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Hi Everyone:<br><br>
I am pretty new to this forum, but have a question. My 8 year old 3rd grader is refusing to go to school. She has had anxiety problems all of her life, but now, with the stress of a new school year, she is totally overwhelmed. She really likes her school (private, with lots of parental involvement and 2 siblings there) but she says it is basically too much and she misses me too much being away all day. She cries, vomits, stomach cramps, diarrhea, hides, etc. in order to not go to school. Once there she cries off and on all day. School sent her home last week. Dr. gave her Zoloft and order counseling to start this week. So, here's the question: Anyone else go through this, either themselves as children or with your own children? Ideas? Maybe just take her out and homeschool? We are in desperate need of some help!!! Thanks in advance!!!
 

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Is it possible for you to go with her and maybe be in the classroom for part of the day until she gets used to it? The mother of one of the children in my DS' class did this in third grade (they'd recently moved to the area and her DS was very nervous). It worked out very well, and she was able to leave him in the classroom on his own after a few weeks.<br><br>
I would say that homeschooling would help as far as continuing her education, but not help her to overcome her social anxiety. That, of course, is just my opinion.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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This is going to sound like an odd question, but has she had a strep throat infection lately? There is a very uncommon form of severe anxiety (known as PANDAS) that is triggered by a strep infection. Zoloft is a good choice for this, but takes a little while to kick in.<br><br>
My suggestion is that if your long-term plan is learning at school (not at home) then you should persist with it at this point, and not back down. Sometimes our children are really looking for us to be strong about supporting them. I know of a boy who developed social anxiety related to school at age 11. They chose to homeschool, and 4 years later they are still doing it; he never could go back, because they gave him the choice.<br><br>
Can she say anything about what bothers her there? Are the social demands feeling hard? (3rd grade they begin to get fairly complicated). Does she have sensory issues that make school uncomfortable (lights, noises, smells, touch, etc.) Would some support in school be helpful; somewhere she could go to just "chill out" for awhile--like a school counselor's office? If she really does have diagnosed anxiety, the school can qualify her under a 504 plan as a "child in need of accommodations" to make her schooling a success--clearly her difficulty is getting in the way of regular learning.<br><br>
Also, can you give her a transitional object to take with her==a piece of fabric with your soap smell on it, a photo, a "totem" that she and you decide is to let her know you are with her in spirit?<br>
Even though it is written for younger children, The Kissing Hand by Audrey Wood is a good reminder of how to stay close when you are apart.<br><br>
If as you say, she likes school, but it is just too much being away; she seems to need something to comfort her when she is there--much as you'd do if you were together.<br><br>
Hopefully the counselor will also assist with suggestions! Keep us posted.
 

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My dd LOVES school; she is an extrovert, and just can't get enough of those kids!! But she is extremely anxious over any separation from me.<br>
I have done many of the things suggested here; I have had to do some coaching of myself to make sure I don't send her mixed messages, 'cause I was: I would be so fearful about the bad day she was going to have and how her behavior would disrupt the class/learning etc., that I stopped being her advocate. She would pick up on my anxiety and then would feel that she was RIGHT to be worried. So I hope to send a more positive message this year (school starts in 2 days).<br>
The talisman thing worked wonders for us: she decided she wanted a mommy and daddy doll (this was kindergarten), and she made them herself out of old socks. She stuffed the socks, sewed up the ends, and drew faces on them with permanent markers that look like my dh and I to her. Now in K, it was perfectly acceptable for her to hold one of these dolls in circle time...might be less acceptable in 3rd grade, but something smaller that could slip into her pocket might help.<br>
Good luck and here's hoping your dd makes the transition safely...
 

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Her behavior sounds a lot like mine in 3rd grade. I was bullied in 2d grade. Small private school, same kids in 3rd grade. I didn't feel comfortable talking about it with adults or other kids or a counselor I knew would tell my parents what I said. The high level of parental involvement at the school can cause the kid to wonder if you'll understand "their side" in a conflict at school.<br><br>
Just a thought.
 

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Bullying was my first thought when you talked about the symptoms she was displaying.<br><br>
I am reading The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander by Barbara Coloroso right now. It's excellent. If you feel this may be the problem, I would highly recommend this book.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><i>Originally posted by chfriend</i><br><b>Her behavior sounds a lot like mine in 3rd grade. I was bullied in 2d grade. Small private school, same kids in 3rd grade. I didn't feel comfortable talking about it with adults or other kids or a counselor I knew would tell my parents what I said. The high level of parental involvement at the school can cause the kid to wonder if you'll understand "their side" in a conflict at school.<br><br>
Just a thought.</b></td>
</tr></table></div>
 

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We have been through this. DD#1 is now in 7th grade, but she has struggled with anxiety this year. (throwing up, diarrhea, etc) I expect it will last a couple more weeks before she feels comfortable.<br><br>
It was in third grade that it started, and 4th grade that it got really bad. It wasn't overt bullying, but the more secretive, underhanded things girls do that got to her. She's very trusting and outgoing usually, and she's just incapable of playing the social games that start to arise at this age. She was in a small private Catholic shcool at the time (same kids in her class since preschool), and there was really no support from the admin. or staff for dealing with these problems. Combine that with a poor match in the teacher and she couldn't handle it. Her grades went way down, and she got to the point where she just wouldn't go back. When she came home and just burst into tears one time too many, I finally said "OK, you don't have to go back". She was so visibly relieved to see that I believed her......I knew it was the right thing to do.<br><br>
I considered homeschooling, but it never had seemed like the right choice for us, so it didn't seem right to choose it for negative reasons KWIM? Plus, we had just opened our restaurant, I was there full time and dh was working 18 hour days. There was no way we could do it. So I found her a place in a wonderful charter school. It was a place where I felt she could feel safe. It took at least a month to transition to the new school. The first week, she only stayed a short time each day, with truly scary amounts of crying and vomiting. I constantly questioned if we were doing the right thing. It was a rough time. It gradually got better, and I stayed with her until she told me she didn't need me there anymore.<br><br>
Anyway......the point of this ramble is to say that what I learned is that it is so impotant to support your child in whatever they are going through. Let them know that you are on their side, no matter what. But I agree that the final decision about where she should be should not be only hers. You know a lot more about what is right for her, and you, and your whole family than she does right now. The other thing I learned is that for my dd (and I suspect for many many girls) an emotionally safe environment is the most important thing at this age. If they feel unsafe emotionally, they cannot learn or develop as they should. I could see my dd's self esteem shrinking by the day when she was in the first part of 4th grade in the old school. It was heartbreaking. It does not have to happen! When she got settled in her new school her grades game up (even with a more challenging curriculum) and her standardized test scores shot up to where she qualified for one of the most academically challenging middle/high schools in the area.<br><br>
Good luck with everything. I hope your daughter finds a place where she feels safe!
 
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