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Secondary school help! My son hates it, being sick.

(102 Posts)
MakeMineALarge1 Thu 12-Sep-19 07:52:05

Before I start, I know he has to go, I am not pandering to him.

My son (11 end of August) has gone to a different school to all his friends, I am regretting this already, however he does know people on the bus and doesn't mind getting the bus.

He went to school happy on day 1 and got given so many rules and regulations he came home frightened, being sick and crying.

We are now a week in, he is still being sick every morning, he hates it and I don't know what to do to help him. He isn't eating.

School are aware of this, they are giving him coping strategies, I just don't want other people seeing him as a victim and I don't want him to hate the next 5 years.

I know he has to go to school, I am not pandering to him, I am at a loss as to how to help him and to get him over this.

Please help me, help him.

SandraOhshair Thu 12-Sep-19 07:54:16

Why did he go to a different school to his friends. Could he move? Some children find it a very scary transition and doing it without a support network at school may make it worse for him.

Onionsoup64 Thu 12-Sep-19 07:56:16

How come he's going to a different school from all his friends? Is it worth contacting the school that all his friends are at and seeing if they have a space?

MakeMineALarge1 Thu 12-Sep-19 07:57:42

The school we wanted him to go to was a Cof E school with a great reputation.

There are 2 schools to us, one with not a great reputation, the other with a better reputation we may not have got into due to our address. Also if we didn't put the CofE one down first, you are automatically not given a place.

I haven't looked at changing schools yet, we are only a few weeks in, I want him to give him a chance to settle.

MakeMineALarge1 Thu 12-Sep-19 07:58:33

He does know people who are going, there are 3 boys from the other class you are all going to the new school.

PotteringAlong Thu 12-Sep-19 08:00:42

Also if we didn't put the CofE one down first, you are automatically not given a place.

That’s just not true. That’s not how school admissions work.

HandsOffMyRights Thu 12-Sep-19 08:00:48

If he doesn't settle please consider moving him to the school his friends go to.

SandraOhshair Thu 12-Sep-19 08:00:57

Well. I guess you just have to keep making him go in the hope he settles and does not become a school refuser or think about changing schools. I cant think of any other options.

Rowenaravenclawsdiadem Thu 12-Sep-19 08:02:55

OP my DD was exactly the same, I ended up moving her to the other school in the December after she started.

I told her she had to try and stick it out, but she was making herself ill, she was a shadow of her former self.

It was the best decision I’ve ever made she is flourishing again.

DinoGreen Thu 12-Sep-19 08:03:21

Can you ask the school if they can assign him a buddy from an older year? Many schools have mentoring or buddy schemes where older students help younger ones settle in.

Onionsoup64 Thu 12-Sep-19 08:03:51

Could you ask this C of E school to put him in the class with the three of his friends? Not quite sure why they haven't done that, to be honest, given he's late summer born and therefore very little.

And at the same as asking that, call the other school and find out how to get on their waiting list. Then at least if a space does come up at the other school, you can make a choice.

Just because a school has a great reputation doesn't mean it's the best one for a particular child.

SavagelyGardening Thu 12-Sep-19 08:04:18

Agree with above, school has no idea what order you put them on your preference. You either get a place or you don't for each school. Then you get placed in the highest choice of yours that you get accepted to

SarahTancredi Thu 12-Sep-19 08:04:50

I dont think moving at this stage is the answer.they get split up and make their own friends in secondary school so theres a good chance the old ones have "moved on" the dynamics wont be the same and tbh that could be more distressing than not having any of the old friends there at all.

I think I would take him out for the day maybe at the weekend. So something just you and him. Maybe try and have a long chat and help him realise that hes not doing anything wrong and that all these rules and regulations wont be an issue if he just Carries on as he is and does what hes meant to do.

It's a scary time for all children . I just need to give him time here. And he needs to work.on not working himself up .

Poor thing.i wish you luck flowers

ChicCroissant Thu 12-Sep-19 08:05:27

Have you posted about this before OP - earlier in the year? He didn't want to go to this school but you wanted him to?

All schools have rules, and as secondary schools are bigger they have more of them! It will seem a lot stricter than primary.

Has he made any friends at the new school at all?

OrangeSlices998 Thu 12-Sep-19 08:07:00

The jump to secondary school is enormous, different classrooms and a (at least in my memory) a complicated timetable etc etc. I think firstly surely you need to establish what it is in particular is making him so anxious and sick? Is there a rule or a set of them he’s terrified of breaking? Has he had an unpleasant encounter with an older kid? Does he feel out of his depth with his lessons? It is so hard making the shift I hope he settles. Please don’t prolong his misery if he really isn’t happy though

MakeMineALarge1 Thu 12-Sep-19 08:12:12

I am not sure if I have posted about this before @chiccroissant. I'll have a look.

He is in a class with one of the boys from his old school.

Sorry - I was wrong about the order of school places.

I thought he would be ok with the transition, this is a child who has flourished in educations up to now and is normally so happy.

I am hoping school (and us) can get him over this, as like @Sarah says, dynamics will have changed.

MakeMineALarge1 Thu 12-Sep-19 08:14:54

HE is now just worrying about worrying, he can't pin down what the issues is, he is scared of forgetting something and then worrying about getting upset if he is shouted at.

He says some of the teachers are strict, but that would be the same at any school.

Yes if this carries on I will look to move him.

CatherineOfAragonsPrayerBook Thu 12-Sep-19 08:16:25

I hated my new secondary school, I too was split from my friends. Was sick for weeks.

It never got better and I now resent my parents for never putting my feelings first as I have no fond memories of secondary school. They just kept insisting I go.

Send him to the other school. Even if his friends have moved on (unlikely being its very early) at least he knows you support him and acknowledge his feelings.

