11 year old hating secondary school - anxiety
rebeccaeve27 · 23/02/2021 20:15
My 11 year old son started year 7 in September at first he seemed to be really enjoy going to ‘big school’ but then slowly I noticed the enthusiasm declined but I just assumed it was normal.
When asking him about his new friends and who he hangs about with at break time he told me he doesn’t hang around with anyone he just stands on his own. Immediately I worried and asked why and if he was being bullied his answer was ‘no I just like being on my own’ so I thought ok fair enough will not make a big deal of it.
Then yesterday I told him the news of possibly going back to school as of 8th March, and he broke down in tears saying he didn’t want to go back, said he preferred home schooling when I asked him why at first he wouldn’t say, but eventually after talking with him he told me he hates being in class because it’s too loud all the time and the boys in his class (it’s an all boys school) are messing around all the time and he hates it as he can’t concentrate and he said he can’t stand the noise (since being a baby he’s always hated loud noises so this wasn’t new)
He also then told me that he has witnessed a couple of fights and one of them bought on a panic attack which he had to leave the classroom for, when I said the word ‘fight’ he shook his head and hands and said don’t mention the word.
Also it turns out he stays on his own at break time because he doesn’t like how the other boys behave and it makes him nervous so he stays out the way.
He said if he could just be on his own all the time and just do the work on his own he would be happy because then there would be nothing to worry about.
He is quite an anxious, shy kid in general but I just hate the thought of him going to school feel anxious and under pressure.
It’s worried me sick and I do not know what to do, I don’t want him going back in March hating life and him being anxious all the time, I’ve tried to get in touch with his teacher today I’ve asked her to call me back to see if she can help or if there is anything I can do.
Any advice would be much appreciated
BunnyRuddington · 24/02/2021 08:21
No advice sorry but I think you've done the right thing in trying to contact his teacher. If you don't get a response today I'd try his Head of Year.
Aussieadopter · 24/02/2021 09:59
Did he get on better with girls in primary school? Could he change to a co-ed school?
Grapesoda7 · 24/02/2021 10:05
I think co-ed may suit him better. My son is similar, his group of friends are mainly girls with a few like minded boys. I don't think he would manage in a single sex school.
How was he at primary school?
If he's witnessed some fights, maybe he feels that he could become a victim and it on high alert with his anxiety when he's in school?
I hope he's feeling better soon and that you find a way forward.
HowLongTo2022 · 24/02/2021 10:16
Our son started in September and is feeling similarly. He has got some friends but he’s always been reactive and sensitive to what other kids would just view as normally teasing and not be bothered by. We found the Nice guidelines for signs and symptoms of autism in adolescents which has a list of signs for secondary school children in the appendix. Whilst I wouldn’t think our son would necessarily be considered as hitting the threshold for autism, he definitely has a lot of the traits they listed to some degree. We’re having an online catch up before he goes back with his head of year and hopefully also the Senco before he goes back to ask for their help. His reactivity can make him react in ways he later regrets and I’m sure autism strategies will help him with this. He’s fine at home and was at primary school too because the adults are on hand to assist but he needs to try and learn skills himself to get through secondary school. It will get easier again when he leaves school because as adults it is easier (usually) to step away from people who deliberately antagonise you.
We’re also speaking online to a mental health in school practitioner (who I know through as a friend’s child has dyslexia tutoring with her) this week. She is going to do an assessment and report for school. She can’t do an autism assessment so I will speak to school about whether they can refer or that or recommend an independent route.
In normal times, I would recommend suggesting he tries the lunchtime clubs as they will be more structured and the other kids behaviour will be more controlled but that won’t be possible just yet till restrictions are lifted and clubs can start again.
It has made my heart ache to see our own struggle and I struggled for similar reasons myself at secondary school so I’m determined to get him the right support if I can.
Good luck with it all. Secondary schools are much more aware of these situations and equipped to offer the right support than when we were at school.
HowLongTo2022 · 24/02/2021 10:21
May not be relevant for you but this is the list that we found very useful in case it is of use to you or others.
janlevinson · 27/02/2021 19:11
Sounds horrific to be in this situation as a child. I don't blame him for not wanting to go back. I would speak to school as soon as possible and flag this up so the ball is rolling before he returns . They will have strategies to help. He may have glue ear/hyperacusis or sensory processing difficulties so a call to the GP might be wise too. Hope you get it sorted. My heart was breaking reading that 😢
BunnyRuddington · 07/03/2021 08:38
How are things today @rebeccaeve27? Is he due back in school tomorrow?
rebeccaeve27 · 09/03/2021 12:41
Thank you for your kind messages and support ☺️
He is due back on Friday, the school are staggering the years, he’s got to go for a covid test tomorrow afternoon too before going back.
