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to make my Year 10 Self-harming DD change schools next wee

(90 Posts)
bellejar Sun 27-Jan-13 15:48:39

I know that my DD is unhappy at school. She has no real friends and is getting more and more withdrawn and insular. About 12 months ago I spoke to her form teacher about a girl who was bullying DD (whilst pretending to be her "friend") - teacher said my DD should stand up for herself more. Last summer I spoke to her new form teacher + Head of Year. Nothing happened. In November DD was making herself sick so that she wouldn't have to to school. I told her form teacher + Head of Year who said to her "Everything alright?" She of course said yes. Last week I found out that she was self-harming and has cut her forearm to pieces at school, since November. She doesn't know that we have read her internet history and it is full of messages to Childline about self-harm, depression and killing herself.

We looked at another school (private) who instantly told me about 1-1 pastoral care + counselling for her. We have family there. She passed the exam with flying colours and she went in a few days ago to spend the day at school. They said that the teachers and girls liked her.

Now DD says she doesn't want to move schools because she says it's not that bad. She doesnkt ow that we've read posts from her saying how much she hates her school and that she has no real friends.

I think she is frightened about moving mid-term and also about the work she is going to have to do. We don't care about her A grades - we just want her to be happy and well-adjusted.

We told her (we = DH + me) to write pros + cons for each school.

AIBU to move her anyway?

steppemum Tue 29-Jan-13 09:57:47

op - move her

you are absolutely doing the right thing,

Sometimes when our kids are distressed we have to do what it best for them, be the adult and make the decision thta they can't make for themselves.

The new school sounds lovley. She will end her school years in a caring supportive envirnment, just think what that will do for her confidence and her view of further education, her memories of school etc etc.

Hope she does well op

Kyrptonite Tue 29-Jan-13 10:00:08

Move her. I wish my parents had done this for me. It's only now (I'm 24) my mum says that she regrets not taking me out of the school I was in.

jan2013 Tue 29-Jan-13 10:06:32

I think you sound amazing. be aware that her issues might have become a way of coping and might not just go away without a lot of help and support, but by being removed from the situation that has possibly caused a lot of the triggers, she will have the best chance of overcoming her problems. all the best

funnypeculiar Tue 29-Jan-13 10:11:04

Agree with others, I would still look at moving her, & another one who is impressed at your approach, insight and determination to help your dd flowers. How was she when she actually went into the school? You said in your OP that the teachers & girls liked her, but what was her reaction? She may not be able to remember it now herself, but it might help you feel confident.

We've recently (last week) moved our son between schools - although for different reasons to you - he had lots of wobbles when we were talking about it, about missing his friends, not knowing what to do etc. A few things helped him:
- getting him to talk about what he had liked about the school (ie not me telling him!) - and looking into things like clubs/after school activities/school trips that he was more likely to engage with. I guess your daughter may be less easily swayed (mine is only Y4) but some of that stuff might help?
- getting a buddy set up before he went, so he had someone he knew to walk in with him on the first few days. Luckily he already had mates at the school who could do this.
- going in a couple of times before hand - each time he came out remembering things he'd noticed & liked.
- now, we also told our son that if he hated the new school after <insert appropriate time> we could talk about moving back to original school. We knew we wouldn't actually do it, though, and perhaps more of a gamble with your dd.

We went from making the decision to starting at the school in less than a week, & I think that helped too - less time to dwell on things.

funnypeculiar Tue 29-Jan-13 10:13:04

Another thought, I wonder if it'll be easier for her once she knows it defn is happening - the process of making a decision is often the stressful bit - once decision is made, things can feel clearer <hopeful>

SpicyPear Tue 29-Jan-13 10:26:18

Move her. She is probably getting very nervous as the reality of having to start again approaches. She has coping mechanisms in her current school (albeit very unhealthy ones) and probably finds it difficult to imagine things being different. This is where as her parent you have to step in and act in her best interests when she isn't able to. Given their attitude and the presence of this bully it seems, sadly, unlikely things will resolve in her current school.

Well done OP. You are doing a great thing taking her issues seriously and trying to help her. For many reasons we are heading towards crisis with the mental health of girls and young women, so I find it really encouraging to hear about a parent really engaging with it.

