Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you need professional help, please see our mental health webguide
Worried about my 14 year old daughter(14 Posts)
I have a 14 year old who is very anxious and distrught usually about school. It always starts on a Sunday night, she goes very quiet and then at bedtime she'll be really upset and cries sometimes sobbing. I try and explain it's anxiety and occasionally she'll say there's nothing she's worried, it's not school she just doesn't know why she feels bad. She regularly tells me she is not well enough for school saying she feels sick, it's got to the stage now where she can actually be slightly sick but not like when you have a tummy bug. She is in year 10 so a crucial school year for her. We have had major rows in a morning where she can get really angry telling me that I don't believe that she feels ill. I've calmed that down now by not reacting no matter how badly she is behaving but this morning I had to take her to school and she was begging me to go home and take her back, I refused and made her get out of the car. She was mortified that I got out because she is terrifed that someone will see her and me. This anxiety goes beyond school life too and she can get worked up when friends suggest sleep overs. There is a school trip coming up to Holland (sports trip) I've paid a deposit but she is saying that she's not sure if she can go now. Although she has been like this for a number of years and has got prgressively worse, it hasn't helped that me and her dad split up 8 months ago, very traumatic I'm afraid and although I'm not being difficult at all with her dad ie would never prevent her seeing him, it must have upset her dreadfully. I am trying to remain positive but I can't deny she has seen me very upset but not all the time. I'm seeing a counsellor to help me deal with the break up. We are seeing our GP on Thursday to rule out anything physical but it's reached the stage now where I feel she needs to see someone professionally. She is always so unhappy and anxious and I would appreciate any tips, advice or comfort it's not just her that is feeling this way. Our little home is not a happy one at all at the moment.
Poor her, and poor you
Erm.. Are you sure she's not being bullied at school? If not is she struggling with schoolwork? Talk to her school and see what they think.
She does sound so unhappy, do make sure to discuss the anxiety with your GP on Thursday and see what they suggest. Do insist she needs help.
Is she eating ok? I have a thirteen year old and have started to give her iron and b12 supplements on top of her usual multi vitamin/minerals in the hope that this will stabilise her awful moods.
Poor both of you, just wondering, have you spoken to the school most schools have fantastic pastrol care and counsellors now, it sounds as though it would be a good idea to try and include them. I`m no expert but could she be suffering from a severe seperation anxiety since your divorce?
Yes, poor all of you
If physical stuff is ruled out, definitely push for a referral to counselling or to CBT. Anxiety can very often be caused or exacerbated by stressful events.
When she says she feels ill, she probably actually does feel ill. Just because it's caused by the anxious part of your brain making you feel sick, rather than something you ate or whatever, doesn't make the sickness any less real. I don't mean that you should necessarily keep her off school - you should discuss with a health professional the best way to handle these situations. But remembering that she probably actually feels horrible, and isn't just trying to cynically manipulate you, might help you feel less angry and frustrated towards her.
Ah this is a tough time for you both.i know its not completely the same but my dad passed away when i was the same age and me and my mam were at logger heads!!! I hated school and i just wanted to curl in a bubble.often i just wished me and my mam could sit calmly and talk because i needed her and she needed me.your daughter might be depressed with the break up...having you both there and booom!! Things have changed.its not till being 25 i feel bad i was at logger heads with my mam.Maybe if you both haf a girly day out...lunch,picts or shopping and talk to her.tell her you know things have changed but you and ur ex love her regardless.just tell her you need her now more than ever and vise versa.i always felt like lying in bed and not wanting to be around people.All in all i just wanted things to be normal again.talk to her without any heated discussion and hopefully shel open up to you..this is her way of dealing with things and she needs to realise your her best friend and your there to help her x
Oh I feel for you.
But, without stating the obvious - are you sure she isn't sick? Have you actually taken her to doctors to have blood tests done? Anemia? Stomach problems? Parasite. There are lots of illnesses that will result in low energy - sickness. I had a friend in childhood whose parent's emotionalised her illness - turns out she had a form of narcolepsy.
Apologies if you have already been down the doctors route.