ChaoticKate Thu 12-Sep-19 08:20:25

Don’t move him just because the first week has been a bit tough, that’ll set a a pattern for the rest of his life. He’s (presumably) not being bullied or singled out in any way and if the school is giving him coping strategies then by the sounds of it they are supportive so there’s no reason to whip him out because it’s taking him a while to settle. He doesn’t need to be removed from the situation, he just needs to be equipped with better tools to deal with it.

Explain to him that it’s entirely normal to find changes like this unsettling and difficult and that it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with him or the school. It just means he needs a bit of time to get used to it. Make sure mornings are really calm and non rushed and take time to talk through his specific worries about that day. If he says he’s worried that ‘x’ will happen then don’t just dismiss it and say it won’t, just talk the scenario through so that he knows what he would do if ‘x’ did happen and that it wouldn’t be the end of the world. He’ll get used to the rules etc, it’ll just take time and if you support him (don’t do it for him) to make sure he’s prepared for the lessons he has each day then he’s going to feel more confident that he won’t fall foul of the rules.

If he’s struggling to make friends, then give him a couple of simple goals for each day, like learning four new names and asking two people what they are going to do at the weekend. Nothing if or difficult, just little things that will encourage him to interact. Make sure he has a bit of spare stationary so he can offer it if someone else has forgotten something. Baby steps to help him settle. Then plan a nice treat for you and him after you pick him up on a Friday.

I’ve worked with a lot of teenagers and many of them have a crippling fear of failure. They need to know that it’s ok to fail at things, it’s how they learn. Failure is rarely the end of the world but the thought of it can feel like it.

Milicentbystander72 Thu 12-Sep-19 08:24:28

My dd starts her GCSE's this year.

She started Y7 at a school where she knew no-one (our choice). She was reply and confident going in. In reality it was tough in Y7. She felt completely lost and found it hard at break time and lunch.
After a few weeks I emailed her tutor. She was great and changed a few seating plans and talked to her regularly about how she was. Reassured her that plenty of other children were feeling the same. She encouraged dd to join lunchtime clubs. She joined netball and drama. Drama club was the key for my dd. She slowly founds friends there across tutor groups. Boys and girls. As she settled she found a few friends to hang out with from her tutor group.
By Christmas dd was feeling anxious again as she realised she didn't have too much in common with these first friends but over time she managed to stay polite and friendly but move on to find other friends were who she clicked more with.

These days she often says she's so glad she's at her school. She feels so happy and settled.

My ds started Y7 last year. He had about 4 friends with him. Within a few weeks those friends and ds had moved on and found new friends to hang out with. It's all been fine.

I've seen clutches of primary school friends come up to Secondary together and by about February/March the friendships begin to shift band change. Like a PP I think that it's possible his old friends will have moved on.

OP, tell you ds it's very normal to feel anxious right now. He won't be the only one by a mile (don't believe all the FB posts about how little Johnny is "loving every second!" and "taken to it like a duck to water!") Keep talking to the school, ask about clubs and buddies. Even if they find someone to go to a club with at first (it's hard walking in on your own). It WILL get better.
Of course if in a few months he still feels sick with anxiety, then think about a move. There's lots of movement in schools throughout in Y7.

Good luck. I know how awful it is to watch thanks

Tonnerre Thu 12-Sep-19 08:26:01

Also if we didn't put the CofE one down first, you are automatically not given a place.

That’s just not true. That’s not how school admissions work

It sort of is, if this is a school that always fills up on first preferences alone.

Roselilly36 Thu 12-Sep-19 08:30:23

I can empathise OP. My DS1 really struggled with the transition from primary to senior school, we would have tears every morning, it was an awful, awful time.

I called the school, spoke to student services, explained the problems, they said I wasn’t the first parent to call up etc, they spoke to DS1, included him in a lunch club etc.

Everything improved from then, so please speak to the school. It’s such early days.

I hope things improve very quickly for you and your son, I can remember what a stressful time it was for us. Good luck.

berlinbabylon Thu 12-Sep-19 08:30:30

many of them have a crippling fear of failure. They need to know that it’s ok to fail at things

This is very true. And while you don't want him to break school rules, it's worth letting him get a sense of of proportion about punishments - if he eg gets a 30 min detention for not doing homework on time/at all, it's not the end of the world. It's annoying for him to miss free time, but it's meant to be, so he does the homework on time next time. But that's all. There are no lasting repercussions.

As others have said, it sounds like the school are being supportive and I don't think changing schools would necessarily be the solution, as far as I know, all secondaries put the fear into year 7s to get them to toe the line. I remember people saying to me that their kids were really stressed when they started at ds' school but they got over it after a few weeks.

If he doesn't, that could be the time to start looking at other options. But not yet. Give it until Oct half term at least.

Afternooninthepark Thu 12-Sep-19 08:34:24

I had this same situation 2 years ago with my ds. It was an awful time and tbh he still does have his moments but I got him some counselling which helped massively. The school helped with the counselling and his year head was very helpful. I would advise to keep in constant contact with the year head. Does the school have a pastoral service? Ds PS have also been very helpful.

LolaSmiles Thu 12-Sep-19 08:34:43

I wouldn't move him just yet. Primary friendships change and evolve and people move on so there's not guarantee that there's going to be the old group even if he went to the same school.

I've worked with many children who found the transition hard. It can help to talk things through.
E.g. the teacher is strict because they have 1000-2000 students on site and it's very different to primary. A teacher can be strict with rules and expectations but that's because they want everyone to be able to learn.
Keeping in the loop with the form tutor can help and they can also do some 1-1s with DC.
School might also have some mentors and counsellors on site who can help for a few weeks.
Some schools also have buddy systems for y7s where older students can help and guide.

Definitely have a chat with the form tutor or head of year. I hope you get a way forward

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