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To wonder how I could have responded better to this troubled teen?

(36 Posts)
UpsyDaisy123 Tue 25-Apr-17 20:37:31

I'm a teacher. Today a 15 year-old pupil told me she is worried that she has Munchausen's syndrome and that, once she is an adult, she will feel the need to feign illness all the time to get attention. This was a genuine concern and she appeared very affected by it.

I don't feel I handled this very well and am wondering how others would have responded? What on earth do you say to something like that.

Wolfiefan Tue 25-Apr-17 20:39:31

You say you don't know much about it. What do they know and what makes them worry about it?
Ask NO leading questions.
Talk to tutor or Head of Year etc.

Sleepdeprivedredhead Tue 25-Apr-17 20:40:32

Tell her you have faith that as she matures some things she may feel she needs for attention will be behind her and. If she feels very alarmed then provide her with a phone number for a teen or anxiety contact.

TheZeppo Tue 25-Apr-17 20:41:40

Make sure it goes to the safeguarding lead!

It's hard when they open up sometimes, but it's lovely she can talk to you.

But definitely pass it up!

Crowdblundering Tue 25-Apr-17 20:42:02

Do you have an ELSA TA or a Pastoral Team at school she can have a chat with?

Crowdblundering Tue 25-Apr-17 20:43:10

I would find out more before going to the safeguarding lead - I run a secondary school counselling team.

PurpleDaisies Tue 25-Apr-17 20:44:18

I'd be talking to her head of year or child protection lead for advice. You're not medically trained or a counsellor so the best thing you can do is encourage her to seek help from someone that is.

What did you actually do? I'm sure you handled it better than you think.

Wando1986 Tue 25-Apr-17 20:45:08

Is this a self fulfilling prophecy OP, in telling you she thinks she has it, is that her displaying symptoms or is it perhaps a long winded yet subtle joke? biscuit

PurpleDaisies Tue 25-Apr-17 20:46:12

I would find out more before going to the safeguarding lead

Why? I'm also in schools and we've always been told to speak to the safeguarding person with any concerns and not to try and investigate ourselves.

Wolfiefan Tue 25-Apr-17 20:47:17

I would also pass it on. It could be code for someone is hurting me.

PurpleDaisies Tue 25-Apr-17 20:47:21

And I don't understand what harm talking to the safeguarding person would do.

Crowdblundering Tue 25-Apr-17 20:50:04

What she has said is not an immediate safeguarding concern - what I wouldn't do is post on an Internet forum asking for advice.

She is 15 not five and is capable of explaining what she has expressed.

If the safeguarding lead phoned safeguarding they would def want more info before they did anything at all.

TheZeppo Tue 25-Apr-17 20:51:32

We are always told not to investigate and tonpass things on- it's standard practice. I think you put yourself in a vulnerable position if you don't.

Again- it's lovely she can confide in you, but pass it up.

UpsyDaisy123 Tue 25-Apr-17 20:52:09

This student is already very well-known to pastoral care and safeguarding teams and viewed as a bit of a lost cause by them sadly. So whilst I've obviously passed my concerns on, I'm not expecting anything major to change there. Sorry I should have explained that before. I'm just wondering what I could have said as a sensitive response to another human being genuinely feeling this.

PurpleDaisies Tue 25-Apr-17 20:53:05

If the safeguarding lead phoned safeguarding they would def want more info before they did anything at all.

Obviously the safeguarding lead would need more info but the op needs advice on how to handle the situation. They're absolutely the right person to help the op know what to do next.

Guepe Tue 25-Apr-17 20:54:27

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Crowdblundering Tue 25-Apr-17 20:55:10

I don't think you should be posting about it here.

I would lose my job if I that and was recognised.

The student has confided in you and you have betrayed her confidence by posting on here about it confused

TheZeppo Tue 25-Apr-17 20:58:52

I think that's a bit harsh. There are no identifying features in the post and the OP is asking for support.

PandoraHatesTheBox Tue 25-Apr-17 20:59:19

Gosh this child is me of 10 years ago.

I would probably have said that when you become an adult, you develop an autonomy over your own life that is difficult as a child. You can seek out support and help and make yourself anyone you want to be. It can be hard, sometimes it feels impossible, but it is possible to be anyone you want to be. You can choose how you want your life to be.

I would also probably have said that attention seeking is really attention needing, and as we grow we find ways to fill those needs. Eventually, with enough help and support, love for who you are becomes enough.

It has to be said I was an very very abused child so I would definitely pass this on. X

Bleurghghghgh Tue 25-Apr-17 20:59:40

Don't be ridiculous, Crowd
This is an anonymous forum and the OP hasn't said anything about the girl other than her age.

Crowdblundering Tue 25-Apr-17 21:00:15

What if it was a GP or a Nurse asking for advice about a patient on here?

It's wrong - this YP hasn't given her permission for this to be posted on the internet - anonymous or not.

MrsJaniceBattersby Tue 25-Apr-17 21:01:05

You've spoken to the SGT
They should advise you

Bleurghghghgh Tue 25-Apr-17 21:02:47

Crowd well then you should have reported it as such, rather than posting, which bumps the thread and is therefore much more disrespectful to the (totally anonymous) child as it will be seen by more people.

That's if you're not just being goady, of course.

TheZeppo Tue 25-Apr-17 21:04:48

A 15 year old is unlikely to be on these boards. She could be in a different country for all we know. She's not holding this up for people to gossip about- as you're aware, even counsellors need to debrief. If OP hasn't got that support at school, she can do it relatively safely here (as long as it isn't identifying).

Crowdblundering Tue 25-Apr-17 21:06:45

The OP has her safeguarding lead, counsellors have supervision.

I would not dream of discussing a client with my OH never mind on a public forum.

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