Hi Vestaria, New poster as well. My daughter is 14 in year 9 and sounds like we have similar issues. When she hit year 7 things became trickier with friends and relationships. Also, she was diagnosed with ADHD, possible ASD as her dad has recently been diagnosed. She had always been pretty ok at school and excelled in some areas but once the workload became more she struggled to process and keep up. She finds it hard in the class to process what the teachers are saying and has said her head feels like wet concrete and the information takes a while to get from the teacher speaking to her being able to do what is asked. I thought this was a great description to explain how she feels in class and some of the reason she is anxious at school. She also refuses to get out of the car and covid hasn't helped at all. She hasn't been to school at all this term and only had 30% attendance last semester but most of that was in the first term, second term shes hardly been and I can see its just going downhill. I have a meeting tomorrow with the school. They have been good at introducing measures to get her there such as only 2 periods a day and coming in when she can. But still isn't helping her now as she just doesn't want to go. She is doing no school work and has missed most of this year now. In regards to the school, I have told them everything and send emails on a regular basis to the year 9 coordinator just so they are in the loop with how things are going and then I feel more supported and less guilty. She spends most days in her room in the dark but she does go out with friends when they ask her. Unfortunately, the lack of attendance is now impacting her friendships as they are less likely to ask her to go out and she has anxiety around asking people to go so its a tough situation. For me, I have stood back and made the choice that her mental health comes first so I don't push her anymore. Its too hard on parents and child and can be really detrimental to the relationship. Plus pushing doesn't get her to school, in fact in my experience it does the opposite. I have prioritised our relationship over school, I wonder if taking the pressure off you and her completely and giving her a break would help for her to talk to you again? Would the school officially allow you to take the pressure off for a bit? I have been working with the navigator program which is a school refusal program in Victoria, they assign a case manager who then has been providing me support and she will visit the school if necessary to advocate for my daughter. Her latest advice to me was to just take everything off the table as while they are in flight and fight they will never learn or be open to learning anyway. That includes appointments for us as well, as my daughter got sick of always seeing people about her issues. The navigator lady said this is something a lot of families do and can be quite beneficial to just focus on your relationship and bring some joy back in if possible. I understand this can be hard with a shutdown teen though. We are going to try for the rest of this year to get her back to school slowly working with the school, but as a back up I am also looking at an online school for next year that is designed for kids like ours, not sure if she will do the work. Its less pressure than homeschooling for the parent as well, they still have teacher support but its really flexible. I belong to an Aussie facebook group for school refusal and I find there is a lot of help and support there. It certainly helps you to realise you are not alone if nothing else and there are some positive stories about kiddos like ours that go down a different path but still get there in the end. In regards to the crying daily, I hear you! Its heartbreaking to see our loved ones go down this road. Recently I have tried to distance myself a bit emotionally from the situation and put myself first and see that she may be on a less conventional path and for me to be ok with that. I am doing meditation which is really helpful if you're that way inclined, its good for emotional regulation and not taking things so personally or taking on board everything because I just don't think its our job to do that. I hope this helps in some way, at least to let you know you are defiantley not alone. So many kids out there with this issue. Even my daughters school have confirmed this, which made me feel better! Look after yourself and take the pressure off if and where you can :)
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