"WHY IS MY DAUGHTER SO ANXIOUS ABOUT TRAVELLING TO SCHOOL?"
I am sorry that
your daughter is suffering in this way. It is very
difficult for you both as there seems to be no one clear
reason why she experiences these symptoms. However
‘school phobia` or ‘school refusal`, as it is called by
the professionals, is not unusual. The causes of this
anxiety are very individual, but broadly speaking you
need to think about what is going on at school and at
At school, is it possible that your daughter is being
bullied or has friendship difficulties? Is there a
chance that she is not doing as well as you or she would
like? Has she started a new school recently? Perhaps
rather that trying to get information from your daughter
you need to talk to teachers and other people connected
with her. Perhaps she finds it difficult to talk to you
as you are feeling so concerned about her anxiety
symptoms and refusal to go to school.
At home, are there or have there been any family
difficulties that may have affected you daughter. You
don’t say anything about other members of the family.
You say that there are no problems at home but sometimes
they are not obvious. It could be the case that your
daughter is anxious about leaving you for some reason.
Have there ever been any anxieties about being separated
from you or the family before? Has the family lost
anyone close? There are numerous possible causes, some
more obvious than others and I wouldn’t like to draw any
conclusions from your letter.
I think you need to find some good professional help. I
assume that you live in France so this would most likely
be accessed through your generalist. I think you need to
explore what is happening to your daughter as a family
with someone who is trained to understand young people
and families in a psychodynamic way. This problem needs
help. It won’t go away by itself.
Meanwhile there are some things that you can do to help.
Keep life as normal as possible. Make sure that there is
a containing structure to your daughter’s day. Try to
stay calm yourself and reassure her of your love. She
doesn’t feel safe except with you, so try to build her
confidence in herself. Stop questioning your daughter
but try to talk to her as much as possible about other
things which interest you both. I do hope you manage to
help your daughter with her school refusal. The sooner
you get good help the better.
I'm so sorry that
your daughter is suffering like this, but it does sound
as though she may be suffering from some form of
bullying- either on the bus going in or at the school
itself? It may also be that she is scared of telling you
in any detail, as one of the consequences of bullying is
being threatened if the victim tells a parent or anyone
in authority at school.
There is a web site dealing with bullying, based in the
U.K., but it has general useful advice & an email,
helpline facility which might help your daughter to
identify with others in similar situations & to realise
that she isn't quite as isolated as she may feel. It
does sound very sensible to talk to her Dr & hopefully
make sure that her general health has been checked out,
but again if nothing is helping calm her nerves then
perhaps you could make an appointment to speak to her
teacher/head. I guess it is still better to check all
this with your daughter as she is grown up enough to
feel she is being consulted. Otherwise it may be that
your Dr knows of a family therapist who could talk to
your daughter about her fears? It depends on where you
live of course, but there may well be some further
support available on the internet.
I do hope the web sites below will help to guide you &
your daughter through this very difficult time.
sounds like your daughter is suffering from panic
attacks when having to go to school. It is crucial to
find out what it is that is frightening her and making
it feel unsafe for her. You have not mentioned how long
you have been in France and whether your daughter speaks
French. Unfortunately adolescents sometimes find it
difficult to deal with those who are different from them
and bully them or make fun of them and this is extremely
difficult for the young person who is at the receiving
end. The cause of this school phobia must be dealt with
as quickly as possible so that the effect on your
daughter is minimal. I would suggest that you find out
what sort of psychological help is available for young
people in your area. The headmistress or headmaster of
your daughter's school should have that information.