she is. DD2 is not happy but accepts this.

After lunch it takes 30 minutes before anyone even picks up the phone. The secretary goes to check and comes back to say DD2 has not complained again of being unwell. DD1 & DD2 come home. DD2 say's no-one asked her how she felt but that the headteacher spoke to her about how it was important not to pretend to be ill shock DD1 says that DD2 was tired at lunch and had to sit on a bench.

I cannot believe that the headteacher has basically accused my DD2 of hypochondria - DD2 was laying it on a bit thick when she saw me but I could see that she was tired.

I have had ME for over 20 years and so I am well acquainted with the symptoms and how people just can't 'see' that you are unwell. However the headteacher knows that DD2 has had extensive tests and regular hospital appointments. I also made a point of updating her medical records to show that she is being assessed for chronic fatigue.

I can't believe that the headteacher has taken DD2 aside and told her to stop lying about being ill. I know I need to speak to the headteacher but at the moment all I want to do is remove all my children from this school.

Mutt Fri 30-Sep-11 21:06:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

worraliberty Fri 30-Sep-11 21:07:12

Well it's a tricky situation but just because your child is suffering from fatigue, doesn't mean she won't try to play on it as she is a child after all.

The Head, may well have been telling the truth and your DD (like an awful lot of children) may have laid it on a bit thick for you?

It's hard to say without being there...but the Head was so I don't know?

This part of your OP is fairly crucial I think...."DD2 has been suffering from fatigue for nearly 3 years and is under the care of a paediatrician. School know this and that he will be writing to them to discuss how to manage her fatigue

Perhaps there will be better understanding when the paediatrician actually discusses it with them.

muffinflop Fri 30-Sep-11 21:10:55

I don't think they should ASK her how she is. That just reminds children who were actually ok that they had the chance to go home!

If she'd been that bad then she would have either told them or possibly fallen asleep and they'd have noticed. You said you've had ME for 20 years? Is there not just a small possibility she's mirroring your symptoms to some extent?

How old is she?

troisgarcons Fri 30-Sep-11 21:12:28

DD2 was laying it on a bit thick when she saw me but I could see that she was tired.

Copying your behaviour I'm afraid.

go8smacked Fri 30-Sep-11 21:13:38

Mutt I popped in because I was worried about her and the school has an open doors policy. The pertinent point to my post is that my DD2 has been told to stop lying about being ill by the headteacher when she has been diagnosed by a hospital consultant as having chronic fatigue.

aldiwhore Fri 30-Sep-11 21:16:32

Tough one. But YABU to check on her constantly. Another clue is in The secretary goes to check and comes back to say DD2 has not complained again of being unwell

Its almost as if you're allowing your DD to BE ill? Or to be less harsh, checking so often you're not allowing her to 'forget' that she is?

That sounds harsh, and ME is awful, however, school are aware of it. ME treatment does involve understanding from people, that I'm sure you're aware, is hard to come by. But it also involves pushing yourself beyond what you believe you can do? This is what I'm led to believe anyway.

I think there is a balance here. Its unfair for the Head to suggest your DD is lying. At the same time, maybe it is unreasonable of you to almost disallow your dd's ability to cope throughout the day? Most children with NO complaints or illness would play on their mother's love to get them home quick surely?

I may have got it all wrong, just going off your OP and my admittedly limited knowledge of you, your family and both you and your dd's illnesses... I hope you find a common ground with the Headteacher and some relief/cure/good management of both of your conditions.

worraliberty Fri 30-Sep-11 21:19:12

The HT didn't question her diagnosis, she questioned why she was suddenly laying it on when you turned up.

There is a difference.

CauldronsTrulyReign Fri 30-Sep-11 21:20:23

Was she told to stop lying?


i didn't get that from your OP.

Perhaps the HT was generalising with her about behaviour, I think you may be overthinking it slightly.

It has not unheard of for a child to be fine and then suddenly deteriorate when they see their parent. Not that I am suggesting that this is the case with your DD2. smile

How old is she?

Groovee Fri 30-Sep-11 21:20:34

Maybe it's time to get dd on a management course to learn how to manage her ME. I've been on one and it really helped with my Chronic Fatigue and about learning to read your own body and it's signals. But I do think popping in after 2 and a half hours is possibly too much. Why can't she manage until about lunch?

Mutt Fri 30-Sep-11 21:22:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CauldronsTrulyReign Fri 30-Sep-11 21:22:19

Do you go in every day at 11?

If you are ill also, this must be very wearing on you, and perhaps this is skewing your perspective?

captainbarnacle Fri 30-Sep-11 21:23:15

You are projecting your own illness onto your daughter.

