school refusers

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School Refusal
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7yr old daughter with long term SR


I hope someone will read this. I have just posted on the Mental Health blog by mistake but have a seven year old who is refusing to go to school. She has had problems with the school all the way along and now is getting ill all the time because she a) cannot stand the teachers shouting b) feels overwhelmed by the work (she is behind and does not like doing it). She is having constant tantrums and although I have been trying to work with the school have not really had any level of understanding or proper support from them as they just blame the child! Any suggestions as my own health and marriage are under huge pressure too!


Re: 7yr old daughter with long term SR

Hi Explorer

I sent you a very long email reply but it seems to have got lost in the mix ups with postings on here today.
I am not sure where it went to - but I thought I sent it (and read it there) to the post you attached yours to (starting with Beccy).
My heart went out to you - and I was hoping my story might help you - my son having started his school refusal a few weeks into his first year at school. Did you get to read my post?
I will compose it again if it has disappeared into cyberspace.

Clarity has given you some good advice - and also you can try parent partnership. Look them up on-line and there might be a local group to you. They often understand where you are coming from and can give advice.
Take care -

Re: 7yr old daughter with long term SR

Found it: It got left behind in the Mental Wellbeing section.
Sorry it is so long!!


I'm so sorry to hear how things are for you - this must be so stressful, especially when the school just doesn't seem to understand. Sadly your story sounds like the rest of us - a lot of misunderstanding goes on out there in regard to how much schools know. Your daughter does sound like she is going through School Refusal Anxiety.
How was she up until now? Did something trigger it? Was there any bullying? What grade is she in now?

My son started school refusing just a few weeks into his first year at school - and it sounds much like what you are going through - the tantrums in a morning which I remember were just devastating and exhausting to watch. I remember being in tears almost as much as my son.
The main thing to remember is - you are not alone. The school might sounds as if they have not come across this - but going by the statistics - it is out there and there is probably another child at your daughter's school suffering the same but perhaps at a differing degree (and it might come out later). SOme kids see to have this start quite young but others it takes until high school before their anxiety takes over.

From what I understand from others on here- and I am sure you will get many replies and much support - is that you will need to get your daughter assessed before the school can know what to do (or ever you can know what to do).
What is your gut feeling? Do you think she falls into ASD? Does she have specific lack of social skills that stand our perhaps? It is possible that all School Refusal kids fall into the top end of the spectrum - as they do seem to be hyper sensitive to their surroundings, so things like noise, lights, crowds and so forth can be issues (all of which are at school of course). Next comes expectations and peers. I do not believe, however, that my son does have autism - he appears to interact perfectly normal with others but his anxiety makes him avoid social contact and school work and school. He has never been motivated to do school work - despite the primary school telling me he was very bright. His 'brightness' got him through all the missed days and weeks - until he hit high school.

The good news is ...there is light at the end of the tunnel. My son is mostly going to school now. He is on medication - he has seen psychologists and psychhiatrists - has been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder and social anxiety (as he hits his teens). It is often still a battle (I didn't get him there today) but now that his father takes him to school twice a week - it does help. I also find the teachers are listening more now - and this year have been good at communicating with me and making sure he tries to keep up with the work. He lacks motivation all the time - and it is very frustrating.

I can only recommend you seek help as soon as you possibly can. Try to emphasise to the school that this is NOT a behaviour issue - there is some underlying issue that is resulting in the behaviour- not the other way round. Don't let the lay the blame at your feet either - you are doing all you can.
Stepping back and accepting that your daughter has a problem that is not going to go away over night can help ease the feeling for you and your daughter. Embracing her and letting her know that it is not her fault the way she feels and you will do all you can to find ways to make her feel better.

It is common for husbands and wives not to see eye to eye on this kind of thing. It is a very irrational disorder and so on the surface can look like misbehavior and mum giving in - but as you know - it is not like that at all.
Even if your husband seems to have a firmer hand and hopes she just goes to school without fuss- in the long run - the issue is still there and has not been dealt with. So it is not just a matter of forcing her.

I stopped forcing my son at one point when he was 6 but I felt so guilty as everyone was expecting me to get him there. DOn't feel guilty - she is your child - and no-body else knows what you are going through.
You may deicde to try every avenue open to keep getting her to school like I have - or you might take a different road and home school or do on-line work - whatever road you take - your daughter will find an education somehow. As she is so young - you most likely will consider trying to do all you can to keep her at school. She does need to socialise and I a now very glad that my son did try and get through primary school as he is an only child. Does your daughter have friends? Can you try and keep up the contact outside of school?
Friends can be vital to make or break the link they have with school.

Hang in there - sorry I don't have a magic recipe. see if you can get your daughter assessed and if CAMHS involved and then try and educate the school and teachers yourself. In the end, you will know more about this than they do. It might be that half days end up working or go from small time to longer times during a day or week.
Punishment does not work - as they cannot help how they feel. It just makes it worse and they do not go looking for 'stars' for attendance - they'd rather get no stars/rewards.
Come on here any time - there are lots of us who are going through similar times or have been there and managed to move on. I am sure others will help you in some way.

Sorry for such a long post. My heart goes out to you as I know you are just starting on this rocky road. Take care and take some time out for yourself.