Dd14 loathes school. How to help?(9 Posts)
Dd14 is going through stage of loathing school and doing all she can to avoid going. She has friends there and isn't being bullied, but there are a group of really bitchy girls in her classes and she says she feels intimidated by them and feels stressed constantly by what they might do, even though they are no worse to her than anyone else. School have a very bad track record of dealing with issues - their answer to everything is to get the people concerned in and say this isn't good enough and you have to all be friends, and that's all! So I am reluctant to talk to anyone at school, especially as she is adamant that will not help and at least she is talking to me about it all at the moment. She is horribly intolerant of her brother, but I think as a knock on effect of the stress from school, in a kind of, I've had a bad day so I'll kick the cat kind of way. But that means home life can be a bit stressy too. What can I do? It's killing me to see her so unhappy and feel so powerless to help.
My ds 13, became quite ill last year through stress at school. It was a combination of issues, many similar to those of your dd, but some others which were of his own making. With hindsight I don't think I was listening to him, in the way that you are with your dd, when he was trying to tell me how unhappy he was. Because of this he began truanting a lot and became ill trying to cope on his own. Things reached a head one evening when he engaged in some quite bizarre behaviour (I won't say what as he would be mortified if he knew I was sharing that info).
At that point I took him out of school and he had six weeks as home with me. There was no way he was going to be able to cope back at the same school so I had to sort out for him to start afresh at a new school.
He has learnt from the mistakes he made at his last school and although he still finds the social side of school stressful he's managing.
My sons had some counselling input and in their opinion dh and I were wrong to remove him from that school as that's teaching him to run away from situations he finds difficult and instead we should have encouraged him to "be brave" and learn that he has to get along with people whether or not he likes them.
I honestly don't know if we did right or wrong, but as you say it's hard to see your child unhappy, home life does suffer too, our son turned into this creature that I hardly recognised. Since he's moved schools he's happier than he was and is back to his old self.
I appreciate though that moving schools is a huge step and may be not what your dd wants.
I have offered a school change but she is pretty realistic and knows that there are bitchy girls in every school, and at least at this school she has friends.
I guess I just feel let down by the school. They handle things so badly that Dd is paranoid about talking to anyone there at all. It is normal for them to announce to bully "so-and-so says you've done such a thing. What have you to say?" and then wonder why no one wants to tell them things!
Glad to hear things are working better for your son. I have thought to myself that I don't want to teach her to run away from things, but equally, I don't at all like the thort of her having to be Ian situation she loathes, day after day.
You say that your daughter isn't being bullied. Are you sure that she isn't just ashamed to admit that she is actually being victimised by the bitchy girls?
I think if she is not being bullied then you might have to keep digging to figure out what the trouble is. If she is being bullied, I really disagree with the not changing schools advice from the councillor. I have known several children (one of them mine) who changed schools because of bullying, and they have all been MUCH happier (completely fine) in their new schools.
The one child I know whose parents kept trying to get her to go into a bad situation has ended up with a severe social phobia, unable to go to school at all, and struggling with any interaction with more than 2 or 3 other children. Her current highly qualified and experienced private therapist has a lot of criticism of CAHMS and CBT as a way of dealing with a serious school refusal.
When children are bullied, they are in a very vulnerable state, and they can't pull themselves out of the role that the other kids are forcing them into.
Yes, it was a CAMHS psychiatrist that said we were wrong to change ds school.
Y9 or Y10?
If Y9 it might be possible to change schools, but option groups will already have been allocated.
Y10 would not make sense unless she was being very badly bullied.
If she's in Y9 does she know if she's in GCSE groups with the bitchy girls next and can school mix the groups about a bit.
DD1 has had a much easier time in Y10 as most of her classes now want to work. Her we're not doing this next year MFL class, DT, music, drama etc were awful.
Also does she do anything at lunch time, DD1 manages to avoid the less pleasant members of here peer group at various activities.
However, if she is actually refusing to go to school you need to get school on side and that generally depends on getting the right person, not always the person who's job it is.
DDs form teacher is hopeless, the SENCO is great.
Well, I don't think bullying is the issue, as she has told me about various unpleasantnesses in inflammatoriesthe past. She's Yr 9 and we are waiting to find out about options for next year, but I am hopeful that we will lose a lot of the crappy girls next year when she's only doing the subjects she has chosen. I think she takes tiny things to heart and dwells on them too much, and if she's feeling stressed because of too much work etc, it all gets her down, and then she begins to feel like she can't cope. I'm trying to make sure she gets enough sleep (another issue with her!) and I'm trying to be positive and build in plenty of things outside of the school day to take her mind off it. It is exhausting though!
Can't really offer much advice, but although my situation is a bit different from yours, I really can empathise. My DD is 18 and in her last year at school, and to cut a long story short, has been totally isolated by a horrible group of girls. She, like your DD, is doing everything possible to avoid going.
My DD is also being intolerant of her sisters- snaps and has zero patience- and I'm finding the situation so tough even though I don't blame her for it. She looks exhausted from the daily 'walking on eggshells' and I, like you said, hate seeing her so unhappy.
I suppose this is just a virtual hand-hold, because I know how awful it is to watch your girl unhappy and not be able to do anything. All I can say is, stick at it until the end of the year and try and make home time as relaxing as possible. Also, does your DD have one teacher in particular she gets on with/trusts, and could maybe seek a bit of reassurance from during the day? I know for my girl, one teacher has been fab, and she knows if things get bad she can bolt up to her classroom instead of locking herself in a toilet cubicle!! If you think this might work, perhaps a phone call or meeting with said teacher just to get them onside? I know it reassures my DD that there's somebody at school if she needs it.
Such a horrid situation. Sending you and your DD lots of luck.
Thanks Kate, so sorry to hear about your daughter's experience-it's horrid isn't it? I guess at least your daughter will be finished with school soon? Although I know that doesn't make it any easier while she's still going through it.
My Dd does have friends who feel the same way as she does, and I don't think it is a specific thing she dreads, more the possibilities of what could happen. She has slept well this weekend and seems more positive as a result! Roll on summer!
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