Phobias Community
Teen school phobia
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Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder where one has a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. Discuss topics including social phobias, claustrophobia and treatment options.

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Teen school phobia

What can i do for my teen daughter who was diagnosed with school phobia?  It seems that the school system does not understand that this disorder, doctors prescribe meds that still can;t get in the door of school and her anxiety is so sad to watch as a mother. I feel that my hands are tied and I need to know if anyone else suffers from this or has advice?  She is a really pretty, confident girl. She is happy at home and with family and friends. She comes off as personable. None of her friends would ever believe that this is as 'acute' as is is. She missed so much school this year and says she CAN"T go- not that she does not WANT to go . It is consuming her and she lives with this constant sense of DREAD. Any advise is appreciated. I love her so much and dont know what to do for her. I dont want to force her to go to school but am not sure if pulling her out would benifit her either.
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my daughter is the same way and her counsler told her about vertial high school.It is high school that she can do on line and only go to the class room once a week for testing.Many students are doing this now a days.My daughter was afraid to go back to her school because she was attacked and they had a major riot there all in the same week.
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thanks for the comment----I decided to give my daughter the greatest Christmas present...PEACE. I have pulled her from school and had forms sent to her doctors for homebound schooling. She is so much happier and I am relieved!
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you are a very understanding mother. i had, and still have the same thing. extreme teasing caused me to be so afraid i couldnt walk into a classroom-- sometimes i would break into tears right before the door and would leave. i ended up going to night school and things were better. this isnt a problem that will just ''go away'' or a phase or anything. it takes years to make serious strides, so kudos to you to relieve her suffering now. let me know how she is doing:) oh and tell her that its okay to feel nervous, that, as time passes and she gets about 18 19 that the panic isnt nearly as bad and that peers around that age really mature( so she will feel more comfortable around them )

merry christmas!
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Ahhh...you brought tears to my eyes. My 3 sons (early twenties) do not understand why I pulled my daughter out of school. I think that they just dont' want to accept that something is genuinely wrong with their little sister. I am a single/widowed mom and the boys basically helped raise their sister with me. I pray they respect my decision and that my daughter will eventually be able to go to school with her friends and live a normal life.....What is a normal life anyways?...LOL

*Merry Christmas to you also.........your kind words really moved me!
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I'm the same way, the thought of school was paralyzing, I would never have rest.  School was the last thing and first thing in my mind at all times.  I eventually became home schooled for a year, strangely enough after one year of being home schooled I felt like I needed to go back, I was missing out.  My fears of school shed off and now I attend 10th grade in public.  Anyway, from what I can ascertain homeschooling is becoming increasingly popular.  I hope for the best.
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I think this will be helpful to her in the short term, but maybe not in the long term. I am an adult suffering with depression, and as I child I hated school, I was so scared of all the people, I would never talk to anyone all day, in breaks I would stand against a brick wall terrified, and nobody ever got me help. I think it would also be helpful to her if she could talk to somebody about her phobias and work through them so that she does not take all this into adulthood, maybe find a group of people she is comfortable to hang out with
so she is still learning to socialise. It is difficult as a parent to watch your kids suffer, I have a little girl of 6 who is showing the same signs of anxiety that I experienced.
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my daughter just showed me your message, and it brought tears to my eyes, i thought she wrote it, your situation is exactly what we are going through, EXACTLY, its heartbreaking to see your precious daughter go through this.  Our school Vice Principal has been a blessing, he has helped me so much. But how much can they do, we are considering "home instruction" a teacher comes to our home to teach her.  We sit and talk all the time, what is great is that our daughter tells us everything, shares with my husband and i always.  Imagine a child that just bottles it all up.  sometimes i feel i am at my wits end, but i just keep praying for a miracle.  I tell my daughter,we are here for her, but as catholics, i have to put my faith in God. who else can i turn to.  sometimes, we feel as if the therapists dont understand,  its like we need answers now. not next week.  We as parents want our children rid of this.  My daughter is a Honor student, in the 10th grade, 16 yrs. old, has parents and an 8 yr old sister that loves her, wonderful decent group of friends.  The friends dont know and are wondering, why she isnt in school.  She too is happy at home and on weekends, but comes Sunday night, u can sense the phobia coming on.  its dreadful.  we will pray for all of you! keep this forum going.  
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Hello,
I read through your posts and I feel like I am reliving my childhood. I am 31 but when I was 12, seemingly out of nowhere, I began suffering from extreme school phobia. I would cry, hyperventilate, have seizures, you name it. Sunday nights were also the worst for me representing the anticipation of what promised to be a horrible morning for my mother and I. i am so grateful to her for being my only support system. Back then the school system just thought I was lazy and a brat. Child protective services threatened to take me from my mother. At age 16 I was put on anti-anxiety, anti-depression medication. To this day I have no idea how I managed to overcome school phobia but I eventually graduating from high school and college with honors. I firmly believe more attention needs to be given to this disorder. I am working on some freelance articles on school phobia. If any of you would care to share your experiences I would be most appreciative and humbled. Thank you. Things can and will get better.

