New here, going to jump right in

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Parker, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. Parker

    Parker New Member

    Hi all.

    I'm a 46-year-old dad, married with two kids, 17 and 14. Our 14-year-old daughter has been diagnosed with social anxiety and has been given medication for. However, she refuses to follow the advice of counsellors and physicians and is now on the verge of being booted from school as she will not attend classes. She stays up all night and sleeps the better portion of the day away.

    My wife and I are at our wits end and don't know what to's also taking a toll on our relationship.

    Any thoughts of ideas will be greatly appreciated.

  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Welcome. Sorry you had to find us but you have found kindred spirits. Each of us has our own experiences and perspectives. The first two thoughts that came to my mind is (l) is she smoking pot or doing other drugs? and (2) if her psychiatrist can't motivate her then maybe you should switch to online schooling. Yeah, I know, it is NOT what you and her Mom ever envisioned BUT if she actually has severe anxiety issues and will not take medications you don't have too many choices. Believe me I know the anguish and I know the strain on the marriage. Problem is...there is no "win win" answer for some of our kids. Hang in there and I wish you well. DDD
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Social anxiety can be crippling. it may take more than medication and therapy. If you do switch to online schooling, do ensure that she gets some social interaction. What worked for us, was to include the child in shopping trips to buy groceries. Having the child help with shopping slowly builds up their familiarity with something she is going to need later on. We also used comparison shopping to help with maths skills, so it didn't matter that we went shopping during school hours. The cross-section of people she will meet if you go out during school hours, is different to the crowds of kids who hang out at the shops after school. It might be easier for her to cope with adult interactions. Start small - have her interact only with you while out shopping. Send her to get this item or that, in the same store. Then have her (with you there) process the goods through the checkout (ie interact with the staff member at that level). Over time, build up what she does. Also don't forget to reward her - if she has helped you, has really made an effort, buy her a pair of earrings or a bottle of nail polish. Something inexpensive that catches her eye that will remind her, when she uses it, that she had a success.

    We found the switch from mainstream education to correspondence to be far less stressful. No nagging to get off to school, no having to cancel my plans to rush to the school to deal with the latest crisis. I could go back to planning my days and be fairly sure that my plans would not be derailed. We did fun stuff together, but he also got a lot more schoolwork done. Correspondence is outcome based, so the school technique of letting the work slide and it would eventually go away, did not work with correspondence. It all had to be done, they tracked it. If he had a problem or did not return a unit of work that was due, they would call him and talk to him about it. Or they would email.

    We did the same thing with difficult child 1. He was older when we made the change (17) but even then, his social anxiety meant he could not make a phone call. He could talk on the phone once I dialled and made sure the right person was there for him to talk to, so over time he began to get more confidence in telephoning his teachers.

    What social anxiety kids need, is a series of small successes. You start at the level the child can handle, and work from there. But at the same time, work towards life skills.

    It is much easier. Trust me.

  4. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Welcome to our little corner of the world. Sorry you had to find us but am so happy you did. My difficult child 1 has switched to online school. It meets his educational needs and without the after hours homework, he has more time to socialize in less demanding settings. Marg is right. Social anxiety (I learned myself the hard way) can be totally and completely debilitating. It is VERY hard to overcome and it is much easier, physically and mentally, to just avoid it. However, in the whole scheme of things, it is not the BEST thing. Most of our kids that suffer this just don't have the emotional energy to overcome it.

    What medication did they put her on? How long has she been on it? Do YOU think it's helping or is she not taking it? It might be that it's the wrong medication and/or the wrong dose. Once you find the right one(s), it will be easier to overcome the physical symptoms. For now, you might need to look at alternative educational options until the right medication/dosage is found. Just remember, it's not her fault she suffers from it OR that she isn't able to overcome it right now. She's doing the best she can at this particular time. I would definitely, however, put limits/consequences in place for the sleep issues. It might mean you and your wife staying up to enforce them but it will be better in the long run.

    Good luck.
    Lasted edited by : Oct 25, 2012
  5. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    The hardest thing for a parent of a difficult child is to know how to parent the child we have right now. Not the one they used to be or the one we wanted them to be. We question and second guess our parenting ability. There are so many emotions when we hear the diagnosis's and so many conflicting opinions on "how" to parent our kiddos. The people that post here have been there done that. This is a good place to come.

    If she has not had a complete physical for awhile,it may be worth doing one now. Her regular Dr. needs to be filled in and I would ask for a drug test as well. I would want to know because it can change the types of medications. and the therapy she would receive.
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    In terms of school, if she is having such a hard time even attending, have you asked for any support in terms of special education (kids do not have to be failing to have an IEP for special education. There are programs to support kids with emotional challenges where she could have a safe place to go if she needed or even more support like a very small and private learning environment).

