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My daughter and school anxiety

(14 Posts)
OnMyWhistle Tue 31-Oct-17 13:17:24

DD is about to turn 15. Up until the end of the summer she was a child who loved school, near 100% attendance and was doing well. Since the start of sept - year 10 - she has developed terrible anxiety at being in the school environment. She has barely been there as she just cannot stop crying - she says she feels sick and anxious and like she needs to escape.

I have spoken to her about this repeatedly- she says it’s not the work/friends/teachers, just that she hates it and cannot cope. I’ve taken her to the doctor who was sympathetic but said help needs to be via the school. DD refused the blood test she was offered to rule out anything medical. Her pastoral head has spoken with her and myself and let all her subject teachers know she is struggling but of course she says ultimately DD needs to be in school. Recently they offered (2 staff members) to come and collect her from home which made DD near hysterical- I did eventually get her there that day.

Any advice on how on earth to deal with this? She was up til 3am crying last night and looks awful today. I don’t know whether I should be forcing her there (feels awful and wrong) and hoping it’s just a phase - I’m really worried about her mental health long term - help!

crazydaisy12 Tue 31-Oct-17 13:37:34

Have you spoke to SENCO ?
Try young minds parent helpline and website. They also did a Fb live on School refusal. Sen May give her the emotional support.
Mine refused school after Sen being involved and my plan done he’s back everyday ( anxiety & bullying later found out dyslexia too !) problems mainly due to social anxiety, is it the work load maybe ?

OnMyWhistle Tue 31-Oct-17 17:10:23

Thank you crazy - I don’t think it’s the workload no. I have had a quick browse on the young minds website - I think I’ll call them tmrw. Also good idea re the senco- pastoral head is nice but hasn’t come up with any real suggestions as to how to help so far.

Gymntonic Tue 31-Oct-17 17:47:58

CBT based approaches can be very effective for school- based anxiety. Ask your senco if school have access to a psychologist/ therapist or school counsellor. Or try googling moodcafe and moodjuice (NHS Scotland) self help materials for anxiety to help you and her develop a shared understanding of what she is experiencing. Explain to her that school avoidance is a natural response to anxiety but, in the longer run, will make her more anxious about going into school. That's why school are asking her to come in - they're not being cruel.
A sympathetic TA / ELSA trained TA might also be available in school to talk your DD through self-help approaches and relaxation techniques if other help not available. Good luck

Gymntonic Tue 31-Oct-17 17:49:46

You could also certainly try relaxation techniques at home - yoga, focused breathing, muscled clench and relaxation exercises.

GreenTulips Tue 31-Oct-17 17:53:02

My son has been the same

I have sat in his room until he's ready to go
Any suggestion of not going is met with a 'you need to be in school'
I have been late to work, the others late to school
He has sat in an office refusing to move - but I've got him there.

It's been going in weeks and every day hets easier

Jeannie78 Tue 31-Oct-17 17:56:22

I work in a large secondary school. Occasionally students do go through this - you do know that you can choose to electively home-school her for a while, don't you? All you have to do is call your local County Council and tell them this is what you intend to do. They will carry out a few safeguarding checks and then her current school will be able to take her off roll. We have had this over the years with one or two students and what seems to happen is that they get the space they need to recover and then after a few months (not more than a year) they seem to want to come back to school. Of course, i realise that this may not be practical for you, or an option you'd like to pursue, but I thought it worth mentioning.

OnMyWhistle Tue 31-Oct-17 18:09:57

Thank you so much these suggestions are so helpful - I’m making note of things to try. DD already crying at the thought of tmrw morning 😢

Gymntonic Tue 31-Oct-17 18:17:37

Maybe see if she'll let you read the moodjuice booklet to her to show that she isn't alone in feeling this. May help calm her. Then try to relax her - head massage, cuddle, face music. Go gently alongside her. Don't be tempted to tell her not to worry just tell her that she's gorgeous and strong and together you'll find a way through. Ask her what would help tomorrow morning. What does she want you to do?
Moodgym is also an Australian online programme with some decent feedback. Another thing to Google. I can't figure out links sorry.

Fekko Tue 31-Oct-17 18:23:04

Poor kid - is she in an exam year? Has anything changed at home or school? Can she put her finger on what is upsetting her?

OnMyWhistle Tue 31-Oct-17 18:40:45

Thank you Gym.
Fekko the only thing different at home is that DS left for uni in sept. They didn’t have a lot to do with each other so pretty sure it’s not that - I suppose she could be missing him, though she would never admit that. She doesn’t know herself what the problem is, so says she can’t explain it to me, therefore I’m clutching at straws really. Start of year 10 so no exams looming just yet.

partystress Tue 31-Oct-17 18:48:17

Feel for you OP. We are having similar struggles with Y9 DD. She can't really tell us why she hates school so much, but every morning cries and begs us to not make her go. Had a good meeting with a learning mentor, but DD is reluctant to follow up - I think there is a bit of a stigma. Thanks to PP for the moodjuice recommendation. It looks very helpful. I think a lot of her anxiety stems from feeling constantly judged and in fear of being exposed or put in an embarrassing situation. Really feel for her, but also finding it totally draining to start every day with battles and negativity.

peachy94 Tue 31-Oct-17 19:04:38

This was me in school, I had extreme anxiety about going in which was made worse by the fact that when I did go in I would be called out by my classmates which made me feel worse massive catch 22. I would be up all night then refuse to get up in the morning, cry scream shout, have panic attack’s about it, in year 10 I had 30% attendance and missed the entire summer term. It developed into being afraid to leave the house at all literally the only times I went outside for months was going between my mum and dads houses. I ended up really depressed and on anti depressants and seeing a psychiatrist. GCSE years can be really stressful, are there any issues at school with bullying or falling out with her friends? How is her mood generally about other things if your worried Go back to your GP and try and get a referral to camhs. Looking back god only knows what my mum and dad must have gone through with me

crazydaisy12 Tue 31-Oct-17 19:08:00

If you go on young mind post on Fb and do some comment surfing on the refusal posts and other ones I compiled an email with all the info I learnt, within a few hours of me sending that email I had senco head on the phone. The difference ( if it’s anxiety ) sen department can have is amazing. If my DS gets stressed he has a card he can flash the teacher and finish his lesson on Sen, gives him the opportunity to try but bail which takes the anxiety away.

I was you few weeks ago. It’s still not easy but I know when he’s there he has the staff to support him where before I felt so lonely and the begging texts to come Home broke me, I send his senco leader an email when he starts so she can check on him as he finds it hard to explain even to Sen - that’s his dyslexia , he gets muddled and confused .

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