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hi,, i have read all these comments, and can see myself and my son in there. my son is 14, recently moved in with me and my partner, he has been living with his dad for years, through mutual agreement,, as i was suffereing from a break down. thats enough about me..lol.. my son is in a wonderful school, and they do everythign they can for him, hes in a specail needs class at the mo, he keeps fainting alot, and at least once, every week, they send himhome through this. he attends 2 lessons every day, hes fainted at school and on the way to school.. he has all the medical help they can give him, and its not a medical prob. we are due to see the school counselloor, and child and adolencense mentla health team hopefully soon.. he still has contact with his dad, and step family. ( he hsnt always got on with his step mum, used to babysit his 2 younger 1/2 brothers alot etc). My son is happy living with me and my partner. school sent him home, and the head of year brought him back in his car!!!  the skool is great, but i feel sometimes i cant do alot for my son, my partner is great, and my sons loves him, my partner works full time, ive been out of work for 3 weeks. but shortly to find another job asap. please cnna any one advise on how a parent should help etc. or if there is any one else out there.. can give out my email to genuin people who wana stay in touch with me. many thanks..kaz x
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Wanted to give you all an update regarding my daughter. She is seeing a new wonderful psychiatrist, off all meds, not seeing her psychologist (wanted her to go to a boot camp) and is trying to get all of her 8th grade work completed so she can go to High School next year. She does not fall asleep until 3-4AM due to extrmem anxiety, racing thoughts, depression and fears. She will go to a Behavioral Institute tomorrow to help with Cognitive therapy and has an IEP/504 plan started for next year. I met her High School counselor and she seemed really "cool". I hope to put all of this middle school bs behind us and hopefully see improvements regarding her mood and motivation. I am still working on my sons/familys ignorance regarding her anxiety as they believe it is laziness on her part and lack of discipline on my part. I wonder how I was able to raise such wonderful (but igonrant) sons on my own. I know they love her but so do I and I deal with this daily. I was just diagnosed with a possible stomach ulcer...stress at home and at work. I am going to keeo the faith and appreciate all of thses wonderful, supportive comments. God Bless!
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Got called into work but wanted to share this (seen on THIS site):

Hope:  

"when the world gives up"

Hope whispers

"try it one more time"    :)

I work with acute eating disorders/young females...
I plan on sharing this with them....BELIEVE!
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Hello everyone!

My daughter unfortunately has not been able to get in the door - High School (started last week). The special school district will assess her situation and place her in a smaller classroom as soon as possible, as she is mising out on school credits and she is stressed as is. She spent the entire summer at St. Louis Behavioral Institute and was helped with her anxiety but NOT enough to get into school. She was so excited about school, got up early the first day, got dressed, straightened her hair and 10 mins before heading out the door the panic attack-attacked! She tried again and again but could not do it. She was so sad and questioned "why".  As her new and wonderful psychiatrist stated recently, "In 40 years we will know how to treat this condition but today we are all stumped". Anyone with advice please write. I would also like to hear from other teens suffering from this type of anxiety/panic disorder- parents,teachers,psychologists...What works... and what does NOT work?
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hi,my daughter was diagnosed with school phobia,the doctor wrote the school a note,stating this is the problem ,he put on this letter that she be homeschooled,this is where the district works with you,they come out twice a week,they bring your child there schoolwork to work from home,then they pick it up once a week,also she is on zoloft and shes getting counseling,once a week,we call the doctor once a week to talk about her progress,so to try to eventually get her feeling better to go back to regular school.
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:) Thanks for the comment! Tomorrow I go to the high school to go over the results of testing by St. Louis Special School District. I have been researching my legal rights and If they say there isn't a program for her then I will ask them where they plan to send my daughter as a purchase of service placement.  It is their job to educate her- entirely- not just academics.  If it is decided that she has an emotional disturbance and qualifies for an IEP, then SSD needs to provide services - She could get psychological counseling at school on a weekly basis from a school social worker  and/or social work case management so that the social worker stays in touch with her psychiatrist and therapist and helps the teachers plan for my daughters. success.  I am determined to be strong and deligent regarding my daughters future. I will also take legal action if the school does not comply with the law. I spoke with a CSW from the Courts today and she is going to a seminar on this very topic (she thinks that my daughter is "beautiful and articulate"). She has 3 teens on her caseload and she does not know what to do for them. This is a growing problem and we are all not sure what caused this/why.  My sonsare finally  supportive and trust that I know what is best for my daughter. Frankly, I question myself night and day and my ulcer is definitely a product of this stress, but my daughter is worth all of this hard work.
As always, I value any input. Thanks for the support and God Bless!

