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14 year old with sever school phobia

I need help with my 14 year old son, he has severe school phobia.  I dont know how to get him back in the classroom, he is very smart but wont go to school.  The school is not helping.  any help would be appreciated.
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585414 tn?1288944902
Well there may be something wrong and he may need someone to speak to such as a talk therapist but I'm not a believer in the term "school phobia". They said that's what was going on when I was that age but actually I enjoyed the classes and the coursework but I was getting bullied all the time and also I did because of my psychiatric disability have trouble relating to people as well of course. So it could be both. But have an honest conversation with him about why he is avoiding school. If its an issue with other students if you found out the specifics you could speak to the guidance counselor about it but you need to know what's going on.
Avatar universal
Hi Renata:

I just sent you a note but I wanted to say that SCHOOL PHOBIA IS REAL!!!  Some teens do avoid school due to bullies, defiance, eating disorders, low self esteem ect... but do not think for one minute that this is not real. I have work for years in the mental health field/currently eating disorders and am appalled by the ignorance of our society to dismiss things that they cannot understand. I do not understand prostate cancer but I sure the hell know that is real. Do I sound angry...yes! I have been dealing with this for almost 3 years and after so many doctors and treatments’ programs am lucky to have a compassionate psychiatrist that LISTENS to my 15 yr old daughter and CARES!  HE believes that MOST schools can not begin to understand this complex anxiety disorder (it is not even listed n the DSM). You can label it anything you wish but school phobia is real.  Now, this does not mean that every kid that does not want to go to school is school phobic...just like every kid that has energy or gets distracted easily has ADHD.
As parents, we need to look at our own child and get to the root of the problem. This is not always easy as they usually do not want to talk or listen to conversations about school because this is the triggers that sets the adrenaline flowing and the panic to set in. My daughter panics then shuts down emotionally. She wants to be "normal" and attend school. She hates this condition but it has now attached itself to her so strongly that is "part if her". Most doctors want to medicate or look at school as the goal but the true goal is your child’s health and happiness...isn't it?  Forcing school and having a severely depresses teen it very scary in my book.  MO-VIP is a new virtual teaching program in MO and your child MUST have a formal school IEP/504 plan. Research this as I truly believe that is homebound does not work then this is the best option. It is expensive and the school district will pay but YOU need to advocate for this. I am a single widowed mom who can not home school (due to work) but the school district offered this program and we are ALL excited about it. My daughter will be responsible to complete the work but with out the stress and panic of the school setting. She looks forward to college (and yes, this be delusional thinking)--but I WANT her to dream, set goals and love life!  Please research school phobia and support those who are suffering...both the parents and the kids.     AWARENESS!  
*before seeing a school guidance counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, anxiety program...ASK them how much experience they 'personally' have treating teens with school phobia,,,this will save lots of time , money and your childs trust in YOU...the parent. GOOD LUCK!
Avatar universal
you are right, my son is also has a sever case of school anxiety.  We have suffered with this for almost two years.  I have had it with physically forcing him, he gets so distraught that I am afraid he could hurt himself just to stop the pain he feels.  The school wont cooperate, one team member in the meeting asked me if I called the ambulance when he refused to go to school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this says it all, they are the root of the problem the school is responsible for a big chunck of what is going on!  I am not looking for a lawyer.  I dont know what to do anymore.
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I meant to say I am now looking for a lawyer, I am so mad I cant even type correctly!
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Renata22 hit the nail on the head in many ways.
I had school phobia also.I wound up (many many years later) diagnosed with anxiety and agoraphobia. I think I had it before I even started school.I actually loved the classroom work and study,I just couldn't get myself there.Hope you can get some help.
They had no idea then that anxiety even existed(1950's).They gave me no help in school, not even a conversation asking me if something was wrong.My parents had no idea how to cope with the problem.
Let us know how you make out.
757137 tn?1347200053
Is it a phobia, or does he just hate school? Lots of bright kids do. One of mine always came up with "illnesses" and was so good at faking them that the school nurse believed her and thought I was a neglectful mother.

You say your son won't go to school. Why don't you just deliver him there every day? After all, it is not his choice that he goes to school, but yours. It is a question of discipline.

I have a silly story about my child who hated school. Almost every morning she would tell me she was sick and I would tell her that we would talk about it when she came home from school. (This happened all the time.) One day the school nurse called me and said in a most disapproving voice that I had sent my daughter to school with the mumps. She delivered her home a bit later and, sure enough, she had the mumps. My daughter was so happy. She got to stay home for several days.
Avatar universal
There is really nothing you can do.  My son has not gone to school for almost 2 and 1/2 years.  School Phobia is real and horrible.  My son hates himself because he loves school.  His body and mind will just not let him go.  The school has been awesome.  He has an IEP and was homeschooled by teachers for 2 years.  He is getting a little better this year.  A few days here and there but the school is helping him.  He sees a psychiatrist but there are NO true answers or cures.  He is also on anxiety medication which does not seem to be helping with the phobia.  He is not anxious in any other part of his life.  

THIS IS A REAL PHOBIA just like being scared of heights.  You would avoid heights at any cost!!! It is really sad seeing my son go through this and not being able to do anything!!!!  Along with this phobia came panic attacks.  The school and I would try steps.  It worked for a while but the panic was real and scary.  

So Renata22, talk to the school and tell them to research School Phobia.  It is real.  Try to get a psychiatrist to give you a note that he needs to be homeschooled.  Anywhere is better than no schooling.
Avatar universal
what is MO-VIP
we are at our wits end and would try Anything !
Avatar universal
I know most of these posts are older, but hoping someone still looks at them. These are the first comments I have seen with similar symptoms to my 14 yr old daughters. Loves school, very social, good student, but cant go to school. Went online school all of 7th grade. Did pretty well going in 8 th grade, until about halfway thru. Now, hasnt gone in 3 weeks. At a loss. Feeling helpless. Dont know what to do. Shes on anxiety meds with no other anxiety trouble in her life. Just school. I am her father and makes me want to cry for her.
If you make a new post you'll get more answers, I think.  But I am a bit confused -- you say she's only got the one problem, school, but at a very young age when meds aren't recommended she's on medication for this instead of seeing a therapist of some sort?  Is that right?  You also say she loves school but "can't" go.  Of course, she can go unless there's something physical you haven't mentioned, she's choosing not to because of something -- it may be anxiety, it may also be something that happened to her she hasn't told you about but might tell a professional therapist.  
Yes, she has had anxiety with school since she began as well as other aspects of her life. Sleepovers, Dr. Visits, some separation anxiety. Has went to many therapists over this time and they seem stumped. She doesn't put in a huge amount of effort to get to the root of the problem or help herself through it. I think her meds have helped but would rather her not take them if she is not going to school anyway. However she no longer has the issues anywhere but school, which makes us lean towards a phobia. Sorry not more clear but trying to condense many years into a short post
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