PessaryPam Tue 29-Jan-13 10:27:35

OP I would do it. Sometimes you as a parent have to do what is best even though the child doesn't understand it at the time.

BarbarianMum Tue 29-Jan-13 10:35:09

Another one saying move her. I can absolutely understand why she doesn't want to - its an unknown and her self-confidence is in shreds - but you know its the right thing.

I was bullied and unhappy for 4 years at middle school. The thing is, you get used to it sad and don't realise that its not how school/life should be. When I escape to upper school it was like a cloud lifting but had you asked me at the time, I'd have said things weren't too bad.

diddl Tue 29-Jan-13 10:36:33

I think you have to move her tbh.

She is being bullied & nothing is being done-that is surely reason enough.

And the school are effectively blaming her/washing their hands of it by telling her to stand up for herself!

No wonder she thinks the same might happen again!

Really if she has few/no friends where she is-what is there to lose?

LittleChimneyDroppings Tue 29-Jan-13 10:43:52

Move her. She may be upset but shes in a very bad place right now. She cant carry on as she is.

bellejar Tue 29-Jan-13 10:45:35

Thank you, everyone! You are all a tower of support. Well, the letter of withdrawal has been written and its in my handbag. I left a message for ths school to contact me urgently and guess what - nothing so far. They've got till 4pm today.

Again, thank you, lovely mumsnetters smile

Pilfette Tue 29-Jan-13 10:55:52

Belle, I totally support looking at their internet history, my 14yo had a tumblr blog that I looked at and found similar stuff. She self harms but around her hips/thighs and I had no idea. She's now having private CBT to try and address this, her father is terminally ill so a lot of it is her trying to deal with that.

I would absolutely concur with the majority of posters on this thread re changing schools and also seeking some support regarding the self harm. It seems, for my DD at least, to be quite 'addictive' as a coping method and is taking some time to come away from. We're now on 4 weeks of no cutting, so it can be done! In the meantime I'm sending you unMN {hugs} because it's so upsetting for you all. I do hope things improve.

SirBoobAlot Tue 29-Jan-13 10:59:18

Move her. I wish my parents had. She will be angry at you, and she will tell you she is fine, but in the long run she will be glad you did.

But just please be prepared for the fact that self half and making herself sick might not stop immediately. Both become very addictive behaviors, so even when the actual problem is removed, they are easy to fall back on.

FreckledLeopard Tue 29-Jan-13 11:04:25

I wish so badly that my parents had known how suicidal and miserable I was at school. As it was, I stayed there til I was 18, got great grades but the misery I suffered has had a lasting impact on me.

If you think your daughter is best having a new start, then go for it. At the same time, is there a chance that your GP could prescrible anti-depressants for her? I know it's controversial for teenagers to be given medication, BUT, I only wish that I had been put on Prozac when I was 14, rather than living in absolute misery, self-harming and being utterly depressed until I was finally prescribed them at 19.

Sending lots of positive vibes your way...

MakeItALarge Tue 29-Jan-13 11:22:55

Another vote for moving her! I too wish my parents would have let me change schools, instead I became so unhappy I dropped out before my GCSEs and it took me until I was 22 to go back to education and finally get my degree.

I dont want to worry you anymore but have you checked things such as her facebook page and mobile for signs of bullying and nasty messages? On a practical note vitamin E helps to reduce scarring sad

Pilfette Tue 29-Jan-13 11:37:43

MakeIt, is Vit E better/the same as bio oil? My DD is at the point where she would like to start fading her scars, if possible.

FrustratedSycamoresRocks Tue 29-Jan-13 11:44:37

Another vote for moving her.

SomethingProfound Tue 29-Jan-13 11:45:59

OP, Move her.

I had a horrid time at school, and the school just ignored everything. My mother suggested that I move schools and I had a place at another very good school (I had been on a waiting list) but I refused out of fear of change. How in hindsight I wished my mother had forced me.

Your DD is not capable of making this decision, she is clearly very upset and mixed up at the moment.

You mentioned that you have family at the school could they not talk to her about how nice it is or take her under their wing perhaps that would help put her mind at ease and make her feel more positive about moving.

Sending lots of positive thoughts to you and your DD.