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when one has demons, they can fight them or let them take over, do you think taking her out of school will really help that much, sometime i beleive that one should face their problems head on, also this may make her into a person that will be afraid to leave the house, will counsling help her  just my opinion hope that it does not offend anyone when i fell or had problems mom just said get up and try again, you cant hide forever who knows what the best is i guess one goes by thei feeling i raised 3 daughters  luck jo
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This is exactly how I thought 2 years ago when it all began but after 2 years of the BEST psychiatrist, psychologist, anf 2 treatment centers (who are experts in acute axiety) she can not WALK out the door to GO to school, Her panic is horrible and the dread she feels prevents her from going. SHE WANTS to be NORMAL and is depressed that she cant be. She can go and have a great time with family and her cousins. EXPERTS do not know what to do for her ....and I'm not sure if YOU have an advanced degree in this field but making ignorant statements like "just get up and try again" is unwaranted. I ALSO raised 3 wonderful boys and they are all successful, respectful young men BUT they did not witness the horrible death of their grandpa and they do NOT have a mental condition (thank God). Please research school phobia and anxiety disorders before commenting on this forum. I deal with this DAILY and adore my daughter. I pray for understanding...As a mother all you can do is TRY to make the right decisions for your children and all of them are different. I also work with young women struggling with eating disorders and our society does not understand this condition either.....girls are dying because of our societys  ignorance!!!!  
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Thank you, stlmom, from all of us very conscientious moms who are struggling with the same thing as you.  My son had days of refusing to go to school starting in 5th grade.  We found out the teacher didn't seem to like him and was doing several ridiculous punitive things to him (desk by himself, crate for his things "because he was too disorganized," despite the fact that he had an IEP for ADHD and dysgraphia.  In 6th grade, however, the problem got worse, even tho the teacher seemed okay. I believed we had to make him go and went so far as calling the police (it didn't get him to school.)  He struggled to the end of 6th grade with all kinds of incentives bribes and a counselor.  Now it is the 4th week of 7th grade and he has missed 7 days total out of 19.)  He is home now.  I floated the idea of homeschooling with one counselor who felt he would be hurt by not learning how to separate from us.  His counselor, however, has seen a lot of our struggle, and thought it might be a good idea.  Last night I had a complete breakdown about all this and couldn't stop crying (it doesn't help that I have some kind of virus with fever right now, that I think I got from being stressed.)  I have suddenly panicked about actually homeschooling him and not having any time to myself (selfish I know.)  I have found several online programs for middle school and since he likes computers this may be the answer.  Part of me wonders if I'm hurting him by taking this route,  another part thinks that maybe some kids are the square peg that we keep trying to force in the round hole of school (not knowing if I can survive the home part tho to be honest.)  I'd appreciate any helpful advice and encouragement.  (My son just offered to bring me a cup of tea.  He's actualy a good guy.)
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Of couse he is a good guy!!!!!!  I know exactly how you feel!  Not every kid is alike (thank God) and it is about what works for HIM. Ask (in writing) for the schol to do an assessment for and IEP. You may need a doctors note also. Keep EVERYTHING in writing so you have a copy. The school MUST educate your son. Homeschool is NOT an option if you are not trained (I suck at math) and/or can utilize homebound or virtual teaching. Could your son go to school with a smaller class? Ask HIM what he would be comfortable doing. As for your health. I am a single/widowed mom working 12-14 hour shifts in a very acute eating disorder faculity and I am exhausted when I get home. My daughter is of couse hyper and has energy that I can only dream about and has difficulity understanding how my enregy level does not qute meet hers. I have an ulcer due to stress at home and work but I keep on pushing forward (I've got to ).  I do pray for peace and truely believe that all will work out. Surround yourself with positive people and leave the ones out that are negative. I wish you strength and peace.....your son has your love and that is more that most....   :)  Laurie
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Thank you for you for you post it was most informative, and to ans your question NO i do not have an advanced degree in any thing, i  do have degrees, and i have worked with mentally ill and physical for many years and i did have a problem with my younger daughter, also i raised a niece. that had panic attacks after a bad wreck, but she trusted me enough that she listened to me and it was not easy, but we all got through this, and today she does not have the attacks also i am a person that can take constructive criticism Thank you again for your post  One thing is that not all people see things alike nor do all people have the same thoughts on things  my best wishes for you and your daugher   jo
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I have a 15 year old son who was just diagnosed with school phobia. he is homebound but don't know if it will work. the teacher comes in the house with his homework for that day and after asking if he has any questions, which he always says no, she leaves. He is a "people pleaser" and doesnt want anyone to think he is stupid or needs help. but my god, the panic attacts he has if he thinks he has to go to school. he used to practilly live outside playing all sports and being with friends. now he stays in his room. My son hardly went to school last year, freshman year, to which I attributed to being just stubborn and 15. His older brother left for college last aug, we moved at the end of august, and he he started highschool that sept., then his brother had a work accident this past Feb and was in the hospital ICU for three weeks. WOW! The pressure he must have been under. I feel guilty not realizing how everything was affecting him.  he is seeing a L.C.S.W. weekly and his family dr wants him put on buspar or prozac. i don't know that I want him on medication until I see how much the counceling is going to work. There is a history of depression in the family. my twin and I both take meds for this. Enough venting. Thanks to you all for helping me realize that even at such a young age, they do have a lot to deal with.

ljr
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Wow--this is my 14 year old daughter to a T.  She started not wanting to go to school last December--stomach aches, headaches, etc.  any reason to not go.  We have been through therapist, psychiatrist, therapy center (6 hours a day).  Now she started 9th grade and is worse than ever.  She has easily missed over 1/2 of the school days so far.  She is still under care of dr, therapist, and now school psychologist.  

I am considering taking her out of school and doing on line school.  The therapists are all saying NO!!!!  Not sure what to do--my heart says home school, my head says public school.  ps--I am a public high school teacher.   I taking daughter to school tomorrow and we will both meet with psychologist to see what we can do next.