You need to step back. Trust the school. Phone them up if needs be during the day - but stop going in to see her. She is reacting to you. She is probably pretending to be ill when she sees you - not that her whole fatigue is a lie, but she it possibly lying about her degree of tiredness at certain points during the day because it gets a reaction.

YABU. Back off.

Pancakeflipper Fri 30-Sep-11 21:23:20

Would it work better for your daughter, you and the school if your daughter had a deal with the school in that if she was struggling to either sit out of the activity or have you called for. And it's your daughter who starts the conversation on how she is doing? Instead of you popping in and you phoning to check.

muffinflop Fri 30-Sep-11 21:23:26

I agree there's no need for you to go and check on her. You need to trust school's judgement and let DD 'get on with it' as much as she can.

go8smacked Fri 30-Sep-11 21:27:44

Well, well, well. I see everyone has their claws out and that despite ME now being a well recognised condition the old biases remain. For all your information I may have had ME for over 20 years but I have battled against it constantly and most people don't know I have it because I don't mope and lead a very normal life.

I also keep the fact I have ME to myself (in RL) as I find that narrow-minded bigots instantly assign me a lazy bastard despite it being a recognised disability and that people have actually died of it.

If my daughter was to mirror my symptoms then she would plod on regardless come hell or high water.

It has been found that there is a genetic predisposition for ME to run in families which is why I thought it pertinent to the discussion to include the fact that I have ME. I also spent years being labelled a hypochondriac despite being bedbound and unable to stay awake for more than 2 hours a day.

Whatever your prejudices about ME just think about this - if I'd said that my DD2 was being tested for leukaemia and that I'd once had it what would your responses have been then? Once you've thought about that I hope you realise what bigots you are.

Pancakeflipper Fri 30-Sep-11 21:31:48

Oi - my claws were not out. I asked a few questions MadamGo8smacked. You haven't been arsed to answer them.

I think it really is a non-bitchy, non-bigoted question to ask if some of the responsibility of how your daughter is feeling each particular day is passed onto your daughter and her school. I think this will help her as she grows up and gains further independence.

captainbarnacle Fri 30-Sep-11 21:32:11

I can't find anywhere that anyone has doubted your ME or demonstrated any 'old bias'.

But you have clearly shown you have a chip on your shoulder about the whole thing.

Your daughter is not you.

I don't get my sons tested for every illness I have had - that's a ridiculous argument.

You are coming across badly.

Inertia Fri 30-Sep-11 21:33:30

I think you need to have a two-way conversation with the HT about exactly what your daughter's condition entails and how she, you and the school can best manage it.

Having worked in schools, I have some sympathy with the idea that it's not always helpful for the parent to hang around in school; if the parent is not there and the child is physically capable of getting through to the end of the day they will generally try to do so, while obviously if a parent is there they will seek comfort from the parent.

Can you maybe come to an arrangement where your daughter can rest in school if necessary, and they will call you if she needs to you? Do you need to medicate her at 11am?

addictediam Fri 30-Sep-11 21:33:52

If yoy dont want others opinions don't ask.

No ones is saying me isn't real, just that maybe poping in on phoning up isn't helpful and children do play up to parents regardless of being ill or not.

muffinflop Fri 30-Sep-11 21:34:15

'If my daughter was to mirror my symptoms then she would plod on regardless come hell or high water. ' But you don't even give her the chance to plod on regardless because you go in to check on her every single day!!!

Let her be herself and let school decide if she needs to go home.

As Pancackeflipper said, you've been asked other questions and not answered them. You've immediately just gone on the defensive assuming everyone thinks ME is a made up disease

fit2drop Fri 30-Sep-11 21:35:44

How old is your DD2?

worraliberty Fri 30-Sep-11 21:40:15

OP honestly, going by your second post...I can quite see that the Head Teacher might be totally right on this and that you are being paranoid.

If you think the people on this thread have their claws out when they clearly haven't, I can only imagine what you think about the Head Teacher.

Try to hurry the paediatrician up into contacting the school for everyone's sake.

whiteowl Fri 30-Sep-11 21:47:31

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

wannaBe Fri 30-Sep-11 21:48:07

you are enabling your daughter's illness through your reactions.

No-one has said that your daughter doesn't have fatigue. From from your op I got that:

You went into school to check on her at 11, and despite the ht saying she seemed ok your dd expressed a wish to come home and you could see she was tired.

The ht then took your dd aside and expressed the importance of not playing on being ill when she isn't at the time. If she'd been fine all morning there was no other reason for her to suddenly "need" to come home other than the fact you'd turned up to enable that.

The more you enable this behavior, the less of a normal life your dd is going to have. She needs to learn to recognize for herself when her symptoms are such that she needs a break.

And yes, I would say the same if it had been cancer - just because someone has been or are ill doesn't mean they should be pandered to at all costs.

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