12 year old anxiety/miserable in school

Adrianne - posted on 10/11/2015 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My daughter is 12 and we have struggled with fake illnesses, hysterical fits and flat out refusal to go to school since she was in 6th grade(now 7th). She has been to a psychiatrist for a year, struggled but got through 6th grade with good grades in all accelerated courses. I thought this would be a new, positive school year but it has started again. This time she opened up in tears with her extreme anxiety, the fact that she has none of her friends in classes, eats lunch everyday alone and that the kids are so grouped up into exclusionary clicks, she can't find a place. It breaks my heart seeing her in so much pain, apparently she had been researching boarding school for the past month. After dancing around the issue of her needing medication for a year with my ex husband, he finally agreed. Her pediatrician recommended due to her extreme anxiety that we temporarily pull her out and do online school.The doctor has seen many kids ending up in the same situation coming from my daughters school, as well as her therapist who has seen 5 others from the same school refusing to go. Her school counselor got my daughter to agree to trying for 2 more weeks with a schedule change(tomorrow will be day 1), her father has now told her 6 weeks and she is again falling into a depression since she thought we were starting with 2. With that being said, if she can emotionally handle the 2 weeks, sees positive change, I too would prefer that she stays at her school. If not, I feel the best thing is to relieve her of this emotional pain. She is beyond scared and sad at the mention of school(last week had a panic attack in the parking lot). Im torn, since online schooling will not give her the best education, but I frankly don't care, her mental and emotional health is in turmoil. Sorry for rambling, I just don't want to force something on her that is so painful, but it is school, required and necessary...I don't know what is best. Continue the battle or give her relief with online schooling? Most people Ive talked with thinks pulling her out is the right thing for now, Dad wants her to tough it out since he is worried she won't return and that accelerated courses aren't offered,...but she has been toughing it out without emotional success for over a year. She is only 12 and falling apart :(

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Bethany - posted on 10/13/2015

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I am so sorry and can relate to your daughter. Her anxiety and sadness is very real. It's not a "tough it out" situation any more for these kids. It's a different world than when we grew up and it is very hard for us adults to understand it. It can accelerate at a negative level very quickly. I am not a psychologist or anything - just a mom who has had 2 children go through much of what you daughter is going through. We dealt with it differently with each child. Here's some thoughts:

* You can ask the school to provide her with a packet type program while she gets help. This keeps her connected academically with the school - it can be from her teachers, a special program or many other choices for a period of time with a doctor's note (psychologist notes count).

* Did she have this problem in elementary school? If not, are there friends she still has from elementary school and where do they attend? Can she change to another school where she already has a support system?

* Don't be afraid of medication to help symptoms. There is a very high percentage of abuse (alcohol or drugs) from children who just can't get help. Meds from and with the overseeing of a doctor is much better for everyone. I encourage parents to not wait and learn this the hard way.

* It sounds like it may be a school issue. Have you contacted the district? It sometimes is better to address issues at a very high level when there is a track record.

I hope some of this helps.

Also, there are very good online schools these days and they are accredited. You don't need to be afraid of them. What you need to be afraid of is your daughter sinking deeper. She needs to feel safe and that you are hearing her cries and you can help her no matter what it takes. She needs you as her strongest advocate and that you will do whatever it takes to make it better for her.

Wishing you all the best.
Bethany

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