I am scared for her--I really don't know if school is the best thing for her or not right now.
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im gonna be posting as a 17 year old kid who has school phobia. what u guys said were ryt. i can go have fun with my friends and family. but once sunday night comes. i totally freak out. u guys probably dont know the feeling of going somewhere where u are so afraid of. its like going somewhere high w/ fear of heights. im not bad at school at all. i used to be a top student(rank 1) form grade 1 - 5 . and although im not as good after grades 6 - 4th year highschool, i still have good grades. but this was due to laziness. but this summer, b4 starting 5th year high. i thought to my self that i better start studying well, i need my top grades back. since ill be graduating in the 6th year. but something thats been with me since 1st year high school kicked in again. school phobia. this is just so wrong. i needed to graduate with good grades. and how can i? im so scared of school that i just stopped coming to it for 4 days. i dont even know where to go any more. i get out of my house pretending to go to school,(my parents thought i was going to school) but i just walk around any place. this is definitely not lazyness or problem with my grades. there is just this fear, of going to the classroom. it sux so bad. last week my parents found out i didnt attend school for a few days. and they didnt understand at all. they just forced me to get back to school. i even thought of running away from my house. but my mom, i love my mom soooooo much. shes the only reason  im back in school even after all the fears......... i cant stand the thought of her crying all the time just for me. if ive been more selfish i would be out there working for a restaurant or some kind. i just cant go to school anymore. if im outside having fun, then the thought of school comes to me, i suddenly become dreadful. i feel like i dont know what to do anymore. and btw i wanted to take culinary arts after i graduate highschool. but i dont know if i can continue this any longer. i hope you parents learn from this posts. i hope u guys become more understanding when it comes to this issue with ur child. its not always laziness, theres something wrong and u guys better talk to them about it and not force them to do anything that they cant take anymore. i forced my self to go and study for 4 years coz i didnt wana disappoint my parents. but i dont think i can continue any longer.........
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and also i only plan to stop for a year. just need to relax alittle. get school out of my head for a bit. then ill over come the fear of going to it. sigh... i really hope my parents do understand.
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WOW my daughter has had School Phobia very bad since 4th grade... Everything you say is the same thing we go through here at home... The principal  wants to come to my house and escort her to school... Then send the police to take her I refuse... They do not understand and will not listen... She is 13 and in 7th grade... She wants to go to school but it just isn't possible... I have home schooled her the end of 4th grade some of 5th grade and all of 6th grade... I still have her enrolled for 7th but she has missed more then she has attended... I am requesting home bound and will see where that goes in a few days... Doctors here don't even understand they tell me to make her go to school... I just want my daughter to be happy I am ready to home school again if they will not help... God Bless and Good luck to everyone..
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Yo2 /and everyone that can relate to this topic---I was very surprised that my daughter walked into (with intense anxiety) the high school for her IEP last week.....I was shocked, but did not make a big deal about it(although I told her I was so proud of her courage). The "team" discused a plan for her to attend school for 2 hours (small class of 3-4)-come in a side door to avoid the large amount of students in the school and add home school with the same teacher  for 2 additional subjects. The damn principal sat  (while picking at his ear...so gross!)  telling my daughter over and over that "if she wanted to catch up with the other students and graduate with her friends she must work really hard"--no pressure right?...What an ***!!!!!!!!!  The next step is virtual teaching after Jan 2009  (because they did not sign her up in time) plus increase her hours at school. THIS GIRL HAS NOT BEEN IN A CLASSROOM SINCE LAST DECEMBER...Well...she did not make it to school 2 days ago as scheduled, and she simply looked at me and said...."There is no way I can go into the school and catch up. I feel stupid and want to know why the school has not sent any work since the beginning of the year so I would not be so far behind?"..VALID POINT! I did not tell her that THIS class was for students with learning problems, which is fine for them but my daughter is not slow ---just ANXIOUS as hell. A CSW from our county came to my home last week and said that she had attended a seminar regarding this topic and their is SOOOOO much ignorance involved. She asked me to send her and research /studies I come across (goo for her). Parents....I believe that you must follow your heart,respect your childs therapist, but you know your child best....do what is best for THEM. What is the worst that can happen? They eventually get their GED?....go onto a college/training of THEIR choice? and live a comfortable life?...HAPPY? or...they are miserable being FORCED to attend school to "be like every other student"??? - THEY CAN'T...and then parents, siblings, family, friends all suffer right along with them. :(  I would rather my daughter be happy and be able to FOCUS on her future than to conform to what others think is 'best' for her. I will hold the school accountable for their lack of resources from day one of my daughters first year in high school and will no longer hold onto the feeling of guilt because I can not change what is my daughter suffers from (school anxiety)--- Yo2--I agree that you need to relax and take time to reflect on what you vision for yourself...your future and then take the steps (when comfortable) to set goals and then the steps you need to take to achieve 'your dreams'. Good Luck to everyone dealing with school phobia and /or social anxiety. I am inspired by the common spirit of HOPE from this forum/community. God Bless you all and I will continue to 'spread the word" through education and perseverance. PEACE!  :)
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I suggest counseling for those with kids that have the fear for school. But in 5th grade, I bought myself out of trouble and entered counseling, and it was then terrifying life is. It could also be possible that at school everyone is all gangster and trying to be cool that it's difficult to fit in. I used to be scared once because there was this guy who kept hitting and fighting with me and everyday I'd have to get hit and hit back and just fight. And then it was solved later on. Could be just the people there.
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untitledforher:  

I am sorry that school and the kids were tough for you. My daughter does not have to worry about ANYONE hurting her as we live in a great community and the school has zero tolerance for ANY violence. School Phobia is much more difficult to define and find a sole reason for.  Godd luck to you!
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Hello everyone...Happy New Year !  My daughter will start a new program MO-VIP. It is a virtual school program and the school district is paying for it. They are excited to see how she does with this new program.She may be the FIRST stufdent to graduate using this type of program (like online college courses/new just a few years ago) She is not able to get in the high school building due to her panic and is happy for the opportunity to utilize this type of program at home. School is not for everyone -(I understand the importance of education). Research and discuss this MO-VIP program with your school. Your child will need an IEP to get this started, I believe (Specail School District can also help)
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so happy to see so many homeschoolers on the forum!!!
this is how i look at the situation.....i have 3 children
my 16yr old daughter, loves school, she is an a student, and is in several clubs, band, drama
but my 9yr old boy, had so many problems with school, we had to pull him out
and let me tell you,, i have been getting hell for doing this
we just started homeschooling a few months ago, and its been tough, but i found a support group where i can get advice on curriculims or other needs
we do what we have to for our kids

