Sinking --- 16yr son drops out of 6th form

(43 Posts)
tinyshoes Fri 08-Feb-13 22:43:49

Has anyone the same experience please and tips at how to deal with this situation. We are so worried and time is just drifting with only marginal improvements? .........

Our bright 16yr (twin) son has had to leave his 6th form. He has a string of GCSE's all at A* and an AS level taken early. He is certainly suffering from anxiety – his concerns a mixture of ‘what’s the point of education/don't know what I want to do with my life/disillusioned with the UK education system - has become an exam factory rather than the thrill of learning that he had before GCSE's /wanting to get to university fast and then not at all..... and a whole host of all the usual teenage issues about society, parents uselessness etc ...... angry with the world and especially me his mum. It was a question of leave school or be kicked out with a poor reference .

He has gone from being outward going; very much liked at school ( and now missed); stopped his gymnastics( he has never been able to sit still); stays indoors; sees almost no one as a result; stopped reading; has short attention and can’t recall simple requests to do things; won’t talk about anything ;is unable to be self motivated in anything....to all intense and purposes acting as far as we can tell depressed.

He has been home since October and literally has spent almost everyday since (unless we take him out ) in the front room on his pc (if we take it away we have extremely anxious and angry behaviour and we have been advised not to but to ‘ distract’ him away from it – he was reading about all sorts of things but also other dross that we did not approve of- he now makes sure the history is lost so we can’t see what he has been doing ).

We have involved the psychiatrists’ as some of his behaviour early on was OCD – but they have said he is not mentally ill just over anxious. He has had a course of CBT which helped a bit – his anger has calmed a little. He looks as though he may be able to get back regularly to just helping with gymnastic coaching for a few hours a week (rather than training as he was) and this week he has done a few more things with his Dad ( who is hoem full time) eg swimming, fitting lights on his bike, cooking a meal. But we are getting no help or guidance as to how to help our son – we are just doing what feels right to get him involved in other things.

He seems to have no intention of going back to school but wants to ‘learn’, or to get a job of any sort part time or full time ; we have suggested an apprenticeship and tried unsuccessfully a 6th form college; if we pursue this more logically ‘adult way of thinking he gets angry and threatens leaving home . .

We see a boy who had so many opportunities starting to close down - he says he is bored but does nothing to change the situation - not much can come from sitting in 4 square walls.

We have been able to keep his place at his old school for him to return to in September and at the 6th form college. But that is a long way away and meantime he is in that room ... doing nothing except surfing the net on god knows what ........ We just hope this burns itself out and a light will go back on – in time for him to slot back into the education system in September.

I work full time and am aften away from home ; I am distracted by this - feel like 'my baby is drowning' and I don't know how best to protect him from himself when he had such a rosy easy future ahead of him. I know its a tiny time in a lifetime so far but now I'd thought is the time to explore and enjoy life while still at home ...... feel he is missing so much ..... with no plan, aimless. .... and not growing up. And yet depressed maybe??

What else can we do - for him and for us so we don’t add to the anxiety ( it has been pretty fraught as we tried to understand all this .... and to make sure his brother isn’t ignored and worried ) ?

Thanks for any tips at all

Distraughtmum1205 Wed 15-Feb-17 22:05:06

Thanks all, I spoke to CAMHS today, and are getting him in know an emergency appointment. He's been rooting around looking for antidepressants that he used to take and taking them to try and feel better. My OH just seem to argue about the situation, maybe I'm more 'softer' being his mum but I can't help it.
It's awful seeing your child not only potentially throw his future out of the window but also seeing his mental health decline to the point that he's hitting walls and damaging his hand (he's a very very passive boy normally) paving back and forth, my 6ft son sobbing on my shoulder like a baby is killing me 😢😢 xxxx

MEgirl Wed 15-Feb-17 20:28:27

Oops, didn't notice it's a Zombie.

Blossomdeary Wed 15-Feb-17 19:31:54

Please do not start despairing as he will pick up in this and everything will become far worse.

Tell him has made a sensible decision in the light of his MH problems and how he is feeling about education at the moment ,nd that clearly the academic route is not for him just now. Back him up; help him to have confidence in his own ability to make decisions. Get by his side through all this.

There are lots of other educational routes to a satisfying career and he needs to have your help to research these.

TheSecondOfHerName Wed 15-Feb-17 19:27:24

The OP's son is now 20. The thread was resurrected by another poster who has found themselves in a very similar situation.

omnishamblesssssssssssssss Wed 15-Feb-17 18:32:32

You can always homeschool. Do A levels on line

omnishamblesssssssssssssss Wed 15-Feb-17 18:31:46

Yes cold turkey with screens and only limited access

What's he insterested in? What about vouluntarty work in a couple of areas he's interested in?

MEgirl Wed 15-Feb-17 18:23:37

Tiny, I hope you don't mind me asking whether you are paying for private treatment or are getting help through CAMHS. I could write an almost identical post to yourself. One twin dropped out last year, went back this year and is doing better than ever. The second is spiraling and we can't get help for him. He's been on the CAMHS waiting list for psychotherapy for over 6 months despite his psychiatrist saying that it is urgent. If we go private CAMHS will discharge him. I'm really lost and don't know how to find help for him. We're trying to find a way through the muddle but are not getting anywhere.

jalopy Wed 15-Feb-17 18:12:26

Many thanks, TheSecond.

