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School Refusal and no support

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School Refusal and no support


School Refusal and no support

My 13 year old son hasn't been going to school for the past term. We have had some huge problems since his sisters marriage breaking up, so he doesn't see her, his brother-in-law or his nephew and neice as much as he used. Also, Covid caused disconnection from school due to lockdowns (I blame this for making him think its an option not to go!! Before this both of my children went regularly with goals of attending everyday!). We've also had covid-related socioeconomic problems including lack of affordable housing. I am a single mother and I have to work 2 jobs to afford to pay rent and provide for my two teenagers.  His issues started when i had to start my second job which starts at 6.30am and finishing at 6.30pm, for both jobs. My son hasn't been able to motivate himself to get to school. He said he hates the school and teachers and he hangs around the wrong people. I've identified that he has anxiety as he gets worked up when I take him to his football games.

I have tried to seek help from the school with flexible timetable but he still doesn't go. Now the school are issuing me with prosecution. I'm so upset with them. I sought help from them, before that they didn't even contact me about his absence!  In 40 years I've never seen the schools, or society, support children who struggle during these years. I have taken him to a GP and am finding it extremely difficult to get him into a psychologist as they are fully booked until next year. Where can I send my 13 year old to receive the help he needs?

Prolific scribe

Re: School Refusal and no support

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Hi @Angie55555 and welcome to our online community!

Firstly, I just wanted to say that I'm sorry to hear that you are going through so much right now and that you have had so much trouble with your sons school. It sounds like such a stressful situation to have to manage on your own, especially with everything else you are having to juggle right now.

You mentioned that your son said that he hates the school and the teachers, I was just wondering if he had told you why he hates them? Do you think there might be something more going on to have caused these feelings?

I did come across a great article on the Raising Children's Network which talks about school refusal and things you can do to support them. While it does mention Schools and how they can help, it also discusses other supports and what you can do at home so I wonder if this might be able to give you more of an idea as what you can do next.

As this is such a horrible situation to be in, I just want to remind you that its important to take care of yourself during this time too. Is there someone that you feel comfortable talking to about all of this?

You are not alone and we're all here for you.

Community Manager

Re: School Refusal and no support

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Hi @Angie55555 

Just wanted to check in and see how you are doing today? It sounds like you have been juggling so much on your own for a long time now and I am really glad you found us to talk through some of what you and your teenage children have been experiencing. 

I also noticed that you mentioned you were having difficulty finding an available psychologist. I am not sure if you have already come across this service before, but Headspace offer affordable therapy for young people and also support parents as well. There is also a National database of psychologists you can search here that may also assist as you look for the right professional to support your son. Many workplaces have EAP programs that can provide free and confidential counselling for employees and their families, which may be worth investigating with your workplaces as well. 

If you have any more difficulties finding the right support, feel free to check in with us and we can look into more options for you and your family. 

Take care and wishing you and your family all the best. 


Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: School Refusal and no support

Hi Angie,

Sorry to hear about your son's school refusal and the ramifications. I had a brief read of the recommended story and it sounds quite comprehensive. From what I've seen lockdowns have given young people the idea they can stay home and avoid school. Both of my kids have been affected. We've worked closely with the school which has really helped and working together is really important. Maybe starting small and getting him to go for a few hours or maybe a few days a week to start with and building from there. 

I hope that helps.

Best wishes,