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Teenage school refusal

(13 Posts)
newyork1 Sat 08-Feb-14 00:03:43

My 15year old daughter has been struggling to cope at school for 18 months, she has just started some sessions with the childhood mental health services, the waiting list has been a year! She cries a lot, is very withdrawn and has really bad mood swings, the doctor says she does seem to be suffering more than most teenagers. She cries for an hour some mornings and ends up staying at home and missing school. She is a lovely pretty girl but thinks she is ugly and unpopular, I wondered if anyone had any advice, me and her dad are doing everything we can think of but things just don't seem to be improving.

Misfitless Sat 08-Feb-14 09:00:46

What have the school said newyork1? Have they tried to help and get to the bottom of it?

I'm sorry that you're all having such a tough time.

I have no experience or advice, but my first thought was to wonder if she's being bullied via social networking.

I hope the sessions help, it must be heartbreaking for you to see her suffering this way thanks

Goldmandra Sat 08-Feb-14 09:14:56

You haven't described your DD very much so this may be very wide of the mark but it's worth saying anyway.

A significant number of girls who have problems in school turn out to have Asperger's Syndrome. They are incredibly competent at masking their symptoms and using alternative strategies to blend in socially but are still aware that they don't quite fit in for some reason.

Until my DD1 was 12 I wouldn't have even considered the possibility of Asperger's because my perception of it didn't include the profile of girls.

Google Asperger's in girls and Tony Attwood and see if you think it fits your DD at all. If it does and she ends up with a dx, she may be like my DD and feel a lot better for an explanation smile

newyork1 Sat 08-Feb-14 09:16:35

The school have investigated and both them and my daughter have said its not bullying, they have not been that supportive, me and her dad have a meeting on Monday so hopefully can discuss a way forward, it's an important time for her at school but at this moment I think her mental health is more important, thanks for your comments, I'm hopeful we can sort it out

newyork1 Sat 08-Feb-14 09:24:12

Thank you for this, I've just had a quick read and I can see straightaway the things about coming in from school and shutting herself away because she has had enough contact with people for that day, she is also very conscious of fitting in, is it something that can start at this age though as she didn't have these problems in nursery or primary.

Misfitless Sat 08-Feb-14 09:25:26

I agree, her mental health must come first. It's a real shame that they are not being supportive.

If you don't mind me asking, how much time has she had off, OP? Has she always struggled socially, or has it only manifested itself recently?

Is she in Y10? I'm only asking because I had a lot of time off school at a similar age, and I did manage to catch up. The school were no help whatsoever, I'm sorry to hear that somethings don't change.

Goldmandra Sat 08-Feb-14 10:54:13

is it something that can start at this age though as she didn't have these problems in nursery or primary.

It is very common for there to be no concerns until the girl is a teenager. We had no idea until DD1 was 12. Once we knew, suddenly other aspects of her behaviour made sense too and, the more we thought about it and talked to CAMHS, the more we recognised the signs that we'd missed early on.

I think the average age of diagnosis of AS in girls is somewhere around 15 which means most are getting missed for a lot of years.

There's a lot of information out there so have a good read for yourself before raising it with anyone else. There's also a lot of ignorance (even amongst CAMHS practitioners) so you need to know what you're talking about so you don't allow anyone to dismiss it for the wrong reasons.

If it's the right diagnosis, it could be a big positive for your DD. If it doesn't fit her there's no harm done from you reading about it smile

lljkk Sat 08-Feb-14 17:09:16

Low self-esteem among teens is pretty normal, at least phases of it.

I think it often comes from realising how truly scary the grown-up world is and not having any faith in own ability to cope with it. I know that's exactly how I was as a teen & many of my friends said the same.

I have a theory that confidence spreads so anything, even small stuff, that can build confidence, often helps a lot. Start with small things.

Lots of sympathy & flowers because DS is a school refuser, it's like they always find the magic button to upset you most.

newyork1 Sat 08-Feb-14 20:09:00

Yes she is year 10, she has been like it for about 18 months, she is a pretty girl, she can nearly sit on her hair it's that long and it's all real. So I think she needs her confidence building up, I try to but it's hard. I just worry that she needs to do well at school to make sure she will do well in life, I don't think a prospective employer or college will take into account what's been happening to her when they look at her attendance. She has missed nearly 3 weeks out of 18 since going back for year 10 last September

lljkk Sat 08-Feb-14 20:12:58

imho you need to concentrate on one day at a time, let the future take care of itself. She's unhappy right now so look at little things that might boost her confidence today.

You telling her she's great won't work because she knows you're biased. Must prove it to herself by noting her every competency, Flipside must understand that we all fuck up a little bit in every way every day and most of us get thru life ok in spite of all our little fuckups. They aren't fun, but part of being an adult is learning not to let them get us down.

(saying this as much for myself as for her right now, ha!)

Goldmandra Sat 08-Feb-14 20:21:07

Have you asked her if there's anything school can do to help her feel more comfortable there? If there is, you can ask for a meeting with the SENCo and request that they put whatever it is in place because it will help support her attendance.

KateBG Sat 08-Feb-14 20:25:49

I am sorry that your daughter has difficulties. It is normal for a teenager not to be so confident. This makes life to look like a nightmare. She can feel offended or threatened by things that are not supposed to be harmful. It does not matter what is the reason for her behavior, because she is not going to tell you exactly what is going on. Not because she doesn’t want to, but because she cannot define how those everyday problems make her feel so bad. No matter if she has troubles with bulling, with secret crush or she is betrayed by a friend, what you need to do as a parent is to teach her how to manage crisis. She is going to have all kinds of problems during her whole life. She needs to feel your unconditional love and support and then she has to gain some confidence that she can manage her life. It is also very helpful if she attends some classes out of her school, where she can meet new friends and she can experience achieving little goals that can make her feel proud of herself.

I guess you have some stories from your teenage years that you can share with her so that she can see that we all have been through this and it is getting better and better.
Maybe if you don’t ask her questions but you just tell her stories that have a happy ending and she can get the moral of the story than she is going to learn slowly how to act in certain situations. It is very important you to be aware that when teenagers have troubles, they turn to alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and sex. Even if you think that this is not going to happen to your daughter, you have to educate her how those thing can affect her life.

I don’t have a teenager at home and I speak not as a mother, but as a person who has been through puberty. I just remember how it felt.

newyork1 Sun 09-Feb-14 13:21:04

Thanks for all your comments, really helpful xx

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