Sugar won't go to school....Help!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by greengurlygurl, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. greengurlygurl

    greengurlygurl New Member

    Sugar is 17, 18 in February: Bipolar I, Severe ADHD, ODD, Anxiety & Depression.

    She has a terrible time focusing in school, teachers and Sp. Ed. teachers are awesome and understanding. Sugar gets all hyped to go to school, picks out her outfit, checks the weather, etc.. then gets up and tells me "I didn't sleep last night" or "I don't feel good." It's always the same. I believe she is stressing herself out as she has an extremely difficult time making up missed work, thus failing grades for the most part. School works with her, she just won't do the missed work. She won't move up a grade and will not graduate on time, but those facts, though she hates them, are not enough to get her to school. The longer she is out of school and missing work, the more stressed she gets and so on and so on....
    So when she DOESN'T go to school, she lays around the house and does nothing. She is too old not to be more responsible and I just can't figure out how to get things to change.

    Any ideas??

    Me - bipolar II, depression, anxiety - medicated nicely
    Sugar - bipolar I, Severe ADHD, ODD, Depression, Anxiety - medication stable, lots of bad days and mood swings, of course.
  2. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    I have a very similar child, sadly. We have made a little headway but not a whole lot. Proper medication is essential, but you sound like that is under control. For my son, Lamictal has been a great help.

    Second, we learned that he does better in very small classes, one on one teaching. He was in private school last year, this year back in public, but with a tutor. It is still a major struggle.

    Third, he is old enough now to starting to do some trade related courses at local community college. My hopes for him have altered--at this point it is just getting him through HS with whatever grades we can and helping him do the things he likes better which is not regular schoolwork. He has an internship at a local tools place which has been great for him

    So Is your daughter on an IEP? Has she gotten any services? Is there any way to alter her schedule to make it less painful (going to school later in mornings?), doing more on career interests?

    Another question is whether things are getting worse, is she digging herself into a really big hole, or is she muddling along?

    The other thing we have found is taking away privileges etc for a really depressed kid only got us an even more depressed kid. The key has been to try to find hooks--some friends, some activities, driving--something that he really wants. Those didn't exist in the early teen years. As he matures and gets a bit more connected to the world, you have a few more levers--but you need to use them sparingly. Because to these kids everything is overwhelming. If you try to leverage too much it just plays into the the hole is too big to dig myself out of mentality.

    It is such a difficult situation, because adulthood is approaching. I have finally come to the realization that my kids will not be launching anytime soon and it is will be a slow road to adulthood. Redefine my expectations. You still want to see progress, but realize it will be slow.

    Probably the best best of advice that we have gotten is work on engagement. Engagement with adults who are good role models, engagement with physical activity, engagement with friends, with hobbies, whatever will give them a reason to get up in the morning. Are you sure that the medication is as good as it can be? SSRI's can sometimes mess with motivation.

    good luck. hope this helps a little.
  3. greengurlygurl

    greengurlygurl New Member

    Thank you so much for responding. it's so hard for everyone, but helps so much when someone has a very similar issue to be able to commiserate.

    She does have an IEP and the school has bent over backwards time and time again to help her. She is no longer muddling through, she is in a hole and it is too overwhelming to get out. At this point I just want her to GO to school to be socialized and get out of the house. She has friends at school, but never does anything with them. She needs someone else to initiate contact and face it, they are teenagers. I have tried to bargain, reward, take away, give back, 2nd and 3rd chances...everything I can possibly think of as well as suggestions from others. I don't even have an option to send her to her father's for a time. One, he could never handle her and two, he is too busy with his family. No contact ever unless she initiates it, but she is so used to his absence in her life, she never thinks about it.
    She is responsible enough to be by herself, feed herself, take care of the animals, etc.. She doesn't talk on the phone much at all, texts rarely to friends and just does her own thing at home. If I become too rigid she fights back in an awful way and it's pure hell to live with. She is at least two years behind in maturity, but believes she is as she should be with the other kids at school. I held her back in 4th grade and it bothers her greatly now. The idea of being held back again paralyzes her, but that is exactly what is happening. She started the year out so well, but one sick day and she starts rolling downhill.
    I have accepted a long time ago that her launch date will be in her 20s so that isn't an issue. What is is what she is going to do between now and then. I get ch. spprt as long as she is in school up until 21, and I need that as I know she will be with me for a long time after school is over. I just want her to be healthy and a productive member of society; get a job, hang out with friends, live life OUTSIDE our home. Her diagnosis is so extreme, without all the stimulants she would not be able to function, thus the Ambien to help her sleep. People think she is over medicated, but you take any one of her medications away and there is an absolute difference. We have had lots of therapy and our relationship has grown so much, but this situation really threatens that. I can't help but be disappointed, but really try not to dwell on it her my sake as well as hers.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Is she taking a full slate of courses? If so, based on her issues, could she be taking a reduced load?
    Right now, it might be more important that she is actually getting to school daily and accomplishing "something" - even if its just a couple of options courses.
  5. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I was going to say what IC said... so instead....{{{hugs}}}
  6. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    She sounds like she might be a great candidate for some type of emotional growth boarding school, though she is getting on the old side. When my son crashed and burned in 9th grade, we sent him to a wilderness program which gave him some space to do some further growing up. Much more effective than any therapy he/we had done.
  7. greengurlygurl

    greengurlygurl New Member

    She is taking the full slate, but is moslty graded on what she does accomplish. It's just getting her there to accomplish it. She did however admit she has been wasting the time and help we have all been giving her this past year + so she is aware. That doesn't necessarily mean she will be better, just means it's settling in what is going to happen, or in this case, not happen. Trying to keep her going to school is an ongoing effort and sometimes we can, but my anxiety is really kicking in for next year when she hasn't passed and is a Junior once again. To her that is the end of the world, eben though she is the only one that can change that. Illogical and unreasonable......enough to want to tear my hair out at times.
    She went to school last Thursday and Friday and made a deal to work on missed assignments daily and one to take home each night. This could really pan out, but today she has decided she is sick. Once she is "sick" getting her to go back is really hard. So I suck it up and tell her to feel better, I love her and I go to work.