TheSecondOfHerName Wed 15-Feb-17 18:09:03

Specific support thread for parents of Y12 students who are struggling academically or otherwise:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/secondary/2850112-Is-there-a-support-thread-for-parents-of-struggling-year-12s

TheSecondOfHerName Wed 15-Feb-17 18:07:31

General thread for parents of any Y12 of any ability (UUU to AA*A*, or DD*D for those doing BTEC):

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/further_education/2759873-Year-12-first-half-term-DONE

jalopy Wed 15-Feb-17 18:00:45

Where is the support thread for Y12's? Thanks

TheSecondOfHerName Wed 15-Feb-17 10:05:48

Please do come and join us on the support thread for parents of Y12s who are struggling. It helps to not feel so alone.

TheSecondOfHerName Wed 15-Feb-17 10:04:06

My son is coping much better now that he is on a modified timetable (he is allowed to do short days on the days when he has fewer lessons). When I initially asked for this, the school weren't keen, but they agreed to adjust his timetable when the consultant at CAMHS mentioned it in a letter. If you can get a medical professional to put in writing that your son needs a modified timetable for medical reasons, the school might be more likely to accommodate it.

Distraughtmum1205 Wed 15-Feb-17 09:25:55

Thanks he was under CAMHS for severe OCD and anxiety, they discharged him a couple of months ago but he has relapsed badly over the last couple of weeks so will ring them.
The school have refused to let him out between lessons (sometimes only has one a day) which is really stressing him out as he spends hours alone which he can't cope with at all. They don't seem sympathetic at all :-(
I don't know how to help him.
Thanks for your message, I will call camhs today smile xxx

TheSecondOfHerName Wed 15-Feb-17 09:09:44

In the meantime, there is a support thread here

TheSecondOfHerName Wed 15-Feb-17 09:08:21

OK, I have some experience of this, and this is what helped my son:
1. Get him to go to the GP and explain that he isn't coping. They may be able to help, or refer to CAMHS.
2. Ask the school for a meeting with his head of year or the head of sixth form, and ask them what they plan to do to help him. For example, allowing him to drop a subject, allowing him to do his A-levels over three years instead of two, or allowing him to go home when he has a block of free periods.

If his GCSEs were good enough to get into the sixth form, then the FE college should allow him to start in September. Plenty of young people start sixth form only to find that A-levels aren't for them.

If he does decide to drop out, try to encourage him to do something constructive with his time until September, e.g. voluntary work, MOOCs (online courses) or a Prince's Trust course.

Distraughtmum1205 Wed 15-Feb-17 07:58:46

He's is at 6th form but is late everyday as he has motivation, they have put him on attendance report as he disappears half the day. The college won't take him til September but I'm concerned they won't at all because his performance in 6th form.
He is so so miserable :-( xxx

TheSecondOfHerName Tue 14-Feb-17 21:59:10

Distraughtmum sorry to hear that your son is struggling / unwell. Is he currently enrolled at school or college?

Distraughtmum1205 Tue 14-Feb-17 21:29:37

I'm sorry to drag up an old thread (it came up through Google) but the original post I could have written word for word! Just wondered what the outcome was for Tinyshoes son as I desperately need advice help for my son 😭😭 xxx

ElectricSheep Mon 15-Apr-13 00:34:32

Tinyshoes can I ask, how is your son now?

My DS 17, is going through something similar. I don't think he's depressed but I think he is going to drop out of AS levels and sixth form. I'm worried sick and looking for ways to get through to him. Any tips by any chance?

tinyshoes Thu 07-Mar-13 18:22:17

mindfulmum, thanks for this advice. What I am hearing from everyone is don't fret so re education having to happen now -and let him find his own time (and accept that it may be not at all - although I sincerely hope not as I think it will waste his talent and be a missed opportunity ) .

CAT starts next week ...... he is arranging himslef- a good sign I think /hope? and will eb seeing GP again at end of March as a check - will rememebr CBT request.

many thanks.

mindfulmum Thu 28-Feb-13 00:53:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

beachyhead Wed 27-Feb-13 23:52:32

Thanks for your post, I'm glad things are looking a little more positive.

It will be interesting to see how his twin reacts and helps during the next few months.

Good luck and thoughts with you.

tinyshoes Wed 27-Feb-13 22:25:05

To let everyone know -- have used all this great advice to extent that DH and I can get our heads around our sons' position better and have way foreward - or at least hope and the realisation that all is not lost -far from it -we have a good son and our parental challenges are nothing compared to his challenge and what other parents have to deal with . Saw Doctor again on 18th and son now going to try CAT - cognitive analytical therapy - more actvie than CBT.Son taking charge of it( he didn't with CBT - he was incapable of doing anyting much then ) So will see what comes of that . Funny enough son asked for more meat( red) and feels he is low on iron( has he been reading up?).... so trying a better diet and the idea of Floraxin and d3.Getting more exercise in too - seems to be helping ..... will let you know how goes .... cross fingers ... hopefuly and positive now .... not putting time frame on ... so very hard for me ...... but trying to take care of me and wider family and friends to take care of him . Thank you all.

beachyhead Tue 12-Feb-13 23:25:17

I read your thread earlier and really feel for you.

He's gone into a meltdown and it's hard for you to bring him out of it.

I think, if you can find a quiet time, to sit down and emphasise how much you are on his team, to say that it doesn't matter what he does, but that you want to offer him some help to move on from the current stage.

I think the suggestion of your dh having a period of exercise with him every morning is great.

If he's open to it, I would look at setting out a plan with him. This should incorporate doctors to investigate depression, any voluntary work he feels he could do in the next six months, any trips/events that he wants to go to (like festivals etc), just taking the pressure off the whole concept of A levels or higher education.

I appreciate that he might not want to talk to anyone, but there might be someone who he can talk to, I think you need to stress to him who he might be happy to talk to. I know my ds is a very different age (preteen), but when we took him to a homeopath, it all suddenly rushed out.

He has time on his side, being so young, so if you can say that it would be better to sort this now, it will make his life so much easier later.

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