DS always "ill"

(28 Posts)
Orchidlady Tue 21-May-13 08:50:59

Feel so stressed and waiting for the school to call, I'll give it to 9.30. DS 13 said he is sick and not well enough for school but I know he is acting up, ( let him stay home yesterday as gave him benefit of the doubt but was fine) DP and I literally had to drag him to the car this morning I feel terrible but can't just give in, sure we will get fined soon. This has been a recurring theme, ( couple of month) I send him and school then calls asking me to pick him up, surprise surprise he is perfectly fine when we get home. I have spoken to him about whether there is a problem and spoken with school and there seems to be no issues. Just don't understand why he is doing this, should I refuse to pick him up when they call? It is a 45 min drive return and I am working full time. Sorry just need to rant but any ideas how to deal with this?

Fressia Tue 21-May-13 09:05:32

What do the school say about it are they supportive , well done in getting him to school when mine plays up like that I couldn't get her out the bedroom let alone in car ! Xx

flow4 Tue 21-May-13 09:43:09

If you think he is well enough for school, and you are managing to get him there (and yes, well done for that!) then it seems really odd that the school should call you to collect him. How often has that happened? IME, kids have to be obviously, visibly very ill before schools send them home! If your son isn't, then I would be very tempted to just refuse, and see what happens... It might just break a habit...

You could try calling the Education Welfare team at the local authority. They were very reassuring when my son was truanting and getting excluded, and explained that they wouldn't fine me if I was trying to get him to school...

BTW, if you are sending him and the school is then calling you to take him home, there is no way you'll get fined. smile

Orchidlady Tue 21-May-13 09:52:32

Thanks for your comments. DS is a great actor ( should be on the stage) but obviously something is up with him, we are really close and he talks to me iykwim but he claims nothing is wrong at school. Said I am horrible for making him go but I know he is not ill. This has been going on for a couple of months, but seems to happen when there is something wrong at school ( maybe bullying)I have just called the head of year and going to have a chat, school actually pretty good with pastoral care. Still feel like shit sending sobbing kid off sad

claraschu Tue 21-May-13 09:55:21

I would be worried about why he doesn't want to go to school.

Sometimes children feel sick (really feel sick, not pretending) because of anxiety. When they get out of the situation they feel fine.

I would never get into a situation where I was dragging a 13 year old.

Lots of kids get bullied and teased at that age, and it is INCREDIBLY hard for them to tell you about it. You say that there seem not to be any issues, but don't underestimate how humiliating and upsetting it might be for him to open up to you.

Of course, I have no idea if this is the case with your son, I just think I would be trying to figure out what the problem is, rather than trying to figure out how to get him through the school gates. I would assume that something is making him unhappy, if he is so unwilling to go.

I hope I am wrong and he is just going through a lazy phase-

monikar Tue 21-May-13 09:58:38

Oh dear, what a worry for you. In my experience of secondary school age children being sent home, it comes down to the decision of the person manning the medical room or the school nurse. On the odd occasion I have had to collect DD when unwell or for an appointment, I am astonished at the steady flow of parents also collecting from the medical room at the same time. DD (17) has told me that the school nurse never puts up much of a fight - they have so many students to deal with all day long.

Perhaps it would be helpful to have a chat with the head of year and ask that the medical staff are advised of the situation. The school nurse and teaching staff probably have little communication between them. You could point out that he is fine when you get him home and are concerned that he is missing vital lessons. If your son meets with more resistance when he presents himself in the medical room, he might be less inclined to try and get sent home.

claraschu Tue 21-May-13 09:58:56

Sorry xpost, I see you are already trying to figure out what the problem is.

My similarly talkative and open 13 year old hid the extent of his problem with a few other boys for 18 months because he was so ashamed of being disliked. He ended up taking time off school and then going to a new school, and he was absolutely fine.

Mems Tue 21-May-13 10:12:53

Talk to Form Teacher and Head of Year to check there are no underlying causes - my DS1 spent 2 months telling us nothing was wrong before we discovered he was being pushed around by a couple of bullies - & we only found out because a friend of DD2 saw it happening and asked her about it!! He would still be saying everything is fine!
The other thing I'd advise is to make life as dull as possible at home - no tv, no internet, no phone - if you're ill in my house (with no physical symptoms) you're in bed in your room with no entertainment. I'd also suggest next time school phones to pick him up, phone your surgery to see if you can make an emergency appointment with a Practice Nurse (usually more available than a doctor!) and take him straight there. & if push comes to shove, if he seems fine once you get home, take him back - though can see that 45 minute drive back might not be great incentive wink.

claraschu Tue 21-May-13 10:15:50

Just a warning, in secondary school, form tutors and heads of year may have NO idea about bullying that is going on if it is subtle (i.e. not punching and shoving, but excluding from friendship groups and sneering).

Orchidlady Tue 21-May-13 10:16:17

clara exactly my thoughts and waiting for head of yr to call back. DS is a very nervous anxious person, just his nature. I think it anxiety, we off on holiday on Sunday and he hates flying maybe that has something to so with. Sorry to hear about you poor son, kids can be so vile * Moni* I know exactly what you mean about school nurse, I worry we are breeding a load of light weights though, god imagine if they were like this in the workplace.

Mems Tue 21-May-13 10:30:17

Clara, that's true - apparently my kids school has no bullying problems hmm! But once DS1 knew I was talking to his teachers he opened up a bit and admitted what was going on. To be fair, the school was quite effective but it did take a couple of "talking to's" before things settled down!

claraschu Tue 21-May-13 10:31:56

Thanks Orchid, my son is great now.

I'm hoping for you that it's just the worry about your holiday, and that his school is actually fine. If he is having difficulty at school, it might come out while you are on away, as he might feel more comfortable talking about it when he isn't in the midst of it.