Didn’t manage to get hold of his form tutor in the end, but spoke to the assistant head of house today and explained everything, she said that he’s not the only boy and there is a few who have struggled with the transition from primary to school to secondary school because of pandemic, because of this they have set up a support group for these boys which offers counselling and coping mechanisms ect.. so she’s going to organise a chat with him when he goes back Friday with his form tutor and see what the best support for him is going forward, I also mentioned about him beginning to have panic attacks and she said again that panic attacks in boys his age are common and that they offer them these passes for them to leave classroom if needed and taken themselves to the house office to speak to someone if needed, so she’s going to offer him that too and discuss it.
Also asked about lunch clubs ect.. however due to pandemic they’re still not offering them but hopefully will be something set up in future once everything eases as they did them prior.
So fingers crossed! I’ve discussed all what was said with my son and he says he feels a little bit better but we will see how it all pans out hopefully this chat they have with him on Friday works out well.
@HowLongTo2022 I hope your son is ok and the support you have got for him works out, thank you for your advise and the website I have had a look at it.
I’ve managed to not cry in front of my son when we have been discussing it and keep my strong mum head on in front of him so he doesn’t worry about me worrying, but when I spoke to the teacher at school today I was in bits 🙈 kids ehh? Definitely gets harder as they get older
Thanks again everyone for your messages xxx
Lilactimes · 17/03/2021 22:33
I really hope things improve for your son. I have a daughter in a new sixth form college who’s struggling going back and it’s heart breaking. Whilst she quite liked her secondary school, she also had parts of certain years where she hated it and school refused. She was always very happy on Primary so it was a shock when she hated school. In retrospect I really wish I’d moved my daughter when she was unhappy early on in secondary. Many many people move in secondary school. Your boy sounds lovely, kind and gentle and perhaps a school with more girls could be better. It may be worth looking at others and trying to sign up now so he can start in September?
Anyway I wish you luck and really hope it all works out x
HowLongTo2022 · 17/03/2021 22:39
Hope it’s going ok being back at school. My son is noticeably more settled this time and we’ve also met with his head of year and Senco since he’s started back who’ve both been very supportive.
keepingmindful · 17/03/2021 22:42
My ds is 12 and he is in year 8 and sounds very similar to your son. He started off secondary school quite happily but after the first lockdown was very anxious going back. He is on high alert a lot of times and is convinced he is going to get bullied etc. He says he doesn’t have any friends but he seems to speak to school friends online so not sure about this. School does not have a counsellor and CAHMS were rubbish, we got offered a PowerPoint talk 😳 He has OCD now which is crippling. Not sure where I went wrong, and it’s very upsetting x
CornishPastyDownUnder · 17/03/2021 23:32
@rebeccaeve27 Is there any way you can home-school rather than force him to cope with "counselling sessions" and hall passes for panic attacks-until presumably he toughens up enough to be able to cope!(or builds resilience as the school would put it ).
The problem with schools is that our beautiful, individual children go in with as many different ways of thinking, problem solving, learning interests and ways of learning-and week by week this is eroded by the institutionalism of mass schooling,box ticking and testing.
Many people whose kids have had a sample of homeschooling due to covid have been feeling the same -our facebook page has been flooded with newcomers seeking advice..
Poor mental health and behavioural issues are things I began to notice when banging a square peg into a round hole.. My DC were homeschooled for many years with amazing results-one just won a scholarship to a private school for yr11&12 with50% Spanish immersion(she taught herself for 3 years prior)..the other is on a fast track to uni through a condensed tafe course he studies online-they both have part-time jobs they sourced themselves..I ran a business from home and we travelled whilst they studied. It just worked well given the huge amounts of free time it gave everyone to pursue individual interests.
So imo there are plenty of routes to a quality education-it doesnt have to look like what your son is experiencing..Make sure you place his emotional needs above all else at this crucially important developmental stage and offer up alternatives if you can make it work-he sounds much like my son. Good luck.
MrsToddsShortcut · 30/03/2021 01:10
Keeping Mindful Please don't feel bad. My son is also year 8, hates secondary and is school refusing with OCD that is crippling him. It is breaking g my heart as he is a bright, sweet, de Siri be creative boy, who really hates all the loud boys who he says talk about stabbing each other and porn and he just can't cope with it.
He now says he doesn't want to get older, and is also on the assessment pathway for ASC. The school and education welfare office are being supportive but in a slightly pressurising way, as they are clear they want to get him back as soon as possible, even though CAMHS have said he may well be off for some time.
It's so hard to know what to do for the best and OCD is absolutely awful. Sending
Lilactimes · 02/04/2021 12:03
OP how is your son progressing? I hope he’s settled a bit now? 🙏
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