My daughter is suffering with school phobia, what can I do to help her?
My just turned 14 year old daughter has been having problems with anxiety for a long while now. But it's getting worse. Now she's been getting "severe nightmares," and clawing at her own skin. She talks about killing herself because of the school system, and how she does not want to go back. Getting her out of the house is a nightmare. She's late for school everyday, and cries the whole ride there. Saying over and over how she can't go. She takes any excuse not to go, and the nightmares keep getting worse, apparently. She has scars allover her arms and legs, and gets upset easily. She's cried and begged me not to make her go to school. Her father is very misunderstanding of this whole thing, and is rather mean to her about it. It's created a lot of tension at home. We've decided together that we will pursue homeschooling for next year. However, I really do not know what to do right now about her anxiety and emotional problems, and I am not clear on what causes such severe reactions.
Its important to find out what might be the cause of her being afraid to go to school. Sometimes it is an issue with bullying as I experienced at that age and a guidance counselor was able to help with but some kids feel uncomfortable explaining the reason why. Also if there is family tension that would worsen things. It would be worthwhile to go to family counseling which was helpful for me as well. If they notice that further help is needed they could make a referral from there.
Something is obviously bothering your daughter, which may be "social phobia" but you need to find out what it is. This is creating a bad state of mind for her which will progress as she gets older. If it's bullying then that needs to be stopped immediately. Have you tried talking to her? Let her stay home tomorrow, and spend the day with her. Then tell her that there were days you didn't feel like going to school either, and ask her why she doesn't. She needs to be able to speak openly with you, and often if they think we can relate to what they are feeling it helps. But regardless, she needs to see a child psychologist to determine what is causing all this. Get the school involved so they can look to see what is going on while she is there and how she interacts with other kids. Your husband needs to get off his high horse and understand that this is not normal, she is not doing it on purpose, and it is traumatizing her to go to school. Then to have him take this attitude with her is just worsening things, she needs to know that you both love her and want to do whatever is necessary to help her. Since you say her anxiety has progressed, it's definitely time to take action, and I would have her evaluated before even thinking about home schooling her. She could probably finish out the school year by doing her assignments at home, and hopefully by next school year she can return a happier person and un afraid. You need to have the real problem addressed so that she can look forward to a happy life, or this will just worsen as she gets older. I feel so sorry for her knowing this is terrifying for her, and I know heartbreaking for you as well. But act now, and get her help. Good luck and take care.
Our 16 year old daughter always loved school. Was straight As. Then her Freshman year, she started falling apart. She's a very mild mannered girl who would not harm anything or anybody. But she too started with the severe anxiety, self scratching (to the point of scars). She worries endlessley over every little thing about school and doesn't want to go!! She has no enemies at school, no bullies, just way too much stress. She is a sophmore this year and hates it. For one thing they put way to much stress on these kids!!!! She has anywher from 5 - 6 tests a week, that among 2 hours of homework at night.
I agree with mammo. Talk to your daughter, and then keep talking and listening!!! even if she doesn't want to talk, you sit in her room until she understands that you are not leaving until she opens up and no matter what she says, you will understand and help her find the answers she needs!!!! A therapist is a great help!! But I feel the most important thing is talking and listening. That way, you can be an advocate for your daughter. Her father needs to sit down in private with you and her and really listen to how she is feeling. NOBODY wants to feel that way!!! but there is something making her feel that way, and the sooner you address it the better!!!
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