11 Yr Old Son with School Anxiety

Updated on February 17, 2012
S.K. asks from Mojave, CA
10 answers

Hi = I am at my wits end with my 11 yr old son. He has OCD and doesn't like change. We moved over summer and he had to go to a new school. He refused and I gave in to home school. Circumstances changed since and I am unable to home school him so I enrolled him back in the school. At first he agreed to go but on the first day he had a huge meltdown in the office. It was embarassing because he is a big boy and he was acting like he is 2. He went to school fine on the second day, then it was a 3 day weekend. On day 3, he threw a huge tantrum and we left him on the parking lot at the school with the school staff. On day 4, he refused to go. He went completely crazy screaming and punching the walls and knocking things over. At one point he practically attacked me when I was trying to call the school for help since he wouldn't leave with me so I could take him to school. He never went. I took him to talk to a counselor today who said he has school refusal/school anxiety coupled with seperation anxiety from me. He has never been violent before so his behavior today scared me and I didn't know what to do. Has anyone dealt with anything like this before with a child as old as my son? Help!

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answers from Houston on

Call the non-emergency number for the police next time he says he's not going to school. Maybe they can scare him into giving up the fight and just go to school. That's what people around her do when their kids refuse to go. Sorry you have to deal with this.

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answers from Washington DC on

There have been too many changes too soon.
HAve you discussed at length exactly what happens when he goes to school? Who he will sit by, where his lunch comes from, where he sits for lunch, where the bathrooms are.
Who are his allies in school? I'm guessing he doesn't have any right now. New area, new kid, homeschooled kid back in public school, OCD, anxieties, yadda yadda, the list goes on.

So first get to the pediatrician and have him referred for an evaluation by a professional.
Can you homeschool him for the time being?
Get him onto a tight schedule, start at 8, do 1 hour of math, 1 hour of English, 1/2 hour spelling or whatever.
Make mealtimes healthy, no empty calories
Let him know the plans, repeatedly. You will have to reiterate what happens and what he is to do when it's, let's say, lunch time. You will go with teacher in a line to the lunch room, you will go to the hot lunch line, you choose which hot lunch and which side, you will sit HERE with the other students from your class. You will throw your garbage here, then you will line up and go out for recess.
No surprises.
Do the same with the teacehr's schedule.

I took my daughter out at 5th grade. She had terriblle anxieties. In 4th she was still throwing up at school and wetting her pants. She is finally ready to go back, it's been 4 years. She'll return to school as a freshman and she is ready.
Sometimes we have to look real hard at what we are doing to our child. Is school the best place?
And do not call police. He has a disability, OCD and anxiety. He is frightened. His world has come unglued and he has no way to control it. Help him learn to control what he can.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Nashville on

OK, first off - DON'T call the police. That idea is just crazy.

First thing first, he is not trying to hurt you or anyone else. He is not a bad boy. He is just scared.

I suffer from anxiety and so does my almost 10 year old son.
I have four children and my oldest is a girl and she is almost 12 and she does not have anxiety.

Anxiety is real and there is nothing that anyone can tell you that will change how he feels.

I think that you need to talk to your son's Dr. and have him write up a prescription explaining that it is in your son's best interest for his health that he is to be placed in a small class. Take it to the school. They will have to put him in a small class or with a teacher one on one. They have to help you with this.
Your son needs to know that he can trust you and count on you so that way when he needs you the most he will know that you will be there for him when everyone else isn't.
Talk to the school and see if he can have another boy be his buddy and show him around and teach him things about the school.
A child that is willing to spend some extra time with him. Someone that would be in his classroom. Someone who is willing to sit next to him and have lunch with him.

These kind of things might help him feel better about going to school.

Please remember to talk to him and not get upset and yell at him.
Right now he really needs you and his dad to understand him right now and to know that this is not easy for him.

He will grow and get better but it will take time.

He is not crazy. He is just stressed out and he does not know how to handle those feeling of being in a new place. Help him now and learn how to teach him how to handle new situations so that he does not get worse. You want him to work on this in a great and calm way so that as he gets older he will be able to handle things like this alot better.

I wish you the best with this.
Take care.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My friends's father taught homebound children for a public school system his whole career. Some of the were like your son and refused to go to school. I don't know if you would have that option in your district. Of course if you have to work and aren't home with him it is another whole problem. Can you work with the school counselor? I would try and get him to try and go to the school for a short time with you (maybe to meet with the counselor, visit the classroom with you and get his work, etc. ) and try and get him used to the new school more gradually. Can he tell you what it bothering him about the school? Does he have a regular therapist for the OCD or an IEP for school? Maybe you can get some help that way.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Wow, I am so sorry. What does his doctor and therapist suggest? Is he on any meds for his OCD or is it just therapy?
If your therapist is not helping I would suggest looking for a new one asap!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Wow, mom, I am so sorry. I know you are tying your best, but this is beyond a layman's capability.

Sounds like intense therapy with an evaluation needs to happen ASAP..

The school is going to have to report if he does not attend school.. Maybe this is good because then you can get some type of assistance.

I wonder if this district has options for children like your son? Can they appoint a tutor so that he works one on one through out the day? Or a companion assistant for your child that escorts and works with him in each class? ?

I know here in Austin, the public school offers lots of different resources. They have to educate "every child that walks though the door."

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Spartanburg on

I have a 10 year old ds with similar issues (among other things). I began homeschooling him after 2nd grade (he's in 4th now). The first thing I would ask you is what kind of help is he getting to help control his OCD? Have you brought your concerns to his pediatrician? Are you working with a psychiatrist? A counselor (on a regular basis)? What kind of evaluations have you had done? That is a lot of change he is adjusting to and it would send my son off the deep end. Our psychiatrist just recommended the book Freeing Your Child from OCD by Tamar Chansky. You can find it on amazon. If you want to talk more you can message me. If there is anything I can help you with I am more than happy to help.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

I would home school him until this anxiety gets rectified. Sometimes we just have to back up before we can go forward. I'd have him evaluated, check into medication etc. (this is over the top behavior) to see what you can do to calm him. I am so sorry. This sounds out of his control and you need to find out what is going on. My heart goes out to you both, I have an 11 year old too. Love " Mommy's" advice below. I also think maybe a support group for parents of kids with OCD might help you. There is nothing like the advice of people who know exactly what you're going through. Best of luck...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

My daughter suffers from anxiety and it is not their fault. i know exactly what you are going through and it takes alot of patience. when he goes to school have him write down at the end of the day a list of good things that happened to him that day. keep a journal. he needs to change his way of thinking and for a child that age and in that situation its not easy for him. it takes alot of practice. have him talk to the school counselor. Some schools have a program where they can get a professional to talk to him once a week and that may help. Good luck and eventually he WILL get better.



answers from Sacramento on

Has he been thoroughly checked for a reason for the ocd? What I'm thinking is either a bad experience he's had at school sometime during his life. Or, possibly, something on the autistic spectrum or other similar condition that might be contributing to his problem.
I have never experienced this sort of behavior with any of my children, but it sounds like the behavior of several children I worked with in daycare who had Asperger's Syndrome. Now, I'm not trying to tell you he has this, but that there might be something similar he's dealing with and you might want to have it thoroughly investigated to be sure.

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