    Some parents have found that their kids are at the place where they need partial hospitalization or intensive out patient and school then done at that site until they are done. that might give the doctors and therapists some time to help you figure out medications and coordinate what to do when going back to a school setting. (and of course some of these programs dont go off so ideally, but hopefully there is a program like that if you are thinking it is time)

    Let us know if you think that more school support is needed, if you need any ideas for how to go about that many of us have experience and would be happy with how to navigate that. It is very specifically legislated and things need to be presented in writing often to get them to do what they need to do.

    Glad you found us, there are many here with very very similar stories. I hope you find the support here as much a blessing as I have.
  7. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    Hello, Parker. I'm sorry you are going through this. I wish you all the strength and stamina you will need to get through!
  8. Parker

    Parker New Member

    Thanks all. We have decided to pull her out of school and are commencing with on-line learning. A lot of the stress has dissipated and my daughter seems happier. She'll need extra help with math and have an appointment for Sylvan Learning.

    My daughter is a home body and I'm not worried about her involvement with drugs. She's watched her brother go down (another story there) that road and I think she's learned from that...particularly the suicide attempt.

    You seem like a good group of people...mind if I hang around?
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hang around Parker, you're now among a wonderful group of parents joined together by our parenting of "challenging" kids. I am so glad you've begun the on line learning, it sounds like a win/win for everyone. Good job. Welcome. Thanks for updating us, we enjoy finding out outcomes, particularly when they are so positive. Keep posting if that feels right to you.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    We LOVE it when people "hang around".... please do.
    Each person brings a unique perspective, and so often any one of us doesn't have an answer but collectively we can help. For myself... I find that hanging around the board and helping others is a healthy diversion from GFGland (where I live the rest of the time)
  11. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Always great to have more support from a fellow warrior parent! Glad you are staying.
  12. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I was thrilled when this group let me "hang around". I had friends who always said that they understood how hard it was to be the mother of a difficult child, but when I found this place I knew that the other parents here REALLY got it. Please, join us!
  13. Parker

    Parker New Member

    The advice I read here was really helpful, I immediately felt there a way out of our current situation and one that was a win/win. I truly think she'll flourish with on-line learning where she can chat with her instructors at any time and with no distractions in the classroom. She also plays ringette and at times she finds it difficult to be in a team environment. Just being in an enclosed dressing room with 15 other girls is enough to drive her to an anxiety attack, however, her coach is well aware of her challenges and has been very accommodating. She feels the medication she is on is not very effective so another trip to her Dr. is up coming.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome, Parker! Of course you can hang around here! we may be the only group you find who truly understand because we have been there done that. No matter what, there is almost always someone who has some experience with the problem.

    I don't know what kind of testing has been done, but I urge you to get a complete evaluation. Most of us recommend neuropsychologists as the good ones do very comprehensive testing. I also urge you to have her evaluated for auditory processing and sensory issues. An audiologist is the best for the auditory issues and an occupational therapist is the professional to evaluate for sensory issues. Others here can recommend info to help you research the auditory issues. I highly recommend reading "The Out of Sync Child' by Kranowitz. this describes sensory issues and has ways to help. sensory integration therapy can help with a LOT of things that I think your difficult child may need. People with sensory issues are often overwhelmed by the various sensory input they get, and often it is worse in groups of people because there are so many types of sensory info that her brain isn't handling well.

    The good news is that treating sensory issues gives her a TON of tools to help her cope with being overwhelmed and anxious. I have pretty severe sensory issue and I can guarantee that they don't get better if you don't get help. I know some auditory processing problems also can just overwhelm you.

    One thing that you need to keep in mind as you find help for her is that as a parent you know her far better than any of the experts do. So if something just feels wrong and your instincts say to stop or end or not start something, then listen to those instincts. You have them for a reason. The experts are expert in a field of study. YOU and her mom are the experts on her.

    One thing that will help on the forum is to create a signature like the ones that show up at the bottom of our posts. No real names, but basic info about the family and whatever issues the kids have really helps us not get confused.

    I urge you to create a parent report. the link in my signature will take you to the outline. The parent report is a document that you create that has all the info about difficult child in it. You take it to the various appointments and you share pertinent info from it with the doctors and tdocs and other people who are helping you. It keeps everything organized and you can show that you have done this, that and the other thing with-o having to remember it all.

    I hope that online schooling is very successful and that she can overcome her anxiety problems. Anxiety is an awful problem to have.