when you are young, school is your job!! thats what you do! you gotta learn!
we have different school, private, public, boarding, but they all have the same class room setting
to bad not every child does well in a typical classroom setting
as adults we go into a career that suits our personality! our job is our school,
when an adult is miserable and depressed doing a certain job, they quit and get a new one
the education system needs more jobs for kids!
i have worked at places that i would rather die than wake up and goto work, well thats the way these kids feel
they would rather die than goto school
its now time for us to listen to them and take action
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Thanks for the comment and support. I totally agree that not every child/teen can learn in a classroom setting, just as not evey adult can sit at a desk or do manual labor...ect...Thank god we ARE all different.
I really believe that in the future virtual teaching will be the norm...or atleast a real option for all kids. I hate when adults say that kids NEED school for socialization. I worl with many young girls suffering from severe (life threatening) eating disorders that would disagree. We can not shelter our kids but we can respect their choices and not project what is right for everyone. My sister homeschooled her 4 children and they are all in college and doing great. Religion is a strong force in their family and my sister firmly believes that the High Schools near her would have hurt the family morals/values that she and her husband tried to instill in them . Maby she is right? ...ok!  now the question? My daughter is beginning the virtual program Mo Vip and I can not even SAY the work school without her freaking out....crawling in the bed and shutting down. I do not get it!  She is so fustrated and this is realy our only hope at education. Advice???
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At this point the anxiety around school may have been worsened by fears about having fallen behind etc...that might have something to do with it.  
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Oh my gosh!  I can't believe I found this forum.  My daughter is a sophomore in high school.  Last year her first week of school she had a panic attack.  Long story short, she spent her freshman year in an alternative home school program.  In trying to getting her back into school and her saying that she wants to go back, the school has been apauling at my daughter's needs.  We did get an IEP in place, but when the Director of Special Education doesn't even know what Social Anxiety is, it has made it really hard.  They feel that my daughter needs tough love and has banned me from the school because I am enabling her actions.  I have filed two complaints with the state, the psychiatrists and therapists that she sees has written letters to the school, and now because of the conduct of the principal making me leave the school, my daughter doesn't want to attend (she is scared to death), they have turned her over to the juvienille court system for turancy.  Even though she has not missed the max number of days in the school policy, and she has had doctor's notes, they insist that she could have been in school.  Emotionally as a single mom, I am drained.  My daughter who already has fear, now has to face a hearing office (and she is an A & B student).  I have consulted an attorney who is going to her truancy hearing, but fighting a school system is almost impossible.  I was concerned for a time that she was going to commit suicide because the school is treating to put her on suspension.  I was told that the school "didn't have time to deal with me" every time I came in.  
Anyone who has any info that can help...I would so appreciate it!
Thank you ... to all of you folks who DO understand .. please help!
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Sorry I haven't been back to this forum for a while......My daughter's high school started her with a Virtual Program (MO VIP) and it was wonderful but my daughter did not keep up with the assignments and was dropped. I REFUSE to do her work and she is such a procrastinator. I do not know what the hell to do now. She says that she will NEVER go back to school (but then at times wishes that she could go and tell ALL of her classmates what is truly wrong with her. I am so afraid that she is becoming agoraphobic. I am so glad that you hired a lawyer to help you .  Schools really do not know what to do with 'these' kids and of course all  moms are to blame. My daughter is a sweet and adorable kid who has a serious illness that no one seems to understand. I have sent her to the best and all they want to do is put her on drugs to help the anxiety- but not help the underlying problem/s. My health insurance is going sky high in June and I can't afford to keep it  (if I want to keep my house and feed my daughter). I have such a very stressful job and this is to much to deal with alone. My boys are all in their 20's and live in their own homes. They do not understand Britt and her condition. Continue to support and love your daughter and I'm sure all will work out. I would LOVE to hear from young adults who had problems in middle school or high school with this type of phobia/panic. It would be helpful to know if 'anything' works!
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My friend seems to have something similar going on now...she can (sometimes) go to school, but not to class, and apparently has anxiety when she tries to do homework as well.  
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My 15 year old daughter also suffers from school phobia.  She is so miserable.  I know she would go if she could.  We are going to pull her out of school when she is 16 (in 6 weeks) and let her get her GED.  It is not worth the pain she is going through.
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As a 20 year old who has suffered from severe social anxiety disorder since freshman year of highschool I can completely relate to you guys. While I am glad my parents didn't pull me out of school ( of course I never asked them too) it sounds like the best situation for your children and yourselves. Medication (anti-depressants and anti-anxiety) has done wonders for me and I am attending college and actually attending most of my classes (big improvement!) I just want to thank all of you moms for being so understanding about your childrens' disorders. I don't know what I would have done without understanding parents. I ended up pulling out of highschool and graduating early my senior year because of the anxiety and an eating disorder because my school would not give me an IEP or 504 plan. I just want to say FIGHT FOR YOUR CHILDREN AND THEIR RIGHTS TO A PROPER EDUCATION. But I can see from all your posts that you are...thanks again
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Good for you (and your daughter)!!!  I respect your decision to remove your daughter from the school and allowing her to get her GED. My daughter and I received a letter from our school district that she (my daughter) had withdrawn form school . I called the school and they said that since the virtual program didn't work last year they assumed that she would be withdrawing from the district...not what can we do to help you both or what does your daughter need to accommodate her educational needs. They simply do not want to DEAL with her because they do not understand. This is happening all over the USA and other countries. Research this and you will be amazed at the increase of teens suffering from THIS type of social anxiety and panic based on the school environment. If your child was TERRIFIED of clowns you would not force him/her to go to the circus every day. THAT WOULD BE ABUSE!  I have a 29 yr old son who does not understand the mental health aspect of this disorder and wants his sister to 'get over it'. God knows she wants to "get over it" and be able to go to school but is crippled by the panic. Doctors, treatment centers...all have tried but can not help. You are not alone and schools better start to DEAL with this as it will not go away anytime soon. Thanks to all who support us parents who simply want what is best for OUR child.  Of course I am afraid of the future and of course I worry that this can change course and become something worse, but with kids their are no guarantees. I am concerned with my daughters mental health and HAPPINESS-so many teens look at suicide as the answer and is is because adults do not respect what they are going through. We all need to listen...shut our mouths for a bit and really listen.....
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Thanks for the support.  The goal is an education, not attending high school.  And, like they say, there are many ways to skin a rabbit.  GED and community college should work fine for her. (She can do online courses, take courses later in the day, different type of students, etc. There won't be that terrible social pressure of the twerps at high school.)  My older daughter doesn't understand her sister either.  She thinks she is just being lazy.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this plan works.  It can't be worse than what we are going through now.
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As a mother who is waiting for her to get up from bed (it is 11:00 am) just now. This is so common and so furstrating for us. She missed school today again. She goes one day and the next she cannot. She wants to go, she wants to have a life. Both me and my husband are academics. She is having psychatric support for the last three years. She has improved a bit (she would not go to school at all last year. This year she goes one day, the next she cannot. She is late for school every day, during the days she goes). The community counseling service is guiding us to develop a special program for her. But it is an uncommon problem for the school and for them. This is such a big problem for all of us. Seeing posts here in this forum which I just found was a bit of a relief.  