I would definitely book some counselling sessions for her. My parents split up when I was 12, and my mum had counselling but I was never offered any. I was incredibly upset by the break up, and I wouldn't have thought of asking to see someone, but in retrospect wish it had been offered. I frequently got upset about going to school, or said I was ill to get out of going - sometimes intentionally, and sometimes because I did feel ill but it was psychosomatic rather than anything else. Over the years I became pretty adept at bottling up my emotions. When I was 17 I became unwell with depression and bulimia, and I think years of trying to hide how I felt, and unresolved issues from when I was younger, contributed to that. So do make sure she has someone to talk to - I sometimes wonder if things would have been different for me if I'd had counselling at a younger age rather than trying to shut everyone out and block my emotions.
OP, you haven't mentioned schoolfriends. Does she have a group of friends, or a best friend? If not, perhaps she's feeling a little lonely, and lacking confidence. Could a teacher encourage some nice girls in her class to include her a bit?
I wasn't very happy at first in secondary school. I wasn't bullied, but I didn't feel that I made friends very easily. People were perfectly nice to me, but I didn't fit into a group of friends. I didn't hate school as much as your DD, but I didn't enjoy it. In the second year, I met a girl, and we became very good friends, and in turn we made more friends. I really enjoyed school after this.
I am so sorry to hear that both you and your daughter are having such a bad time. I'm sure other posters are right to suggest checking out any possible physical causes, but if it isn't anything along those lines, you should definitely seek counselling or other treatment. My daughter became increasingly unhappy, anxious, panicky from the age of about 13. Lots of 'tummy trouble' meant she missed quite a bit of Year 9 and almost all of Year 10. Of course, your daughter's situation is different, but what still stings for me is that both the school counsellor and the psychologist at CAMHS said I should have asked for help earlier - in hindsight, I was worried that a lot of her behaviour was attention seeking and that if it were suggested to her that she was suffering from some sort of mental illness, that it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Now, I rather feel that she was attention seeking because she needed attention, and that it was impossible for her to articulate her problems. She is 16 now and thank God much much better, but no longer in school (we took her out at the end of Year 10) and after 18 months of sessions with a psychologist she is on anti-depressants, so it has had and continues to have profound consequences for her. I don't want to alarm you, and I'm sorry I can't be more comforting, but I do think you should ask for help from the school and from your GP - the good news is that people will probably be more sympathetic than you think. Good luck and do let us know how you get on.
When my ex and I split up, in a quite prolonged and traumatic way, my daughters became really clingy and almost seemed to compete with each other about who could be the illest and have time off school. They were much younger, but it was a definite sign that their world was just really tough and they wanted blankie time on the sofa and to blot out reality. Let's be honest, who doesn't feel like that?
It would be perfectly normal for your DD to feel a little shaky and panicky during a difficult time. But let me be really clear - if she is reacting badly to your marriage break up, this doesn't make it your fault. We all have challenges and joys to deal with, and we generally do. So, get her counselling if it's available, or just hold her hand and help her through it. Of she screws up Year 10, she can do it again. She just needs to know you love her and that no matter how rocky things are, you will be there. Which you will. We worry about school, but exam failure due to problems outside school can be easily put right. Just focus on her,and you too. You can't expect her to be happy, when her beloved Mum is clearly unhappy too. Be kind to her, tell her you love her, be kind to yourself and you will get through this. It gets better, I promise
Really great advice given. I agree with ruling out physical illness or bullying and then trying to get some counselling and/or cbt.
I really would like to echo another poster by saying if she needs attention and tlc then give it to her. Don't fear that you are drawing attention to it or encouraging her. Give her time. Don't push her to do too much for the time being. Spoil her with love and patience (I'm sure it's hard sometimes) and keep her close. Her strength will grow in time. Listen to her and keep the lines of communication open.
Sorry to hear about the end of your relationship.
Be kind to yourselves. A little bit of pampering, something indulgent, it a day out (doesn't have to be expensive) could do you all the world of good.
What does the school say?
Is she being bullied?
Sorry you're all going through a rough patch.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.