Mumsnet Logo
Premium

Please
or
to access all these features

Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you need professional help, please contact your GP or local mental health support services.

Child mental health

School anxiety. How to help?

10 replies

ballstoit · 24/08/2021 23:32

Posted in Teens but had no response so trying here instead...

DD (14) has developed high levels of anxiety around going to school.
It started last November, when she was 'frozen' out of her friendship group overnight (still has no idea why).

There was some awful things shared on social media in December (including accusations of incest between her and her brother) and comments about her looks, weight, clothes School promised to sort it after Christmas (this was all in the last week of term) but then there was the lockdown and by March they said it would be best to let things lie.

She is not being bullied now but has lost her confidence with her peers. From March until the end of term she cried most school mornings, begged not to go to school, couldn't eat without retching (she eats twice after school to replace lack of breakfast and lunch) and reports from teachers are that she is silent in class. She made little academic progress last year.

Our GP referred to CAMHS eating disorder team who did a telephone assessment and concludes she has high levels of anxiety but not an eating disorder. CAMHS referred back to GP and she is on a waiting list for an anxiety support group with Relate.

She has seen one friend and her boyfriend regularly over the summer but no one else from school. She has been so happy over the summer - chatty, eating normally, energetic - but she is back to school on Thursday and the last two days she has withdrawn into silence and eating little.

She doesn't want to change school - can't see the point as she doesn't think it will be any better. The only suggestion she has to improve things is to not go to school (she did well during the lockdown with online learning and can't see why she can't do that for the next two years).

I am at a loss - what can I do to help her? I don't want her to spend the next two years at home and can't see how she will get the grades she's capable of at GCSE if she does but she can't spend another two years feeling like this. Any advice will be gratefully received...

OP posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

WonderingFree · 25/08/2021 00:47

I’m in a similar position OP and my 14yo is desperate to stay at home - and saying she will not go back to school. Have had some CAMHS intervention but not nearly enough - mainly thinking to attach going to school to some kind of rewards system but am really worried that she will school refuse. For hers and my well-being staying at home would be awful. During lockdown my 14yo hardly left their room and structure completely disappeared. Wish I had the answers and hope someone who has been through it can advise.

Please
or
to access all these features

CustardyCreams · 25/08/2021 05:19

Are you absolutely sure she isn’t being bullied? She has been, is presumably still, ostracised by a group previously her friends. Being ignored, dirty looks, girls sniggering or eye rolling when they are “forced” to partner with you in school, being made to feel like a social leper. It’s silent, and vicious, and awful if that is happening. It might seem like something you could ignore but the cruelty teenage girls are capable of knows no end.

Please don’t simply force her to attend this school without talking to her . Sure, the disruption of moving school might seem too great, but the misery of being imprisoned in a school, even when she has other friends to turn to, is so damaging.

Things that may help if you insist on still sending her:

Extra curricular activities with a group completely separate to school. Let her see it is possible to escape

Mindful activity like sport, music lessons, cooking

give her space to talk to you, she may be embarrassed to talk about how she feels so try broaching the subject, don’t shy away from it, talking about what those girls did to her and helping her get it in perspective by talking is so important

Please
or
to access all these features

ballstoit · 25/08/2021 06:16

We've talked a lot about how the situation at school and she seems very sure that bullying is no longer the issue. She was very open about what happened before Christmas although she didn't want me to get school involved and I wish I had done so sooner.

I am really confused about what to do for the best. Clearly, she can't spend the next 2 years feeling this miserable. On the other hand, we both work full time and I'm not sure that being home, alone, 5 days a week, is the answer either.

She does not want to go to group extra-curricular activities but does come to the gym with me regularly. We have a large extended family and she enjoys being around her cousins and has good relationships with my parents and two of my siblings so there are several people she talks to.

OP posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

ballstoit · 25/08/2021 06:20

I've asked her to go for 2 weeks and then review together but this may be too long - I'll have to see how things go on Thursday. I wish we could afford for me to work less so she could do part time school or that I could persuade her to move to another school for a fresh start but she is adamant that she doesn't want to. I feel so helpless.

OP posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

Sirzy · 25/08/2021 06:23

If your on fb I can recommend the group
“Not fine in school” for advice and support

Please
or
to access all these features

ballstoit · 25/08/2021 17:16

Thanks Sirzy, I'll take a look

OP posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

jeffersonsam · 12/10/2021 07:36

Lots of children had a mentality to study through online classes, due to so many reason. But this school anxiety is only for short term period, because going to classes in a regular time will change the children mood and also improving their day today activity in a well way.

Please
or
to access all these features

Countblessings · 27/10/2021 07:46

My dd was 13 when her anxiety and panics started with her crying and breathless walking to school, calling me begging to not go in. Very withdrawn and so low which also was impacting life outside school, constantly feeling sick, tired , didn’t want to go out! So She also loved lockdown as no pressure to have to go in or do anything. Have you thought of paying for private counselling? It is not cheap but worth every penny seeing my daughter back to herself and facing her anxieties. She’s seen fortnightly now, she started last October. She’s now 15. Wishing you all the best, it’s heartbreaking watching them struggle.

Please
or
to access all these features

willthatbeall · 06/11/2021 18:19

It can be quite common for autistic girls to present with difficulties like you describe. And they mask well to the detriment of mental health

Please
or
to access all these features

VMJ1 · 08/11/2021 15:24

I agree with willthatbeall - my daughter was very unhappy in the first year at senior school and we subsequently found out she was autistic and couldn't cope. For the sake of her mental health it is well worth doing some research to see if it is worth pursuing. I wish we'd known about presentation of autism in girls before it had such an impact on my daughter.

Please
or
to access all these features
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?