school refusers

a resource for parents 

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Mental Wellbeing
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staying sane

am new to this site.

my 13 year old hasnt been to school at all now since january. she rarely leave the house and is very un co operative. she has many problems as she is adopted and very traumatised. She has had a long history of struggling at school and outside the house and was in a lovely special school for educationally fragile which she loved since S1 - we are hoping she wont loose her place and funding for that

there are many complex issues but to cut a long story short, we ae waiting for a camhs appointment but its a long wait and in the mean time we are stuck together in the house hardly leaving since decemebr.she isnt someone who can be left alone.

I feel totally trapped - she refuses to do things I suggest and is very low and moany a lot of the time - also gets very angry. GP refuses to consider any medication as says we have to wait for CAMHS.

I have lost motivation to do things and am on anti Ds now but still feel panicked by the isolation and loss of control over my life. I will probabl loose my job as I cant get there.

how do others manage ?

Re: staying sane

hi .i also have a 13yr old who has not been at school since jan and we have not seen camhs since april son is waiting ti be assessed for other emotional and social son like your daughter hardly ever goes out unless with an adult.i am very lucky as i work at home as achildminder but it is still very stressful what medication were you after ,my son was given melaton in for his sleep problem.i think you will have to ring camhs or get the dr to hurry the appointment up have you explained how down your daughter is,tell them you are worried.i have been to my dr several times to tell them how depressed he gets.maybe if you talk to citizens advice they could advise you on what you could claim for being your daughters son has had problems since yr 2 and now because i have decided hes different and i have to accept him as he is life is easier hope it gets better soon for you take care donna

Re: staying sane

Hi Jezabel,

I only just found your posting here as it wasn't with the main postings. Hopefully if you post again you can do so on the main listing. I am so sorry that you feel so bad at the moment. We know how you feel (and Donna has indicated that she is in much the same position as you). Looking after someone with this condition is terribly straining. I have not been able to get employment outside of home as my son is home so often. I unfortunately beg the government for some support each month but I think I am lucky here in that respect ( I do also do some work from home but that is usually disrupted as I can't concentrate when he is home!).

They seem to feel angry as they do not like to be this way. It must be awfully frustrating for them too and they feel like they have let everyone down.

I don't know if this will help but can you take her to visit family or friends or out to a cafe far away from the school somewhere? Just to get her out of the house?
I also took up an art class which I sometimes have to miss - sometimes take my son to - sometimes leave him with my mother or get her to come round. It keeps me feeling I have something to work towards rather than totally dwelling on what feels like a complete flip around of life.
Can you try and hurry up the CAMHS appointment? Do you have the money for private psychologist who works with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (really good for helping get them out of the house and helping with anxiety)?

I have learnt to accept my son for where he is now and that has really helped me cope. I agree with what Donna has said on this too. Hopefully it can help you cope. Do you have family or friends to support you? Have you thought of some counselling yourself? SR is really hard to just cope with ourselves but often we find ourselves in that position. keep in touch. I don't think I would have been able to gain strength without the support on this forum. Remember you are not alone.

Re: staying sane

My son is 12 has never liked school and now refuses to go, the school have been amazing taking him out only having him there for 2 hours a day, but this has not helped. When I try to get him there he swears and kicks out, which is not like him. The school have no answers neither do I, has been seen at CAMHS but he wont engage. I am at the end of my tether get phone calls at work continually from school and him saying he has run away again. I am on my own with my two boys and are taking AD.

Re: staying sane

Kathy - I just noticed your posting here instead of on the main School Refusal postings. I have moved it over so that more people can read and give you help - see my comments also...

Re: staying sane


I'm so sorry for everyone. My daughter is 15 and is the same- all the above. Just got her into school this morning at 10, and staggered home to sob hopelessly!

We are waiting for CAMHS and despite a recent suicide attempt they still haven't seen her to do any kind of assessment. She talks of feeling trapped in school and was happier going to her old school where there were no locked doors (she though) but the bullying was much worse. Our social worker has talked of attachment theory to me, so I'm going to look that up- heard of it in babies/toddlers, and she was sort of anxiously-attached then, but I haven't thought about it since. Maybe it's a teenage manifestation of that, kind of rearing it's ugly head again?

