School Refuser - The Blog

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Dealing with school stress - video

A new school year often triggers Publish Post

new worries for students, but for some children, the stress of going to school can spiral out of control.

Healthbeat reporter Sylvia Perez takes a look at the behavior that may signal a problem is this video on school refusal.

'I Hate School' Extreme Edition

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Andrea Petersen sets out what she thinks school refusal means, and suggests how to fix it.

She writes:
What child hasn't dreaded September, the end of summer and the return to school. But for some kids, the prospect of school produces a level of fear so intense that it is immobilizing, resulting in what's known as school-refusal behavior.

These are the kids who may be absent for weeks or months. Some may cry or scream for hours every morning in an effort to resist leaving home. Others may hide out in the nurse's office. Some kids who miss school are simply truant—they'd just rather be doing something else. And sometimes there are genuine reasons to fear school, because of bullying, for example. But in about two-thirds of cases, a psychiatric problem, most commonly an anxiety disorder, is the cause, according to research led by Christopher A. Kearney, professor and director of clinical training at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

You can read the full article, which has audio links, here>>>

What do you think of her views?  Please let us have your comments.

Monday, 6 September 2010

I understand what you are going through

The following is taken from another forum - if you were the author, then please contact us.

I understand completely what you are going through. My son (who is now thankfully doing well in college) had an average school attendance of 35 days in high school.

It started around fifth grade and ended up getting really bad in junior high until he hardly attended school at all in high school.

He started to always complain that he didn't feel well. I don't know how much money and time we spent on doctor visits, visiting specialists, being worried sick when having him tested for diseases like MS to find out what was wrong with him.

Luckily nothing was wrong medically. While that was a blessing it was always very perplexing because we had no idea what was wrong. He didn't do drugs, he didn't leave the house, he slept most of the time and was up all night.

We ended up taking him to a psychiatrist and a psychologist. He was prescribed countless anti depressants but none of them helped.

My biggest suggestion is to find out exactly why she isn't attending school. And not just the reason she says initially, ie she's sick, or what not. Or even the secondary reason. You can't be sure what the reason it is because she's obviously trying to avoid it.

Is she extremely intelligent? I'd suggest having her intelligence tested if you haven't already. She may seem to score really high in reading or math which may make her seem quite intelligent but if one of those sections is a little bit below average. This may be a cause of anxiety because she's scared to go to a particular class where she doesn't exceed well. If this is the case you can try working with her on that subject each night or even hiring a tutor.

Was it very sudden? I don't want to make you paranoid but it could have been an extreme situation such as assault or rape that occurred in school or with some of her school mates. Or it could be something not as big but still very serious to her such as bullying. At the school where my son went when I brought this up with the principle they just immediately turned cold to me and denied that any bullying happened at the school to anyone.

Did your daughter ever really have any good friends? Like a *best* friend who she had sleep overs with and connected to the ankle with? This was the case with my son, he didn't really have any best friends. He had a few people he knew and went to the movies with a few times but he spent most of his time alone at lunch and such so he just stopped going.

He didn't have any connections to any other children as we later found out. What he did do a lot of was play on the computer. He played a game called "Counter Strike." And was apparently really good at it. The way we got him to come out of his shell was to take him to this computer cafe where they had tournaments. He connected with a lot of the kids there and came out of his shell and only missed 7 days of school of his last 2 marking periods in his senior year. He really started to get better.

Just remember that whenever she says mean words to be patient. She doesn't really mean it, she's just scared to talk about what's really bothering her. Trust is a big issue here. I would not suggest snooping as this could compromise any trust you may gain. You do however need to keep an eye out for signs of suicidal tendencies.

Look at what she's doing. She has to be doing something all day. If she's reading, buy her a book she wants. This may seem like rewarding bad behavior since she isn't going to school, but remember you want to gain her trust. This could even lead to other things like a book club or something at the local book store.

Does she write? There are tons of great writing classes out there.

What does she do? I think the biggest thing is to find what she does and connect her with people like her doing those things. Get her excited about something.

I hope this helps you. I'm not a professional but I've been in your situation. This may not sound like what you've gone through but I hope it gives you some encouragement. Hang in there and be patient.

And to you children suggesting she should spank her child... until you've been in her shoes you really do not understand. This is not something that can be solved by a mere spanking.

There is a clear reason why she isn't attending school. She doesn't want to be there for whatever reason. If you make her feel unwelcome at home, where will she feel welcome? Basically what you're suggesting is make it so uncomfortable at home that she goes to school. But in all likelihood that's not where she'll go. You shouldn't suggest such things lightly. Actually think. She'd be more likely to run away from home or even worse, commit suicide.