Help! Year 12 stress meltdown!(18 Posts)
My dd always used to take the pressures of school in her stride, but towards the end of her GCSE year she started to buckle. Her final results were good, but in a few key subjects were a lot less than predicted. She described how she panicked in one exam and was in tears when it was over. She got a D on that paper, but thankfully the As she'd achieved in coursework and another exam pulled her up. Now in Year 12 and in a new, very competitive school, her anxiety has really started to build to the point that she says she doesn't see the point of it all, doesn't care anymore, nothing interests her and she just wants to sleep all the time. Her high achieving school has put her on a contract because of her attendance and attitude in class (this is from a girl who always had fantastic reports from her teachers at her previous school). The Head of Year 12 told us that if she breaks the contract I.e continues to come into school late, mucks about in class etc. she'll be asked to leave. And we're still only in the first term! My Dh and I are beside ourselves with worry. How could she change so much in such a short time, from the conscientious little girl who loved to learn, to a stressed out teenager who seems to have lost all enjoyment of school, all motivation and ambition for the future. She used to want to be a palaeontologist, a marine biologist, a zoologist! Now she says she doesn't care and doesn't feel "passionate" about anything. What can I do to help her? What can she do to cope with the stress? Have other parents been through this with their Year 12 children and come though the other side?
I will be following this thread with interest as I'm going through something similar with DS1. He started Sixth Form College this year. He has said he just wants to sleep even when he's not actually tired, to get away from it all. When things came to a head and he said he didn't want to college the next day, I pointed out that he doesn't have to attend as it's not school but the college will expect him to leave if he doesn't. He has now decided that he doesn't want to leave the college so is focussing on getting in each day and doing what he has to do. Our current mantra is "one day at a time". He has put previous career plans to rest and is not doing the additional reading etc that would be helpful at this stage but his psychological health is the priority right now.
I think that hormones, the pressure of the new move and general self-consciousness are making life difficult for him and probably many at this stage of life. I also think it's confusing for them as everyone suddenly expects them to act like independent adults, after a lifetime of being treated like the kids they were and still are in many ways.
I just asked my dd what would she say if this was happening to her friend (she is in y12, but stayed in the same school for 6th form so has her friendship group for support) and she said - she can barely cope.
I know she found it very stressful and I am trying very hard so that home is calm and no arguments or any unnecessary changes are happening.
I would say if her attendance suffers then it would be very hard for her to keep up with her studies.
Would school be open for her to drop 1 subject so she does 3 of them?
If my dd had any problems with catching up I would straight away hire tutors so that the gap she is experiencing isn't growing. THey are expected to learn a lot (most of the stuff tbh) by themselves. Teachers provide guidance.
Can you contact school and see each of her teachers this week?
What subjects has your dd chosen for her A levels?
I think there a few telltale signs here that your DD is not a good fit with this school. You say she had a D in a paper where she cried. Her results in some subjets were not as good as expected yet she is at a competitive high achieving school for 6th form. Was this really a good choice for someone who was already showing stress at GCSEs? A lot of young people breeze GCSEs in this type of school and are very well prepped for A level. It may be that your DD is not really coping and is shutting down (sleeping) or using diversionary tactics (messing about) to get through the day.
I would talk to the school immediately because clearly this cannot continue and you need to sort out a way forward for her.
My dad had major stress issues in yr 12 but as school knew her they were helpful. How does she relax? Sport? Music? She has so much to handle.
Does she have friends ? Talk to school- try and find some things to help- quiet room to work etc. and let her know you love her!!
Would it be possible to return to her old school? I think moving schools after GCSE can be a mistake given the jump in workload on top of the stress of making new friends.
Can you make a practical arrangement with her to tide her over this rough patch? How about saying that she must attend school, every day, on time and behave well. She must complete all class work and homework set but that is it.
No extra pressure to achieve any particular grade. No hours and hour of study. Absolutely no homework on Friday nights, instead she gets to relax or choose a treat - cinema, choose a dvd to watch at home, hang out with friends, for example. Let her off chores or extra activities if she wants to drop them so that she can rest and recharge as much as possible.
Is there anything else going on that could be bothering her? The lack of interest could be due to loss of confidence or it could be that she feels she doesn't fit in. What are her friendships and relationships with others like?
Also, is she physically well, eating ok, sleeping, not gaining/losing weight dramatically, wearing baggy clothes, being unusually listless or 'out of it'? Try to help her understand that home is a safe place where she won't be blamed or judged and see if she opens up a bit more.
Are people allowed to advertise on here like this tutor guy? I thought there was a MN law against such things.
Out of interest, in the few key areas were her GCSE grades were a lot less than predicted, were you aware that the grades would be heading this way or was it a shock on results day? Also, was it her choice to go to a very competitive school? Why did she leave her old school? Did it not have a sixth form? Also, have the school not offered her any help? Counselling or other support? This must be hugely stressful for you.
What subjects is she doing?
Lots of kids find the jump in STEM subjects from GCSE to A level very hard
I am with those wondering why she changed to this very competitive school for 6th form? If her old school has a 6th form, would returning there be a possibility even at this stage? DS1 is also in Yr 12 and while he's not sinking, the step up from Yr 11 has certainly been a shock. However, the great thing for him is that he stayed at his existing school in a 6th form of only 150 and once teachers noticed that he was becoming disorganised, seeming to lose interest etc they were on the phone to me and have him in for weekly meetings with his form tutor and HOY. They are doing this in a supportive, rather then critical way and I am very grateful and it seems to be helping. The problem with a new school is that teachers can only go on what they see in front of them.
If she is going to stay at this school, do you think you will be able to work with them so they realise your daughter is struggling rather than not caring and being disruptive?
A structured and balanced study programme throughout the year will solve the problem. The selling point is having a life and be able to complete all school work too. Two key aspects to successful learning are repetition of material with links to past paper questions plus distributed practice-having equal time for all subjects. I would be happy to give more advice having helped many students with this common situation over the past 10 years
There is and my apologies. This has now been rectified between myself and mumsnet.
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