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14 year old school refusal what do you do!

14 year old school refusal what do you do!

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Casual scribe
QueenV

14 year old school refusal what do you do!

My 14 and a half year old son is flat out refusing to attend school, it’s been a month now and I’m just besides myself for various reasons, he has ASD and I’m sure ODD, but is refusing also to acknowledge he has any problems and won’t go to a doctor or physiologist as it didn’t get him anywhere last time so his not interested.

I have finally secured a meeting with the school next week to discuss options with them, but was wondering if anybody else has any suggestions, I know they can in rare circumstances allow them to go to TAFE college or the likes, but I feel probably not until his 15 at the end of the year. He is not academic at all and my hope is for him to get into a trade when his 16.

any advice much appreciated 😊

Community Manager
Bre-RO

Re: 14 year old school refusal what do you do!

Hi @QueenV 

 

Thank you for coming here to talk about this Heart It must be really hard for both of you to be out of routine for the past month. It's good to hear that you've got a meeting with the school - I'm just wondering if your son has told you much about why he isn't wanting to be at school? 

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Parent/Carer Community Champion
PapaBill

Re: 14 year old school refusal what do you do!

Hi @QueenV 

 

This is a troubling issue, and as a parent I am understand how upsetting it can be for both you and your son.

School is not just about academic education but also social development and part of helping our teens move into independent living.

 

My (almost) step daughter went through something similar and with persistence my partner was able to engage her daughter with medical professionals and to get a formal diagnosis.  This then allowed her access to "distance education" even though we live in a major city.  Through this program she was able to use to continue her education.

 

They key to all of this for us was realizing in her case it wasn't just a recalcitrant child but a genuine mental issue which had to be dealt with.  No as she nears 18 she is working on completing year 12

 

Not saying this is applicable to anyone else but this was our experience.

 

 

 

Casual scribe
QueenV

Re: 14 year old school refusal what do you do!

Thanks PapaBill for your genuine response. Yes I think getting him to acknowledge he has a mental health issue is the key here, he was fine with his diagnosis up until a year ago and now he insists nothing is wrong with him and refuses to see anybody.

distance Ed wouldn’t be very conducive for us as I doubt he’d commit, his just not interested. I will be pushing for flexible schooling at a minimum with work experience etc, just got to battle the school to get it, and the kid to do it!

Casual scribe
QueenV

Re: 14 year old school refusal what do you do!

Thanks Bre-ro, yes routine is so out of whack it’s disorientating to say the least! 

He hasn’t given solid reasons, it’s just the school, the kids etc, he gets so frustrated at trying to explain he really doesn’t come up with anything solid if that makes sense!

i definately think he under values himself and his self worth and what he can achieve.

we’ve tried putting the onus back on him to come up with a solution to what he is going to do, more to get an indication of what his thinking, he did come up with the work experience idea but then back tracked and wouldn’t commit, I’m at a loss and the more time goes by the harder it’s going to be to motivate him! Just praying for a positive meeting Monday with the school and any ideas that may just spark something in him.

Community Manager
Bre-RO

Re: 14 year old school refusal what do you do!

Good luck today  @QueenV  - I hope the school are able to play a role in supporting your son. Let us know how you go. 

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OhGosh

Re: 14 year old school refusal what do you do!

I am kind of the same boat. My 12 year old daughter is refusing to go to school. She has had a total of15 days off. I have spoken to the GP who referred us to a psychologist and that is booked in for April. I spoke to the school yesterday and I am waiting for an appointment to see the appropriate people. I am at a loss as she has never had any previous issues relating to school or mental health so it is a shock for the family to see her like this, she has always been the head strong child. She cries every morning, says she is going to vomit and has headaches, only on school days. I am at a loss with what to do next.

Community Manager
Janine-RO

Re: 14 year old school refusal what do you do!

