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Gaming/school refusal

Discussion forum for parents in Australia


Gaming/school refusal

I’m writing because I’m concerned about my 13yo son & school refusal. We also have a 15yo daughter who has been diagnosed with anxiety & started to refuse school half way through last year & it deteriorated at the beginning of this year. We tried psychology but it didn’t really help her so she’s started on medication & is doing open access schooling & seems much happier. I think this has unfortunately had a knock on effect with our son. He’s a great kid but is more introverted & finds making new friends difficult. He’s a gamer & spends a lot of time online. He does go out mountain bike riding with his mates which was our attempt to find alternative ways for him to connect with mates other than online. I’ve spoken with him about how important connection with other people is but I honestly don’t know what to do to help him. Should I take away all of his devices in an attempt for him to feel completely bored & hopefully return to school? Or only allow gaming if he goes to school? Just wondering if anyone has info regarding how to best navigate a situation like this. I guess gaming is his safe place but it’s affecting his school attendance & ability to socialise. I feel like signing him up for operation flinders where the kids aren’t able to access the internet & learn life skills. I feel guilty for not being more strict in terms of setting limits on his gaming. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Re: Gaming/school refusal

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Hey @Eknettle 

Welcome to the Online Community! I am really glad that you have found us and have been about to reach out for some support.

School refusal is something that a lot of parents and carers experience and you are certainly not alone in feeling this way. It sounds like you have gone through this before with your daughter who is diagnosed with anxiety. I can hear how much your children mean to you, and want to acknowledge all the steps you have taken to support your daughter. It sounds like you did a really great job at rallying up all the support possible for her mental health, and have found alternative ways to help her and I am so glad to hear that she seems much happier. It seems like you are doing the same for your son, even by reaching out on here shows just how hard you are trying to navigate through this.  It is a real testament to how much of a supportive and caring parent you are and your children are both very lucky to have you.

I know you mentioned that you are concerned with your son who is also refusing school and it is understandable that you are feeling this way. I was wondering if you have tried to talk to him about why he doesn’t want to go to school?

I wanted to share this post with you that has some resources, information and tips about school refusal which you may find helpful. I also wanted to let you know that ReachOut offers one-on-one support sessions for parents. If this is something you would be interested in signing up to or would like to learn more we have some information about it here.

I know that you also mentioned that your son spends a lot of time online gaming and it is really great to hear that has also been going mountain bike riding with his friends. I can hear that you have some concerns about his gaming use which is understandable. If you are interested in speaking to the one-on-one coaching service, it may be helpful to talk to them about this and these concerns. We have an article about managing scree time here, and the Raising Children’s Network also have some really great age appropriate resources here around technology and gaming. Do you think these would be helpful to have a look through?

I also wanted to check in to see how you are coping with all of this? School refusal can be really tough to navigate through and it is important that you are also taking care of yourself. Do you have any supports or anything that helps you prioritise your own wellbeing?

Thank you again for reaching out.

Take care and we look forward to hearing back from you soon.