school refusers

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School Refusal
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Life after school refusal - a happy story

Dear all,

I just wanted to share with you a very happy ending to our story.

18 months ago we were in an awful place with my 14 yr old refusing to go to school after bullying and ousting by her large group of friends. Lots of mental health issues ensued and she tried to take her life on two occasions. The school were so unhelpful, in fact if they had nipped it in the bud in the first week, we really wouldn't have had the problems we did. Everything I tried to do to cheer my daughter up failed, she was under the Crisis Team at CAMHS and we had family counselling at home. This really helped ME to deal with my daughter's issues and to know what to say, and also to stop my own thoughts spiralling out of control.
We eventually decided to change schools out of the area, she went in for two weeks, made lots of friends, then stopped for 2 months. Again, I thought this is it, she will never return, she will never get any qualifications (really that was the least of our problems), I just wanted my daughter back to the lovely bubbly and happy child she was before. Then she bravely went back one day, did lots of half days, missed PE and drama. The school were really supportive as was CAMHS in helping make sure my daughter could choose which lessons to go to, which lessons she felt she could cope with. Slowly, she established better ties with her new friends and learnt to trust again. This was a massive step for her, she was so loyal to her old friends and when they let her down it was like a betrayal and she had been grieving. I can't even remember when she started going for full days, but it just happened. Before I knew it, she was going for 3 weeks full time, then 4 etc.
During our darkest times, I felt I had nowhere to turn, I am a single parent, my eldest daughter was still a child so was not supportive, my family did not understand and thought she should justs pull herself together, CAMHS couldn't really get through to my daughter so that was frustrating. I found this forum and had such a lovely welcoming response, I felt immediately that my burden was shared.
My daughter has a wide range of friends now, some from her tutor and older and younger kids from different years plus her own group so if god forbid anything happened, she would have SOMEONE. She is happy and jokey and her lovely gorgeous self again. She still has the old cry about the bad times, she even tries to contact the old friends sometimes but it always turns out badly and upsets her, but 95% of the time she is better and happy in her life.
I just wanted to give a positive message to anyone out there suffering the same as we went through and to be here to chat to if you need anyone. That was what I was looking for on this forum and although had som elovely support had no positive stories

Re: Life after school refusal - a happy story

I am so pleased for you both!

As you know, it is a long road, but the joy when we emerge at the other end is something to hang on to.

Enjoy your summer, and please keep in touch.


Re: Life after school refusal - a happy story

hi Carrie

That is so lovely to hear! We can all have hope : )
You must be quite relieved -although I am sure you sit on edge sometimes just wondering - after all that you went through. Good to hear too that the school was actually ok about your daughter doing just the subjects she could initially. Seems some schools understand but so many don't. Probably depends on an individual in the team and whether they have experienced this themselves or a relative or friend or just are more open minded.
Good luck - so glad you dropped by to tell us this. Hope to hear from you again

All the best

Re: Life after school refusal - a happy story

I somehow know that this will happen with my child too. It may take a while longer but I think he will eventually find his way too. I can only hope.

Re: Life after school refusal - a happy story

Hello Carrie - This all sounds so familiar - My 14 year old girl is currently going through this and just can't go to school as she is too worried. Her friendship group totally let her down and though she has formed a new group, with lovely girls, she doesn't trust them yet, so still won't go. The School have offered half-days and other options, but still no luck. We have tried cognitive behavioural therapy and though she has the strategies, 20 minutes before school, she is too worried to even contemplate using these.

I am trying to rebuild my daughter's trust, but even in these holidays, she has been too worried to have her friends over, in case she feels left out.

I just wondered, from your experience, did your daughter just decide to go again, or was their a build-up, or something which happened, to make her feel comfortable enough to try again?

We are considering a new school - but actually, the school has been really good and she has formed a new friendship group. Does starting a new school, create more problems than solutions?

Any advice would be greatly received and so pleased that you have got through this and that your daughter is in a good place again.



Re: Life after school refusal - a happy story

Hi Carrie

So good to know your daughter is doing so well now after all she went through. I am a single mum too with another d who still had her own individual needs at the time of my youngest's bullying/SR troubles.

Your story is very close to what I experienced with my d after she was bullied at an all girls school who were not pro active in addressing the bulling issues. Unfortunately the new school and CAMHs were not helpful in the transition stages but later adapted their strategies to suit my d's needs. Problem was by then my d was not open to letting them support her because they had let her down so badly at first, she dug her heels in for a long time.

Like you, our story has ended up in a positive place with my d in full time attendance and in a new friendship group. She is still ultra sensitive and gets paranoid at times, she has a lot of trust issues because of the past but I know she will continue to recover.

Like you, I find it sad that the original school were not supportive, I feel if they had been and had set the correct boundaries with the bullies and supported my d in the ways she needed at the time, we would not have had the journey that we did. I have since set up an anti bullying blog to try and help raise awareness on bully prevention strategies that work.

I'm so thankful it is over now and life has returned to a more even keel. In the thick of it all, it feels like it won't end but eventually it does and I pray that time comes for every family currently struggling to cope.