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Hi @OhGosh ,

 

I'm really sorry to hear that your daughter is going through this, we hear about school refusal quite a lot on our forums, and it' s such a tricky thing for both parents and their young people to navigate. It sounds like you're doing all of the right things by being proactive and getting an appointment to see a psychologist, as well as making an appointment to talk to the school, which is really wonderful.  I'm sure it will mean a lot to your daughter knowing that you are there to support her and advocate for her needs, and hopefully the school will be able to help to support her in transitioning back to school. 

 

While you're waiting for your appointment with the psychologist, there's also some free online services available if you think she'd be open to having a chat to a counsellor or psychologist about what's been happening for her Kids Helpline and eHeadspace  are both great places to try, you can speak to counsellors either online or over the phone. 

 

Has your daughter been able to talk about what is happening for her at school at the moment ? You mention she's 12, has she recently started high school, or is this her last year in primary school? These transitional times can be especially tough for young people, I have an 11 year old who's experienced some social anxiety, and we definitely found seeing a psychologist really helpful in helping her to build her toolkit in managing those feelings .  The disruptions and uncertainty around covid last year have been an additional challenge for a lot of young people.  Apologies if you've already seen this, but we have an article for parents on ways to help their kids manage school refusal which might be helpful, you can check that out here

 

We also have another thread where some other parents have been sharing similar issues that might be useful for you here- it can be so helpful to hear from people who are travelling the same path. 

 

It sounds like mornings are especially rough for your daughter, how does she go as the day goes on? Is starting school a bit later on rough days an option for her in the short term? 

 

If you think it would be useful for you to get some more individual support and advice, we also offer a One to One Parents Support service, which you can check out here., there is currently a pretty high demand for this service but you're very welcome to register if you think that might be helpful. 

Casual scribe
OhGosh

Re: 14 year old school refusal what do you do!

Hi Janine, She started high school this year. so year 7. I will give her the links and let her know that is available to her, thanks.  She says nothing has happened at school, no bullying, no name calling, no issues with boys and no issues with teachers or the school, she just hates going and would prefer to be home schooled or have all her learning from the school online, as she prefers it that way. 

I do think Covid has a lot to do with it as she had no issues from 3 year old kinder all the way up to grade 5, then grade 6 home all year. She found a love for learning on line and  I also study online and prefer it but she does need to go to school for the social side of things. 

The school has mentioned that they are hear to help and if that means starting school a little later and leaving school earlier on different days then that could be an option or even half online learning and full days at school too. She hates sport so they have said they will look into putting her into another subject on the PE times or if it is in the morning its a late start or PM its an early finish. So they are trying to help but we need to see the school councillors still. She starts from the night before, and the morning of school, so it's on going and my 2 boys are feeling it and always complain about her and the situation. 

Thanks for the parent support, I will think about that one.

Thanks.

Community Manager
Janine-RO

Re: 14 year old school refusal what do you do!

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Hi @OhGosh , 

 

I have to say my 11 year old has also sometimes expressed that they preferred online learning in some ways - they really liked being able to work at their own pace, not being distracted by "annoying kids" (as they put it!) and having that freedom to plan their own time. It's definitely a been a big adjustment going back to in person learning so I can really feel for your daughter.  It sounds like the school are really willing to work with you and the model of half online learning/ half in person sounds like it could be a good fit for your daughter - it's really good to hear that they're willing to be flexible, and work with you all to find the best outcome for your daughter. I hope the school counsellors are helpful as well. 

 

If you/ your daughter's supports think that anxiety about school may be part of the puzzle here (just thinking about the upset tummy etc), Cool Kids Online  is a fantastic program that's free of charge - it's an evidence based program run by Macquarie Uni and  can help a lot to give kids strategies to help with their anxiety. 

 

It sounds like you definitely made some progress with the school which is great, I hear that it's all taking a toll on you and your other kids, that can be so tough. Do you think you can do something nice together on the weekend? It can be really hard on the whole family when someone we love is struggling Heart 

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