If I come across anything really useful I'll post.

It's very hard not to get bogged down in all the things they're preventing you, the parent, from achieving, isn't it! I sometimes forget that this is 'life', as we go along, I get into a pattern of thinking that at some future point 'life' will start, when things are sorted, but then I remember that my own mother still suffers when I suffer, so things don't somehow stop hurting because your child is automatically sorted out forever once they no longer have to go to school! Maybe this awful experience is actually an opportunity to re-investigate what the relationship we have with our children is made of; what contributed to that anxiousness, and what tools we can give them and ourselves, to overcome it.

It doesn't feel like that today- it feels like the end of the world because I didn't achieve her going to school at the arranged time, so she'll only be there for an hour, and won't go into a classroom, and hates me for taking her.

Can anyone advise me about anti-depressants? Bad idea? Good idea? For me, for her? I'm going to see about CBT for me this week- assessment on Wednesday and then a long (probably) wait...

Re: staying sane

Hi Ruth

I sent you a long reply but it somehow got stuck in cyberspace and did not arrive as a posting!
I might cut and paste your posting across to the main active thread under 'school refusal 'so that you get more people respond. I wanted to say big hugs going your way - and hang in there - you are doing all you can and you are a good mum. You are not alone. I'll reply long again later and mention the mediation my son is on.
Take care

Re: staying sane

HI all

I'm a single dad struggling with a 15yr old Daughter who has symptoms of School Refusal. Every morning is a fight, just trying to her her into school, and so far she has an attendance record of 33%. I have the Education Welfare Officer around each morning, to help get her into School.

Shes, suffering with depression and anxiety, and has been rejected by her Mum and her Mums Family for coming to live with me. She is also a victim of domestic abuse from her mother.

We have other medical complications, which don't help so often she is genuinely in pain. I feel like I'm being pushed hard every day to get her into School. Education Welfare are trying to help but there is always the threat of Court Action against me.

We're up against it, CAMHS is an 18month waiting list, my daughter is a victim of domestic abuse but the local council haven't funded any services with regards to helping with children. I have already complained to the MP.

I'm not sure of where to goto or what to do next, to get her the help she needs. When shes in school shes a fantastic student.

Are there any charities or any other organisations that can help us both ?

Re: staying sane

Hi Andy

Sorry to hear how hard things are for you and your daughter at the moment. Don't feel you are on your own. There are lots on this forum who can relate to your story. It's an emotionally roller coaster ride you are on by the sound of it.

Often it seems that the court threats remain just threats. There is an article in the resources section of this site about s judge who threw a school attendance case out of court a few years ago in the UK. Worth showing this to whoever threatens you with court next.

As for trying to force your daughter to keep going to school Sometimes this just isn't the way. It is just too stressful for you and your daughter. Schools still have to try and provide an education and so can sometimes provide tutors or at least try and find things that do work. The group Parent partnership might be able to give you more details about your right in regard to this.

I am assuming you and your daughter have talked to your doctor about her depression? Has medication ever been mentioned?
Sometimes it takes the edge off the anxiety and depression and helps them take those small steps forward. Your daughter has been through a lot by the sound of it and has a lot of weight on her young shoulders. It must be very hard for her to face each day.
There is another group in the UK, Young Minds...but you have probably been in touch with them too? They support teenagers and parents of teenagers suffering depression.

I am sorry I don't have any knowledge re charities that might help but you could perhaps also try and get the school and your doctor to try and get the wait for CAHMS shortened due to your daughter's immediate needs.
Hang in there. You are doing all you can and your daughter needs to know you accept where she is right now and that you are doing all you can to get her the help she needs. And don't forget support for yourself. Do something nice for yourself or that you enjoy as often as you can and talk to friends and family or come on here and talk to us. Always someone around to help and give you support.
Take care
PS most people use the other thread under school refusal. I might cut and paste your post there if y don"t get many replies here.

Re: staying sane

Hi Andy,

If you haven't tried them already, I would recommend YoungMinds.

As well as a really helpful website, Young Minds have a parents' helpline. When I was in a similar situation to you earlier this year, they were fantastically helpful. I spoke to a volunteer CAMHS practitioner who was so supportive, gave me really practical advice and informed me about our rights as regards education and treatment.

Best Wishes