Chronic School Refusal,social withdrawal and mental health barriers in young teen

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Active scribe

Chronic School Refusal,social withdrawal and mental health barriers in young teen

After approximately 2 and a half years, our 14 year old daughter is continuing to struggle.
It took far too long to access appropriate professional based help from the RCH and other services to start helping our daughter and our family with her school refusal and anxiety. The primary school was slow to help and was piece meal in the end.
With the years passing by the anxiety and poor self esteem from falling out of life and entering teenage years without friends,a social connection, denial and anixety and fear about trying harder than ever before to be open minded about seeking quality support from our GP and youth professionals, things don't seem to really shifting for Her. Such a critical stage of life for Her and am now extremely concerned about the future,her development and sense of purpose in life. We all feel isolated from friends and have lost some along the way, while trying to embrace any positve opportunity to chip away at this vicious cycle of anxiety,avoidance of school and now most social events or opportunities....
What ideas do people have to offer to help in such a situation?
Youth services have tried,and walked away because the lass is now too anxious to take the first steps towards freeing herself from this complex and difficult situation

Contributor

Re: Chronic School Refusal,social withdrawal and mental health barriers in young teen

Hi @Holden,

 

Although you are currently going through a really difficult time with your daughters issues, I feel that with the correct support systems in place, things can improve.

 

Firstly, that is really disappointing to know that the youth services "walked away" from your daughters situation. Abandonment will do no good to anyone, let alone your daughter who feels disconnected anyway.

 

Have you thought about doing the online coaching available through this website? It's really good. I've just done one session (with another one coming up) and the coach is able to guide you through with your concerns around your teenager.

 

Is your daughter going to school at all? Does she see the school counsellor and if not, it might be good for you to touch base with her. They would see other students with issues similar to your daughters'. Can you see your GP and obtain a mental health care plan so your daughter can see a psychologist also?

 

There is help available.....but unfortunantly, people rarely seek you (as the parent) out and you need to be proactive in finding the right assistance for your daughter. This can be difficult at first (especially if you don't have much confidence yourself) but once you get the ball rolling, it can get smoother.

 

Anxiety and school refusal are so concerning when its affecting your own child, but with the correct assistance and support....your daughter can recover.

Active scribe

Re: Chronic School Refusal,social withdrawal and mental health barriers in young teen

Hi and thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.
Once a pattern started to emerge years ago,I started ringing many different organisations for family therapy, therapy for our daughter, she used to see a private psychologist to talk about a few things she needed to however abruptly refuses to continue talking to strangers about these things.I won't give up however have accepted unless/until she is open to allowing support and help,she will continue to avoid and refuse it. She isn't attending school at all anymore, had engaged in RHC pilot program for school refusing teens however once the funding and time limit was up,that was it,no further 'schooling'with specialists on board on site. A huge shame as it did help her and she made some friends within the time she was there. She has lost all contact with them now and doesn't want to contact them again. I have exhaustes all avenues at this point in time,regarding appropriate and effective help.
Mod

Re: Chronic School Refusal,social withdrawal and mental health barriers in young teen

Hi there @Holden I am definitely impressed by your patience through the experience you've had with your Daughter, as well as your persistence. I think being there for her when she is ready is a really good move at this point - keeping open arms in case she is ready to accept a new avenue of support. What do you do to look after yourself through all of this?

Active scribe

Re: Chronic School Refusal,social withdrawal and mental health barriers in young teen

Hello Breez-RO,
As far as I see it, I am her parent and she needs me to be there and persist and be as compassionate as possible.
My days are full with parenting two, one much younger than my daughter,so between quietly feeling anxious and sometimes a sense of failing my daughter some how, appointments and activities and running a house and creating a home, my self care comes down to falling alseep at night quietly, researching my daughter's hurdles and other ways I might approach this monumental problem. Oh, and singing nursery rhymes to the little one! Not much in the way of self care exactly, however I am it so no time to myself to do solo activities or such.

Feeling very alone now days with my daughter and family's problems, friends of past have faded away,new friendships are still being forged and little family support or regular meaningful contact or interaction. Quite different to the life we lived 5 years ago...
Casual scribe

Re: Chronic School Refusal,social withdrawal and mental health barriers in young teen

My now 16 year old daughter has very similar problems.

I tried communicating for over 2 years with her school but by the time they realised she was struggling and agreed to put in place some strategies she had lost all confidence and now has a phobia about assignments, social phobia and depression.

She refuses to talk to psychologists and is so ashamed and embarrassed to let anyone help.

A psychologist assessed her to check for any learning difficulties. She has above average intelligence but slow processing speed. And suddenly it makes a little more sense.

Unfortunately slow processing and school don't mix well. So many subjects and having to work quickly in class.

Perhaps you could have you daughter assessed, at least it can give something to work with, someplace to start.

 

.

Contributor

Re: Chronic School Refusal,social withdrawal and mental health barriers in young teen

Hello @At-a_loss and @Holden,

 

Thank you for sharing a little of your stories.

 

Unfortunately, the realities in the mainstream high schools (in my experience parenting a teenager with learning difficulties, anxiety and depression) are that the classes are too big and can be overwhelming for teenagers with these and other issues.

 

The good news is that there is help available, however you need to do your research and seek the help out. People rarely come to us and there is still a lot more assistance needed for teenagers with auditory processing difficulties, anxiety, depression, BPAD and other medical conditions. You are not alone. These are conditions that are still not talked about as openly as they need to. If your child has a broken leg, people come running...if there is a deficit or mental health problem with your teen...people can sometimes run the other way. This has been my and others peoples experience. But not everyones and I don't wish to be negative....just realistic.

 

Keep being persistent. Don't give up because there are alternatives to mainstream education or if your children return to their schools, there are counsellors in the public and private sector who can help your children. There are also residential schools for teenagers with difficulties. There is home schooling, TAFE, independent and private smaller schools. Everyone is different. But through everything, compassion is needed. More compassion from the health professionals, teachers, neighbours....everybody.

 

Both of you need support for yourselves so this forum is a good start.

Always tell your kids you love them, but love yourselves too. Don't give up...even when you feel the situation is bleak. There is always hope and you are defiantly not alone.

Active scribe

Re: Chronic School Refusal,social withdrawal and mental health barriers in young teen

Hiya At-a_Loss,

So many similarities with your story. How did you achieve getting your beautiful daughter to accept an appointment to have the assessment?
Ours simply walks away and tells me I am stressing her our when I tell her it's time to see the family GP,let alone any other appointment. Completely shuts down to avoid any conversation regarding these difficulties
Casual scribe

Re: Chronic School Refusal,social withdrawal and mental health barriers in young teen

Hi Holden

 

It took quite some time to get to an assessment stage. First stage (after 1 1/2 years of school refusal, avoiding friends) was the GP and medication as her depression and anxiety made it impossible to cope with anything outside of home. Then a psychologist who specialises in anxiety issues who referred her to a psychologist who does assessments. 

None of this was easy. I had to push abit, tears, anger, fear. I attended every appointment with her and often had to speak for her until she was able to talk a little herself.

It was so great to see her slowly contacting some friends again and over the Christmas holidays making up an exercise program for herself and a timetable for when she went back to school. Being more independent.

I'm really sorry to tell you this but after one month of school, which started so well, I think we have to accept school does not work for our beautiful, creative, sensitive daughter.

She is thinking of other avenues to try which is very encouraging.

 

 

Scribe

Re: Chronic School Refusal,social withdrawal and mental health barriers in young teen

Hello. Same here. Need help but refuses to accept it.