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I am new to this forum and am sooo glad that I found it; my almost 15 year old daughter has recently developed a "fear" of high school.  At this point, we are not sure what are next step is and are taking it day by day......she is in counseling and the counselor has said she has social anxiety, but she has only had a few sessions, so this is still all very knew.  She is a honor student, the whole works, but it looks like we may need to homeschool her, which I have mixed feeling about.  It's just all so new......glad I found you all.  MB
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Hey love to talk About ur issues with ur son. I'd be happy to email you.
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Hi, I am new to this forum. My 18 year old son, who is a senior, has decided he does not want to return to high school. He is a member of the national honor society, has been accepted into many prestigious colleges, and has never been a problem until this year. He is currently in counseling with counselor #3. I had a psychologist tell me to drive him to school and call a school official to come and get him if he would not get out of the car. I dropped that counselor immediately. Fortunately, he has a great support system at his school and is on homebound instruction. He now has a counselor who we both like. As much as I do not want him to be on medication, I am concerned that he needs it!. His new counselor does not think meds are needed at this point in time. I guess I am in a hurry to solve the problem. He has been diagnosed as having an anxiety disorder (it runs in our family). I also think he is becoming depressed. He spends hours on the computer playing "World of Warcraft" and spends little time on his assignments. Has anyone had any relief from medication?
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Hi from STLmom- I am sad that schools do not seem to GET IT but I guess it is easier for them to dismiss the students than to help the parents who are struggling to do what is BEST for the mental health of the student...our kids!!  Although my daughter is not attending high school she struggles daily with the social absence of her peers and the lack of understanding from adults. This social/school anxiety creates depression, delusional thinking and low self esteem issues. Why doesn't the school teach coping skills and positive body image in grade school. We all know how cruel teens can be and although my daughter is beautiful she does not see herself that way and feels so insecure going anywhere now --afraid to see anyone from our school district. It is exhausting, but I love her and we take this one day at a time. Whenever anyone ******* to me about her not going to school I respond "she is alive and doing well-why would I screw this up?' --Good luck parents..take it one day at a time!
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I know how she fells I have had some of the same problems I have missed last year 56 days of school due to the face of other students picking on me. My dad knows I can be a A student but I got stuck on not going to school  for a freasons 1. The Jerks at school 2. The Make up work 3. I just would rather be at home. I still have these stages where I dont go to school for a few days then ill come back. What my father makes me go even though he cared about me he makes me go its my education and I cant through it away
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After reading these posts, I finally don't feel so alone.  I am the mother of a 14 year old girl with school phobia, asberger's, selective mutism and severe anxiety.  She has had school refusal for many years but it worsened with middle school.  This year in 9th grade, we tried cyber school but she refused to communicate with her instructors.  She has had wrap around services for 4 years now.  It is an intensive therapy in which her therapists come to the home and she only has to go out to see the psychiatrist once a month.  She is medicated and that helps take the edge off some. She is capable of going out with a few select people such as her older sister or my husband or myself.  She loves going to church youth group and participates in Girl Scouts.  School is another whole issue.  When school is mentioned she becomes visibly distraught.  Her whole demeanor changes.  She loves school and truly wants to go but for a reason that she is not capable of identifying she cannot.  Her therapists and I have been working diligently to help her overcome this.  After doing so poorly with cyber school, she asked if she could return to regular school.  We enrolled her and she cheerfully went for two days in a row.  Then she completely reverted and wouldn't go.  Apparently, many people were asking her why she wasn't in school before and she said she doesn't know what to say to that because she doesn't know.  It created an overwhelming amount of anxiety for her.  At this time, I am at a loss as to what to do.  We maxed out our homebound instruction days.  Our district allows 90 days per student history.  We are planning on home instruction in which I was told was a last resort.  Well, aren't we at our last resort?  Went to court yesterday for truancy.  Was told that I should quit my job and go to school with her everyday.  Told the judge that if I were to do that, I couldn't afford to support her.  Judge told me to get my priorities straight.  I told her that I choose to feed my child over educating her.  Got yelled at for that.  Judge told me to physically force her to go to school.  I said that if I did that children and youth would be at my door.  She printed out a sheet from the law books that said you can hit your child.  Said pull her up by her hair and make her go.  Sorry, that is not something that I am willing to do.  Hurt my child because of something in which she has no control over?  If the judge was afraid of heights would she like someone to beat her if she refused to climb?  People in the schools and judicial system are ridiculous.  The truant officer said that she has two kids with asbergers and they both go to school every day.  Well, I said good for her.  What is her magic secret?  Are all kids with Asbergers supposed to behave EXACTLY the same?  I am so frustrated and heartbroken that I can't seem to help my little girl.  I am happy to be able to hear from people who know the pain and heartbreak that school phobia causes not just for the child but for the entire family.
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Oh you poor thing!  Our schools and apparently law enforcement are all so ignorant.  Why is wanting the best for our children so wrong.  and... I love how the judge gave you advice on how to raise OUR child. I was under the understanding that this is the USA and not Russia. I wold never hit my daughter  for a mental condition that causes extreme anxiety and fear. ---how sad!  I do feel bad that ,my daughter is missing out on developing high school friendships and the social aspect of not attending school but she is physically healthy and I really believe that she will find what makes her happy---and it may not be school. She loves animals- art-makeup- and photography. She may be a great makeup artist, a photographer for National Geo graphics or a Vet Tech.  Whatever she does become I want her to be happy. She is a good kid who suffers from a mentally disabling disease. We would not tell a crippled child to shut up and just walk...or a blind child to focus...this is insane to expect and child to suffer through school if it is that which he or she is terrified of.  Hats off to all of the parents, family, and friends of those suffering from this phobia. I remember years ago attending a Catholic grade school and kids were beat because they couldn't focus in the classroom. We  now know that this was ADHD and kids are treated with medications, teachers are educated on ways to deal with this issue and their education continues......I pray that this happens soon regarding school phobia. This type of anxiety is not understood  -  lets keep this forum going. Support is a wonderful gift we can give each other. Love your kids and I believe that all will work out. BELIEVE!
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God is Great, I am from South Africa and cannot believe the similiarities in all our cases. My daughter is 10 years old and suffers of such serious school phobia that she is contemplating suicide. I have ordered books on the topic and immediately knew she was school phobic as my brother went through the same thing more than 20 years ago.  She is a highly intelligent child with an aggregate of over 90%.  have also been to phsyciatrist/counsellor etc with no improvement at all, she was placed on the one medication after the other. Yes it seems as if nobody understands the severity, i have recently been capturing her episodes on video and am using it to show to teachers and counsillors to try and prove that this  is not a child who is merely manipulating to get her will.  What I would like to ask though, is it possible that this phobia could be activated by a stressfull event.  Two years ago when she was 8 the school forced her to attend a school camp for 3 days in another town, she had never even slept over away from home.  She went and I can recall the absolute look of shock in her eyes when she came back from that trip.  Ever since then she cannot speak of the camp and it is when her trouble seemed to start,  I do not know what to do anymore all that I know is forcing does not help at all.  She used to be the light of our house and when she has to go to school she turns into this little child pleading for help with her big dark eyes sunk in with dark circles around.
I am planning to go see a trauma debriefer in hoping to help her cope with that camp, this might once again be grabbing at straws but I cannot allow her to take her own little life out of desperation one day and have a teacher or counsillor tell me sorry.  the lesson I have learnt was that as a parent you have a sixth sense when it comes to your child and I will never ignore my instincts again no matter what who says.  I knew she wasnt ready for that camp but she was bullied into going by the school.  Thank you and let's help each other.
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Hello - so sorry for what you are going through.  My 17 year old has just developed a school phobia also - am unsure how this will turn out.  She is on anti-anxiety medications and has just started with a therapist who specializes in treating anxiety disorders.