I just wanted to share my experience because it was so painful seeing my son's character start to change and not knowing why it was happening.
The best thing we did was to temporarily HE, which gave him a sense of perspective on the whole thing. He went back to a new school very happily, and has done really really well (finishing A levels now).

Orchidlady Tue 21-May-13 11:04:25

He is on report but no idea why, DS said because he did not do so well in school report, hmm more to this than meets the eye. I would have thought if he was being bullied he would have told me but seem listening to your stories this might not be the case. I feel truely horrible making him go and seeing how upset he is but sitting in his bedroom is not the answer { rolls up sleeves determined to get to the bottom of things ]

claraschu Tue 21-May-13 11:13:18

I think 13 is a difficult age. He will get through this and come out stronger in the end, as you are clearly a sensitive, caring, loving, proactive mother, and won't just ignore the challenges.

I hope that doesn't sound condescending at all... with 2 older boys, I feel like I have seen quite a few kids come out the other end of this kind of thing. Of course it's always different for everyone-

cory Tue 21-May-13 11:20:19

There is clearly something going on here. Your instincts about sitting in his bedroom are right, it's just a question of how it's tackled.

I have plenty of experience here, anxious child dragged into school, ended up school refusing, and eventually jumping out of window and taking overdose (on separate occasions) when pressure got too much.

She is now coming back, very slowly on gradually, with CAHMS support to help her handle her anxiety, and we are moderately hopeful that she will be able to manage Sixth Form College next year. She is learning to recognise that hiding away from her fears makes her feel worse and is gradually getting better at taking herself in hand. But it's been a long haul and we've had to work with her rather than against her. Liaising with the school has been essential- and thank goodness that they are a school one can liaise with.

SO I would say:

first talk to him and the school to find out what outside problems there may be

work out a plan between you to sort any that can be sorted- if it is bullying this will primarily be the school's responsibility

recognise that problems that don't seem that massive to you may be overwhelming to somebody who is already anxious and hormonal into the bargain

ask for referral either to school counsellor or CAHMS to teach him techniques for coping

explain to him that you recognise that his problems are real but that he can be given help to deal with them

claraschu Tue 21-May-13 11:27:40

Sometimes CAMHS either has a 6 week wait or only offers a rather perfunctory set of CBT sessions.

If you feel that your son is actually suffering from serious anxiety (I am am not saying that he is, I'm just saying IF), I would find a really good private child therapist very quickly, and not mess around waiting for CAHMS. Unfortunately, they are overstretched and dealing with lots of life threatening situations, so they may not be the best people to help you. Of course, this is only if you can afford to go private, though I think some therapists have a sliding scale.

Orchidlady Tue 21-May-13 11:34:29

cory oh your poor DD, anxiety is such a problem I suffered myself when younger so very sensitive to this also his dad also has had issues in this department so perhaps I should not be surprised this is a problem for DS. I do all I can to make him feel loved and safe, my DM says I baby him but not actually going to take her opinion in to account ( another thread all together) Clara do you know the best way to find a therapist?

claraschu Tue 21-May-13 11:45:19

I'm really sorry, but I don't have personal experience finding someone.

My close friend, whose daughter has school phobia and social anxiety, after struggling for 6 months with CAMHS, found a good therapist through word of mouth. He is in London (not sure where) if you want a recommendation. He might also know someone near you, wherever you are. In fact, I know another therapist in London (family friend) who might have a recommendation.

If you have any friends who have been through similar problems, they might have ideas. Also, CAHMS might be better resourced in your area than it is in general, so it is certainly worth asking; I just wanted to warn you that CAHMS isn't necessarily the best or only option.

Orchidlady Tue 21-May-13 12:48:47

Update have meeting arranged with head of year and tutor after school tomorrow. Head said DS has been very disruptive but does not think anything like bullying is going on. But will keep an open mind, something clearly is not right, DS is very unhappy.

claraschu Tue 21-May-13 13:03:55

I'm so sorry you are going through this.

I am usually suspicious of the school when something like this happens, as I figure that kids who are loved and cared for become unhappy at school for a reason, (not just because of hormones).

Is your son coming to the meeting? It might be interesting to see how the tutor and head of year relate to him-- whether they try to listen to him, and are open minded (or not).

Orchidlady Tue 21-May-13 13:12:53

Clara Yes DS will be at the meeting, so hopefully we can shed some light on all this.

claraschu Tue 21-May-13 13:20:56

Good luck, and let us know how it goes, if that might be helpful for you.

I am off to get some work done (ha), but if it is helpful to air out your feelings, I feel lots of sympathy for you, as I have been through similar things and know how upsetting it is.

mindfulmum Tue 21-May-13 20:15:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

flow4 Tue 21-May-13 22:58:07

Orchid, forgive me if I'm out of line here, but another idea occurs to me...

I wonder whether, rather than trying to stay away from school, he is perhaps trying to stay at home with you more often? I had a look at some of your previous threads, and I see you have had a very tough time as a family over the past year - your DP's MH problems, your diagnosis with diabetes, ongoing relationship problems, money problems... sad If he is sensitive and anxious, could he be worrying about you, and wanting to stay to keep an eye on you? Or could he be anxious generally about all the things that are going on, so that school feels like just one thing too many to cope with...?

It does sound like your family as a whole might benefit from family therapy/counselling... Have you considered it? It might really help everyone. smile

Orchidlady Wed 22-May-13 08:42:40

flow you are not out of line, you are right things have been tough lately. Thank goodness things have settled a bit recently but yes you could be right, though DS has always been an anxious nervous child. He always over thinks things, he has asked me 5 times where he is meeting me today after school for the meeting with year head. oh bless. Wish I could give him more confidence

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