MakeItALarge Tue 29-Jan-13 11:56:42

Pilfette I got told to use both, she can take vit E supplements and use bio oil, or get the vit E capsules and use the oil instead of bio oil which can work out massively cheaper.

The best thing Ive found to hide the scars once they have started fading is fake tan, the daily moisturising ones are quite good at just evening the skin tone out.

SoggySummer Tue 29-Jan-13 12:07:20

Hi, I really really feel for you. My DD is in year 9 (at an independent) but having a miserable time at school. Underhandbullying - the type you describe - girls pretending to be friends but mocking her etc, bullying by exclusion etc etc. Her self confidence has plummeted and I am sick with worry alot of the time. She is pretty miserable and very negative about school where she used to be so enthusiastic. We have had mixed response from staff - some very good, the ones you would not expect, such as certain subject teachers who only see DD a few hours a week. They seem to have gone above and beyond with their support. Others like Head of Year and House Mistress - say the right things but dont always seem deliver.

We have had several chats with DD and like you I sarted looking at alternative schools. We sat down at the weekend (after more tears) to talk about it and she went mental - saying she will hate us if we make her leave, its not that bad, she is "happy" to make do.......

Its so hard and I really admire your stance. I am sure (as much as any parent of a teen can be) that DD is not self harming but its in my radar as I know of lots of teen girls who have done/do do it. If we ever got to that stage then I think as a parent I would have to the final say and do as you are doing.

I think you are doing the right thing OP. There comes a point where I dont think things can be allowed to continue. Its so hard though isnt it - to see your DD so unhappy and yet they reject your efforts to try and improve things.

I think its disgusting that the school have not got back to you yet. I am hoping they dont now - as I just dont think you will get the ongoing support from them. Anyway - sorry for waffling on, just wanted to offer some support to you.

Let us know how it progresses.

spiderlight Tue 29-Jan-13 12:08:10

My godson moved schools last year after being bullied. He was scared too, didn't want to move, downplayed the bullying, but his mum stuck to her guns. I saw him this weekend for the first time in several months and the difference in him was absolutely unbelievable - he has absolutely blossomed and his confidence has improved beyond all recognition. The new school isn't perfect and there are a couple of horrid boys there who ocasionally pick on him (he's very bright, quiet, bookish, a bit quirky and outstanding at science and maths, so he's always going to be one of the 'different' kids), but it has been SUCH a good move for him overall.

My heart goes out to you and your daughter. I agree that the urge to self-harm won't go away overnight and she'll need other outlets for her emotions. An elastic band around the wrist, snapped hard against the skin, can sometimes help with the urge, but she'll need proper advice and something like CBT to get her through it. She's lucky to have a mum like you to support her. Make sure someone's supporting you too though - you must be exhausted with the worry of it all.

steppemum Tue 29-Jan-13 12:30:44

just a thought
when teenagers feel overwhlemed by the situation and are saying 'its fine really I can cope' one of the things that they are experiencing is that they are trying to be and adult, but feel out of their depth.

I wonder if actually saying to your dd, you are not old enough/wise enough/experienced enough to make this decision. (Your dad and) I can see it from the outside because I/we are your parents. So, because we are your parents we are going to make this decision.

Actually tell her you are taking control. May bring initial melt down however.

OP, you are really being a great mum to her

fromparistoberlin Tue 29-Jan-13 12:37:15

yes, move her

I agree that she wll be experiencing fear, gult and nerves

what hapilly said, soemtimes the parents needs to make the call

and whatever happens, academically it should be better (I hope!!!)

and frankly she is self harming, and the school are clearly not adressing it

good luck, and I hope she blossoms in her new place xxxxx

fromparistoberlin Tue 29-Jan-13 12:40:21

I also think (contraversial view) that in some cases, bullying is worse at state schools

I was stateschool educated and there were alot of angry, deprived and unhappy children. Many were being raised in a sub standard manner. It it any suprise that they bullied???

the girl that bullied me cruelly for nearly 3 years, guess what? in a care home

I am not saying there is no bullying in private education, but I think there are likely to be less angry deprived and neglected little souls

gordyslovesheep Tue 29-Jan-13 12:52:10

Good luck x x

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