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School Refusal: What can I do to help my teen who won’t go to school?

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School Refusal: What can I do to help my teen who won’t go to school?

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School Refusal: What can I do to help my teen who won’t go to school?

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          Ask a Child and Family Professional

                    Question: What can I do when my teen won’t go to school (legal responsibility)?



Having a teen who refuses to go to school is really challenging. You can feel confused and anxious about what to do, what not to do and what might lay ahead. The reality is, teens know not going to school will likely have negative consequences, so there is usually a reason behind them not wanting to go.


So, the first step is to focus on remaining calm and strengthening your connection with your teen, as this will help you in trying to work out what might be going on for them. Maintaining your relationship with your teen will also ensure they feel supported and will help you work together.  


Next, open communication with your teen. A great place to start is asking curious, non-judgmental questions to explore why they don’t want to, or can’t, attend school. Try listening with an open mind to really understand the situation from your teen’s perspective. Being truly curious and non-judgmental will support your teen to open up and will reduce the likelihood of you arguing. Once you have an understanding you can then work together to problem solve possible solutions and set some goals together.  


You can also look at what supports are available that might help. Consider supports such as school staff to help create a plan to support your teen, or other parents, mentors or other professional supports who might offer help or guidance.  


Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What might be making it difficult for my teen to go to school?
  • How does my teen know I want to understand what’s going on for them?
  • Where can I get more information and support?
  • What can I do to look after myself to help me remain calm?


A.D , Child and Family Professional at The Benevolent Society

The Benevolent Society and ReachOut.PNG


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Re: School Refusal: What can I do to help my teen who won’t go to school?

Hi @Sand1012 , I just thought you might also find this post helpful. You're definitely not alone Heart