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School refusal

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betterdaze20
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School refusal

Its day two of school going back and my 16 year old girl is passed out on the couch after not being able to get up and go to school this morning. Yesterday she got herself to school but by recess was texting me that she needed to come home as she felt just 'so, so sad'. She has been diagnosed with depression and anxiety in 2020 and over the past two years has missed a lot of school. An interstate move and a start at a new school in fourth term was challenging but my daughter managed to go more days than not - has indicated she 'wants to want to go to school' - hence why we are persevering but says she feels 'sad' all the time and doesn't have the 'energy' or 'mental capacity' to face school on many days. She is on medication that was recently changed, is engaged with a psychologist that she sees via telehealth, and the private school she is at have provided support and a plan for her re-engaging with school. 

I was dreading this day as I am so tired of trying to get her up and out of bed and out the door - it doesn't seem to matter what I do, she reverts to avoidance as her coping strategy. How much do I push her? I guess I am seeking advice from anyone who has battled with school refusal or 'school can't' - its heartbreaking to watch as my daughter was a high achiever and still has high expectations of what she 'should' be capable of doing. Any tips welcomed!!


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Community Manager
Philippa-RO
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Re: School refusal

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@betterdaze20 I'm so sorry to hear about how hard things are for your daughter - it must be so painful to watch your child who you love going through so much. 

We have articles on our website on school refusal and depression in case you'd like to take a look. 

It sounds like you're doing everything you can to be there for your daughter, and she has a team of supportive people around her. Does she connect well with her support people?

 

It sounds like such a lot to manage - do you have support for you through all this (whether professional or family/friends to talk to)?
I'm not sure if it's helpful, but do you think connecting with other carers and support people would be something of interest for you? If so, Helping Minds and Mental Health Carers Australia offer support and information. 

 

We're also here for you. Heart

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Community Manager
Philippa-RO
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Re: School refusal

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@betterdaze20 I'm so sorry to hear about how hard things are for your daughter - it must be so painful to watch your child who you love going through so much. 

We have articles on our website on school refusal and depression in case you'd like to take a look. 

It sounds like you're doing everything you can to be there for your daughter, and she has a team of supportive people around her. Does she connect well with her support people?

 

It sounds like such a lot to manage - do you have support for you through all this (whether professional or family/friends to talk to)?
I'm not sure if it's helpful, but do you think connecting with other carers and support people would be something of interest for you? If so, Helping Minds and Mental Health Carers Australia offer support and information. 

 

We're also here for you. Heart

Casual scribe
betterdaze20

Re: School refusal

Thanks so much for the suggestions on carer support - I think that is what I need most, to talk to someone else who has gone through this, especially when the journey feels like it is circular or just so arduous and slow.
Community Manager
Philippa-RO

Re: School refusal

@betterdaze20 I really hope you're able to find some likeminded people who understand what you're going through to share this journey with. Heart

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JaneJane

Re: School refusal

My son aged 14 has had school refusal for the last 4 years, he left private school 2 years ago after 2 years of patchy attendance but has been unable to start back at mainstream school. We had some success at a special school for kids with anxiety but every time he tries to get back to mainstream he has a set back. This school year has started the same way with him not getting up and being shut off and rude. I know how exhausting it is for you as a parent, watching your child suffer and not be able to do activities you know that would make them happy. I have no solution, just wanted you to know you’re not alone.
Community Manager
Iona-RO

Re: School refusal

Hi @JaneJane 

It's very kind of you to share your story and show some solidarity for other parents dealing with this. It sounds like you're going through a similarly tough time with your son. 

 

I'm wondering if you have any advice or would like to share any strategies you've found that helps you to check in and look after yourself when you're feeling exhausted?

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Lynne_108

Re: School refusal

I have a 13 year old son who has been refusing school for two years.
He has changed from a sweet natured sensitive child to an aggressive and constantly rude one. It is heartbreaking to hear him say he doesn’t care about anything. He doesn’t want to learn or care about getting a job later in life. He is totally disengaged. Each morning is an onslaught of verbal abuse, though I know it is coming from low self esteem so feel sad and very worried for him. He has ADHD, dyslexia and dysgraphia so I know school is draining for him. My main concern is his self esteem, cognitive disorders alone don’t mean he can’t have a fulfilling life but disengagement can.
And yes it is exhausting for me as well. There are no practitioners available to get any medication for his ADHD to see if that may help. We have been trying for a year to get appointments and can’t even get on anyones books. What a nightmare.
Community Manager
Philippa-RO

Re: School refusal

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Welcome to the forums @Lynne_108 - we're so glad you joined the community.

Sounds like you and your son are going through such a hard time, I'm so sorry you haven't been able to access any supports. 

How is your son's school with his school refusal - are they supportive?


I was wondering if you've tried contacting ADHD Support Australia? They have a directory of professionals that might be worth looking through if it seems helpful. 

There is also Parentline who may be able to link you with services in your local area, or our one-to-one parent coaching service in case you'd like more in depth support.


I completely understand why you're feeling exhausted - it's clear how much you care about your son and it must be so worrying, especially when you've been trying so hard to find the right support for him. 

 

Do you have much support for yourself? I'm wondering if something like a support group could be helpful so you can connect with other parents in similar circumstances?

Thinking of you. Heart