Need help now?

School refusal

Discussion forum for parents in Australia


School refusal

I'm struggling with my 13 yr old daughter. She has not been to school for a whole term. She refuses all help from doctors, school, family and friends. Every time I try to set boundaries when she is not at school she becomes physical. I have had multiple authorities involved with no change. I just don't know what to do next? I am a single working parent with not a lot of help from friends or family. All she wants to do is stay home and play her computer and phone. When I take them away she becomes violent and threatens to hurt me or damages the property that I am currently renting. I have tried everything from school meetings, free pass out of class, moving her to her father's, police involvement, taken away her electronics, offered to change schools, tried partial days, even just one meeting at the school, offered distance education, online schooling tried different ways to get her to open up including a communication book which started well but ended badly. I do believe she may have anxiety and possibly depression but cant get help unless she talks to a doctor. I had cahms brush me off because i had sourced another mental health service which she also refused. I am just hoping to get some suggestions or information on different resources available? Any help would greatly appreciated. Sorry for the long post just trying to give as much information for clarity s possible.

Super contributor

Re: School refusal

Message contains a hyperlink

Hi @-help- 


I’m really sorry that you’re having to deal with all of this basically on your own. It sounds like you have been through the wringer trying to get your daughter back to school. I can understand your enormous feeling of frustration at hitting so many roadblocks. Can I ask if the attendance issues started with this term? If so, was the school able to give you any indication of whether an incident had happened that may have set-off the refusing to go? Although it sounds like you have covered most of these options, this article may provide some more insight, as well as this one. ReachOut also offers free One-on-One Support of up to four sessions with a professional experienced in supporting families, more info can be found here. Please also know that you have a right to feel safe, and to contact the Police on 000 if you’re at risk of being harmed.


Re: School refusal

Have you looked into Pathological Demand Avoidance as a reason for the school refusal? My 12yo experience similar symptoms and was referred for an autism assessment.
Active scribe

Re: School refusal

Hi there,

That sounds really tough! It’s really stressful when our teens can’t see that all the decisions they make now will mean they have less choice in the future. I’m a teacher and I’m having a similar issue with our youngest, who’s 16. She has serious health issues last year and at the beginnning of this year, as basically hasn’t attended school regularly since.

All I can say is keep trying with Cahms, they also do what they call a Single Session, where you and whoever else is involved in her care sit down together?

is there someone else in her life that she looks up to that you could enlist to help her get to a doctor for a referral? An older friend or relative?

Our daughter was diagnosed with anxiety and is now on meds, which have helped a bit- still not there yet though.

Just a few ideas, but mostly virtual hugs- you’re not alone! X