a resource for parents
My 13-yr-old son developed severe anxiety. We have been in CBT/ERP therapy for months, but somehow the school refusal just came like a storm. He also ended up attempting some self-harm in his fear. He is currently inpatient.
What do we do when he gets out?? There is an alternative school that is more 1:1 tutoring, very flexible, but will the "phobia" have spread so that this will be impossible? And even if he went, how will he have friends?
I am open to all advice. My daughter had an eating disorder some years ago and I made it through with the support of a great forum for ED parents. I hope I can find something similar here.
We are in California, USA.
Welcome to or group, EC
I have to say that the forum has been quite quiet over the summer (Northern Hemisphere)and so I don't expect there to be a mass response to give you the support that you are looking for. However, we will do what we can.
Presumably your son is having other issues, hence the CBT/ERP therapy. I am sorry to read that he is an inpatient. Does the facility provide support for parents whose children are leaving their care? It seems likely that there will be options provided, if you ask for them.
I would not worry too much about the 1:1 tutoring as the next step. Many 'school refusers' find that just as hard as mainstream schooling. They may offer online support, and forums for pupils to discuss school work with each other. And that can lead toother social interaction.
It took us time to realise that 'friends' made during computer gaming did enable social interaction. Chatrooms may be full of dangers, but they do have a function enabling communication with peers, rather than their parents shouting at them to come out of their rooms and join the family! We just have to manage what our child gets up to to ensure they are safe.
Does your child do his/her schoolwork through the internet? Have you explored forums on the subjects she/he does? I am just thinking of ways for her/him to open up contacts with the outside world.
This is a tough time for you, as well as for your son, so it is important that you look after yourself.
I hope you come back on here to know you are not alone. Sorry I was delayed in replying.
It has been quiet on here but when people do contribute, it is very helpful.
So sorry to hear what you are going through. It must be so hard for you, and your son. I am sure he is feeling very alone with this too.
Simon has thrown forth some good ideas and suggestions and I agree that any connection they have with others on line is a way to help them not feel so alone. Having one on one might be what he needs but it also might make him feel like he is under the spotlight. You can only give it a try. Let him know you are doing all you can to understand how he is feeling right now and looking for the best way forward.
Small steps are all good. Don't expect too much, as I am sure you don't.
I have a friend whose son has been hospitalised more than once too and his started around the age of your son and the self harming was really bad. He ended up attending a small group of 'at risk' students. I dion't know if there are any educational support groups where you a who might run programs like this? He is finally taking some medication that works and is no longer self harming.
Has anyone talked to you about the possibility of medication? It is, I believe, worth looking into.
Your son's mental health is so much more important right now than his education. Building his self esteem after being hospitalised will take some time. If he does not have friends, try to ensure he still interacts with family in some way and does get out of the house. My son likes to go for drives (me driving) and listens to his music (not all to my taste!,) as it seems to calm him and it stops him being stuck at home.
Let us know how things go when he comes out and someone is always checking in here to respond to your post.
Look after yourself in all this as it can be all consuming!