My 14 year old son started having problems with going to school half way through 6th grade.The main issue is that he has had a group of "friends since early childhood and has played on many sports teams etc. with them. All of them have been on the honor roll all through middle school and our son has not once made it. These "friends" have made him feel stupid for not making it even though he has had good, passing grades(A-, B's) and is a good kid. He starts every year like gang busters with a ton of confidence only to miss the honor roll by a few points. He also had a few teachers that punished him,made an example of him because he refused to wear glasses for anything other then reading the black board. We had many meetings with the school over this and they backed down off of this but,these teachers would wait for the chance to jump on him for anything..Maybe a response to our meetings...
He started to have panic attacks in 7th grade, mid year, on the way to school.Crying, begging not to go. He said my wife and I had no idea what he was feeling and he wished we could be in his shoes. Some how we got through 7th grade and had a nice summer. 8th grade started great,played a fall sport and reported that things were going well and he acted happy and looked forward to going to school. THEN 1st term honor roll came out and once again, he missed it by a few points while his buddies all made it...He had a really good report card but it was not enough for them.
He hung in, had a great winter sports year and seemed to be getting along.Towards the end of winter sports season he began to have the same type of emotional ouburst's before school, crying,begging not to go etc. He said he had become afraid of a teacher that had singled him out. We spoke to the guidence counslor & the principal. The talked to the teacher.However, I felt that it ran deeper then this and that he was now having problems in the hall way with students. Our son is a good looking kid, smiles ( use to) has a sense of humour ( use to) and is into sports.
Towards the begining of the last marking period he began to have head aches, stomach aches and missed school. He also began to sit on the floor and break into tears and beg not to go to school. It looked to me like a emotional break down. He begged us to home school him..He promised to stay involved in outside acctivites, stay in contact with friends and do the work at home. We consulted with a mental health professional and they recommend that he be home schooled. It has not been all roses...He soon began to with draw, said all his friends werent his friends. We hired a tutor the last few weeks to help him finish by the middle of july as my wife and I both work and it became clear that he needed more structor in the day. The problem has become a lack of interest in doing anything other then video games.He has invited other boys from outside his original circle to sleep overs but nothing seems to click. There is always something wrong. I asked him if there are anyother kids outside his old circle and he said no.He loves basketball and had at least begun to attend summer day camps and leagues, THANK GOD!! We have tried to get him to see a counslor but refuses to go.My wife and I go just to get some help...He wont go to any type of social function outside of basketball. He said there is something bothering him but he wont tell us or go to see someone.
His Doctor sent a request to the school to ask teachers if they noticed any signs or social problems or ADD.They all said they saw no problems. We have noticed a lack of focus etc,,and the doctor has put him on a med for ADD. He has been in it a couple of weeks and we have seen little change...He is angry now about leaving school and said he wishes he had sucked it up and got through it.We have set up rewards,set guidelines, been the good cop,bad cop... over the course of this and it ends in him going to his room and closing the door. There is a avoidence to things and it has become a habit....It is a fight to get him in the shower.....To go out for pizza, to a movie....The tutor gives him weekend home work and that becomes a fight to do it. I have tried talking, hugging, and rewarding him. The only thing that seems to get his attention is taking his cell phone away or the video games...It has put a ton of stress on my marriage and zapped our energy....We wonder if it is part of just being 14 or if he has anxiety-depression...We have heard that depression meds at his age can cause thoughts of harming yourself or others....He is not the boy he once was. We asked him if he wants to go to another school in the fall and he said NO! Sometimes I feel we are so worried that we are causing him more anxiety....I fear he will balk at going back to school in the fall even though he said he wants to play high school basketball in the winter....It is a sport that he is good at and can play at a high level then other kids his age.He said he has no interest in playing the other sports he once played......Has anyone had any experience with a situation like this and how did you get your child back into feeling good and wanting to go to school? Sorry this has been a ramble but things just pour out after awhile..
He is confused with the norms of society that he badly wants to belong. Your son has distanced himself from his usual friends in school which were bright kids but actually were pulling him down. He feels singled out and it is even magnified by the way he is being made an example of by his teachers. At times you felt like they are his friends as you see it or as he tells you, but the thing with teens, they are very good in hiding. The only way to know what he is feeling is to look for someone or a new set of friends or even a buddy who understands his situation and is open to listen to what is bugging him. You see, I am very sure how good you are as a parent because of the necessary steps you have done but one tiny thing you forgot to consider is letting him speak out his feelings towards things that is going on now. If he does not want to go to school then don't. If he likes basketball, look for a boarding school or a teen boot camp that can accommodate him with his activity of interest like basketball. Schooling for now can wait, for we want him to open up, we need a bridge, someone he can rely to share his feelings openly, and it pains that it should have been us the parents, but it's no good to force ourselves.
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