From what I have learned, a child is born with a genetic predisposition to depression and anxiety (40% of the equation).  The remaining 60% is from life events, family history, etc. Also, disorders like this are more likely to strike intelligent, conscientious, somewhat perfectionistic people.

With your daughter, life may have eventually caused her to develop a phobia even with the greatest diligence on your part, since we simply cannot shield our children from life.

Could the school provide any time of home teaching?  In the U.S. some schools will pay for a teacher to come to your home.  Or you may look into homeschool groups in your town, which consist of small groups of kids taught by a tutor.   I would highly recommend removing her from the school environment at least for a year, to see if she can work through some of her feelings with a therapist and possibly try medication or natural remedies such as acupuncture, Reiki healing, etc.

No school is worth having a child become suicidal over.  Much luck to you and let us know how you are doing.
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I cannot believe this is such a common problem around the world. I am from Turkey and my daughter has the same problem. When it comes to school, she has such hard time. She does not have any type of learning problem, she can catch up only sitting and listening in the class. The school is understanding and tries to collaborate with us (family, therapist, community conselling service). Monday is the first day of the second semester after mid year break, and I hope for a good semester. I can relate to all the posts here. Do not forget to believe in your teen's feelings. Their health and presence and well being is all that counts.
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wow, i can relate to u guys so much, im 16, and ive been dealing with this for about  4 years now. you remind me of my mom, u both are so understanding, ive been dealing with therapists and psychiatrists for so long and yet nothing has gotten rid of this completely. I miss school and feel terrible, and when i return its bad enough that i have to face questions from my classmates, and to make it worse the teachers probably think im a bad student. before all of this started i was an honor student with 97 averages, and now i dont know what to do, i feel like homeschooling wont help, though i wud like to give it a try. i feel so depressed because i want to be successful and feel that this phobia is getting in the way, and i understand what your daughter is going through, she wants to get better but its not in her hands, she feels helpless, and although it may be a piece of cake for other kids to walk into school, its an everyday battle for teens like us.
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Thanks for taking the time to include you post. My daughter is simply  existing at home. She fluctuates from wanting to see school  friends to stating that she would rather be alone. I am sorry you are also having problems relating to school. This is such a mysterious condition. It is no wonder most people do not understand. I work with girls/women suffering from eating disorders and constantly strive for better education. We also need to educate regarding this panic disorder. School Phobia is REAL and terrifying. Good luck--take one day at a time...small steps.
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I am so glad I found this forum.  I have felt so alone.  My 15 year old son has suffered from school phobia since 6th grade. We switched schools in the beginning of 7th grade and he was doing well..was on several anxiety meds that he decided to wean himself off of in Dec. 2007 and had been doing better...he never had perfect attendance but at least he would attend.  8th grade was also ok, again, grades not so good and more days off then the "average" student, but still it was progress.  He started high school this last fall and even joined the diving team, grades still poor, never did or "had" any homework but made school more often then not.  Again, progress.  Well all of a sudden we are back to what seems like square one.  He has refused to go to school now for almost 2 weeks.  He says he hates the noise, thinks he's stupid and is very embarresed to ask for help.  He is very far behind and won't have enough credits to become a sophomore.  He says what's the point in going back. He says he is not going back. He says he can't even think about it without getting angry and depressed.  He is a very homebound child, has friends and does ok in social situations but chooses not to do many activities. He is happiest at home, on the computer or playing his guitar.  We've started him back on Prozac (which he feels he doesn't need) but I know that his anxiety has flared back up.  I'm searching for an online school but I just don't know how cooperative the school district will be.  We have a meeting next Monday.  I've wanted him tested for learning disabilities since 6th grade and no one at the schools seemed to think he needed it...I don't think he learns the same way as others.  He is overwhelmed and then just shuts down.  That's the mode we are in now.  My husband and I also asked for a 504 plan in 7th grade which they never would agree to.  It's my thinking that a child who is given more help when he is overwhelmed would be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel...the administrators looked at it backwards...see what he can accomplish with things the way they were...he didn't know where to start and that's why the grades were so low.

