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Can't get my 16yr old son to school what can I do?

Can't get my 16yr old son to school what can I do?

Frequent scribe

Can't get my 16yr old son to school what can I do?

Everyday 16 son refuses to get up for school, he is currently doing year 11. How do I get him to go or are there other options out there for him he will be 17 at the end of the end so I can then help him look for courses to do. I am at a loss and tired of all the arguments. 


Re: Can't get my 16yr old son to school what can I do?

@Aussiemom, it sounds like your family is having a really hard time right now. I can only imagine how frustrating and worrying this must be for you. It really sounds like you've been fighting quite a battle for a long time and I'm hearing that it's been really exhausting.


I'm wondering if you've talked to your son about why he doesn't want to get up for school? Is he having problems with the work, social issues (like fights with friends); or is he struggling with his sleep or moods? That might help us all here on RO to give you some more targeted ideas for how you can support him to either get to school, or find something else that will suit him better.




Re: Can't get my 16yr old son to school what can I do?

Hi @Aussiemom


I agree with @Kas-RO about seeing if you can get your son to talk to you about WHY he doesn't want to get up and go to school.

  • Is he up late gaming/watching TV and too tired?
  • Could he be depressed?
  • Is he being bullied?
  • How are his grades, is the work too difficult?
  • What does he do at home when he's not at school?
  • Does he maintain friendships with schoolmates or is he isolated?

Not everyone needs to pursue tertiary education, but we all have to accept responsibilities as we grow into adults. Parents won't be around forever so, as parents, we have to equip our children with skills and experience to manage on their own.


What are his interests - could they align with an apprenticeship for example? I'd would also see if you can talk to his teachers or see if the school has a guidance counsellor.


I hope you find some answers; it could be as simple as he's at that stage where they feel big enough to assert themselves and test some limits and you just need to explain that the choices are: go to school, go to work, get an apprenticeship or get some counselling and that just eating. sleeping and watching TV is nt an option. 


Frequent scribe

Re: Can't get my 16yr old son to school what can I do?

Thank you for the replies, my boy is a gamer so does stay up late on weekends and I make sure hes off by 10pm school nights, but I have caught him on his phone when I have gone to bed, which he now doesn't have in his room. As for school he is quite smart but does like to play the clown and now has the rep of being the naughty kid in class.  With his school they put all the kids that are hard to handle in one class each year with the same teachers and some of them just aren't strong enough to control them all at once.  He's not violent or abusive but does speak his mind and if he doesn't agree with something he'll speak up. As he's only got 6 mths until he's 17 should I consider maybe a tafe course or just keep pushing him to school ( his grades aren't the best). He is currently looking for work just not sure whAt he wants to do. As I have 2 other children and they see him not going to school it does cause a lot of conflict in the home. Any advice would be great thank you

Super frequent scribe

Re: Can't get my 16yr old son to school what can I do?

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Hi there @Aussiemom Man Happy


I know from personal experience what it feels like when your son does not want to go to school... extremely frustrating! Man Frustrated  You obviously care about family and only want what is best for all of them... but you seem to be at a loss and frustrated which is leading to conflict.  I imagine the arguments would solve very little in the scheme of things and would be "going around in circles"?


It seems as though your son has placed emphasis on the social aspect of school and not so much on the academic or possible vocational outcomes.  That is not such a bad thing!  The gaming and the late night phone use would most likely be an extenstion of his socialising activities?  Maybe you could play to this social aspect of school and have him keep up reasonable attendance based on "hanging out" with his friends?  Talk to him about options other than high school, but in the meantime take away the spectre of "school grades, education, performing, higher education, etc.. etc..."  It seems obvious he does not want to be there for any of those reasons anyway.


I think it is a great idea that you are exploring other avenues including training or employment.  In my opinion that is definitely the direction you should pursue but in a collaborative way.  What motivated my 16 year old was giving him a sense of his own independance by him opening up a savings account, getting a tax file number, getting his own medicare card, and applying for youth allowance.  He did this with some assistance (I bought him an Opal Card for NSW travel), but essentially it was on him to do it.  If nothing else it taught him that life is more than eat, sleep, game, repeat!


I do know that TAFE offers "pre-apprenticeship" courses that are government funded.  These are seen by industry as almost a pre-requisite for an apprenticeship (that or year 12).  Numbers are usually limited on a first in basis.  Even if he decides that he did not want to pursue that particular trade it still looks good on the CV.  Also, there are other training avenues that have VET-fee funding similar to HECS, where the training costs are paid up front by the government, and then you pay it back after you earn past a threshold.  We are heading into the mid-year break and I know that some course have mid-year enrolments.  This is only small window into the training opportunities.


@Aussiemom I know that this would be a lot to think about and a big shift away from than "just keep pushing him to school".  But I believe that if he has no reason or endgame in mind for high school that this could actually be your's and his opportunity to turn it around and set him on the path to independance and personal responsibility. 


I would really appreciate your thoughts, especially if I'm way off the mark on some of my assumptions!!  Man Embarassed

Frequent scribe

Re: Can't get my 16yr old son to school what can I do?

Thank you so much tenacious _dad your message has been a great help, I will definitely look into pre- apprenticeship course as he does show an interest in electrical, plumbing or the building industry. He has his own bank account and tax file number as he had a part time job cleaning in which he enjoyed the independence and the wage just not the cleaning side of things even thou his boss was very happy with his work and mature attitude which is a positive for him.  Will look into all the suggestions everyone has offered and fingers crossed something helps him and takes the pressure off the family. 


Re: Can't get my 16yr old son to school what can I do?

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Hi @Aussiemom, so glad you found us. No one likes arguing so it makes sense you are feeling pretty over that. You obviously care about him and your family so much and want the best for him and your other kids.


Our youth site is a whole page about considerations for leaving school early - it could be a good one for him to exploring 'why'.

I could also be helpful to conversation about what he likes & what he is good at. Encouraging him to name interests and strengths could help him make some decisions about what step he wants to take next (whether it's stick it out at school or try something else). You could share this page from our youth site with him, it will help him figure out what his strengths are (there is a link to a quiz at the end to help name his strengths. It's a bit long to do, but worth it).


We also had a chat to psychologist Claire Rowe, who shared her tips on how to get the most out of a conversation with him. We also have these tips for you on how to have a great chat with him.


Let us know how you go!


Re: Can't get my 16yr old son to school what can I do?

Ahh @Aussiemom I didn't see your latest post before I posted this. Really pleased to hear that you are feeling like you have some options!

Nice one @tenacious_dad!

Re: Can't get my 16yr old son to school what can I do?

@Aussiemom I am so sorry that you have issues with your son which seems hard and more so when you have younger children.

I think both @tenacious_dad and @Mitzi have good ideas on how to solve your problem and of course, communication is very important.

I would find out your son's real interest, it might be game, and try to support him in going a step further than just play the games.

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Prolific scribe

Re: Can't get my 16yr old son to school what can I do?

Awesome thoughts and info
My son also is unable to go to school - there's certainly no positive in a square peg in a round hole.
I now accept after a year - it is not for him - finding what is well that's another subject which we will explore when the opportunity allows ... at this moment in time I bless the be it 5 mins of talk we have daily and we share hugs too ! This has taken a long time to get to this place - time is our most valuable asset and they have all the time they need - mental health is an individual path - yet to do alone without support is not the best - so I ask what's supports does Aussiemom have in place for her -

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