I just want to thank you all for reading if you made it this far!  It was good for me just to get this out to people who understand since there are so many who don't.  I appreciate all and any advice.
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I feel so bad for you and your son. It is amazing that a school would not WANT to get this resolved as soon as it became evident that their was a problem for your son learning  in this GENERAL type of school environment. All kids are not the same and it amazes me that schools have NO PROBLEM lining up young kids for their adderal or reglan (labled ADHD) so damn easliy but do not know what to do with anxiety/school based phobic kids/teens. THEY are backwords and need educated about mental conditions and helping those who show signs of this horrific and debilitating health condition. I am glad that your son will take prozac. I hope he can get the help he needs to continue with school as some kids never go back (as my daughter) and become agoriphobic (secluded) GOOD LUCK and keep demanding help from your school district until SOMEONE listens.
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I am SO glad you are willing to go through everything you have for your daughter. I'm a junior in highschool and have the same exact problem. I've missed almost 40 days of school this year alone and honestly would have missed more if I could; Since I moved to Maine in 6th grade i've started becoming afraid of school. My parents both don't support me and think i'm making up all of my problems, my doctor thinks nothing is wrong with me and just put me on three antidepressants which all did nothing, and my counciler believes i'm just stressed out. None of them understand that I feel uncomfortable EVERYWHERE in school. I hate the thought of others mocking me or looking at me like i'm strange because i'm barely in class. My teachers are SO unsupportive and constantly threaten me that they will find ways to lower my grade because i'm not learning if i'm not in school. I've explained that I can't help not going because going to school is the worst thing that can happen to me. My boyfriend is the only one that understands how I feel about school since he is the same way. He goes to a school where there are only 8 highschoolers and all of his work is online. It is so unfortunate that people along with me have to deal with this because it is just so exhausting and not fair. If I was given the chance to go to school and have no worries about anything for just ONE day, I would.
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I am back with a different name (problems logging in /stlmom). How is everyone doing? My daughter will turn 17 at the end of November  and I wanted to give everyone an update since this forum really helped me when I was feeling hopeless.  No, she has not returned to formal education. Yes, she still gets visibly upset when talking about school unless 'she' begins the conversation. She went to the High School football games and the  dance this Fall and had a blast (I cried with relief when I dropped her off with friends, as it has been a very long road). Usually she freaks out when we shop(anxiety) but she actually tried on several dresses and bought 2. I was shocked!! I am seeing a young girl start to define herself without being in high school and she is doing a great job. My daughter seems to be the online therapist for all of the high school kids thinking that they are in love, depressed because of a breakup or having sex with every boy in school. My daughter is so much wiser and more mature that her friends appear to be. I am convinced that I know MY daughter better that most parents of 'school going teens' because she can talk to me about anything. My daughter has no regrets about the decision  to withdraw her from school. She does not feel she has missed anything at all (either do I). My daughter is brilliant with photography and makeup (a true artist) and her brothers and I decided to invest in HER not school. We will get her the best camera/equipment and makeup to develop this talent. She may go to college in the future and that is OK but she will make that decision not me. I wanted to give you all an update as life can change its course when you least expect it to . Remain true to your children. Listen and love them and they will show YOU the way. I do believe in prayer and believe that prayer has helped me to take this slowly.  Schools and doctors do not always know what is best for you and your child. Listen to your heart and good luck. (stlmom) GOD BLESS!!!
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Congratulations. :)
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My 16 year old daughter started having anxiety problems about school half way through last year and ended up on the 504 plan and homebound. She was all excited about school to start this year but the fears and anxiety came back and she has barely attended any school.  She is still a 504 student and they have her working on two classes at home via the computer and they want her to attend just afternoons in the lab to do her other classes.  After weeks of trying to convince her I finally got her into school and she was okay with it for about a week and she got sick and I haven't been able to get her back into school.  I believe she has school phobia and while the school district is doing everything they can to help her, they still threatened taking us to court over her attendance which only adds to her anxiety.  I have looked into homeschooling and online schooling, but I'm just not sure if that would be the best for her or not.  She does see a therapist once a week.  But this is my question I guess; I've had 3 different social workers tell me that while I'm a good mom for caring about my child and trying my best to help her through her fears, that I'm not really helping her if I don't make her go to school. They want me to be the tough parent, they say that a 16 year old should basically hate their parent.  I'm sorry but I went through a divorce 2 years ago to her father that was emotional abusive to her and she has told me that I and her sister are the only ones that care about her and they want me to be the tough one.  I can't hurt my daughter she's had enough of that.  I see her fear of school as real and I can't see making my child hate me as a way to help her. It's not that she doesn't want to go to school she can't and to me won't and can't are two different things. I guess I just want to know if not being the tough parent is going to hurt her in the long run.  Any advice?
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YOU ARE RIGHT!  Won't and Can't are 2 different things. This phobia is real and is so misunderstood. I work daily with girls with acute eating disorders and thank God that my daughter is only missing school. This can NOT kill her and I really believe that she will work through this with lots of love and acceptance. Our children feel bad enough about this anxiety provoking illness. They do not need their parents to put more pressure on them. A GED is acceptable and really discovering what interest your child is what is important. It seems to me that we forget to look at the gifts our children have and the unique qualities they possess. Good luck everyone.
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I just read your article from a few years ago and am wondering how your daughter is doing? My son who is 17 and in the last few months of high school before graduating is suffering from school phobia. Everyday is like hell. He just cant work up enough courage to go and severe anxiety sets in to the point of debilitating him. Ugh! He's up til all hours of the night thinking about the next day and talking about how he's going to concur it, but when morning comes he has panic attacks and hives and fear takes over. Then I get that dreadful txt at work....."mom, I just puked and cant breath, I cant go to school today". I just feel helpless! I hate watching him suffer and its consuming our lives. Making it through one day feels like 3 weeks!
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I can't belive this is so common, doesn't seem to be the help in the UK though, my daughter, now 14 hasn't gone to school for about 18 months.  All these posts describe her to a tee. I am paying for her to see a hypnotherapist at the moment, as the NHS system is so frustrating, no one is helping us at all ....
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