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Where do l go from here

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Frequent scribe

Re: Where do l go from here

This is such good advice from @motherbear.  I have been terribly fearful about our 16 year old son finishing school.  I am a teacher and he is our only child and I guess I just fell into the trap of thinking that he had to finish school at all costs.  I've had 3 weeks of adjusting now and I'm feeling a little better.  Still very sad about missing out on things like graduation, formal, last day with his peers etc.... but I don't want to project that sadness onto my son...that's for me to deal with and get help with.  Every time I start to panic or feel fearful I think of the self-harm that we saw 3 weeks ago and for us that was a big red flag. I remember how bad school was making him feel, how much despair he was in.  In the end we really had no choice, we feel school would have destroyed him.  My husband has found it easier to accept than me....which has surprised me as he comes from a very academic, high-achieving medical family.  I feel as though we are learning and adjusting every day.  This parent forum has really helped me to accept that there are other ways. All the best and I'm happy to chat anytime.  It is SO good to have other parents to talk to who understand what is going on.

Frequent scribe

Re: Where do l go from here

@Trapet  I do feel alone at times.  I had to stop work 2 years ago to care for our son as he was very unwell and couldn't go to school.  That was when he was 14 and 15 years old.  We always wanted one parent to be available to him at all times, so I finished up at work.  I miss all of my friends from work.  They check in on me from time to time.  They don't understand the full story as we have been very private about it because we live in a small town. It has taken a huge toll on our marriage and my husband was very angry and blamed me for everything, saying that I had been too soft on him, over-mothered him because he was an only child, made his world too warm and fuzzy....and then when he got to adolescence he couldn't cope.  So for two years I was dealing with the stress of a very sick son and the stress of a husband who blamed me and wouldn't support me.  My husband is now seeing a psychologist and he is being much more supportive.  I think we were both just so fearful, so frightened of the future and we just couldn't believe what had happened to our beautiful son.  One of my problems is that I 'eat my emotions'.  The first minute something goes wrong in the day...which is usually fairly early...I turn to food.  So I have put a lot of weight on which makes me upset with more thing I have to deal with.  I have tremendous family support on my side.  My sisters and my parents have been unwavering in their support and understanding of the situation.  But yes there are times when I get quite down and most days lately there are tears in private, but I'm just putting one foot in front of the other and trying to do the best I can for our son.  I hide my sadness very well so he isn't really aware of it.


Re: Where do l go from here

@lucille Thank you for sharing your similarities with @Trapet. Finding support like yours is invaluable for those with issues that resonate deeply . Keep talking you two ! Two heads are better than one , and together you may springboard an idea that gains traction . I'm so sorry that your beautiful children are going through this . It must be anguish for you all and for your boys exhausting and painful . 

I am seeing more clearly every day in my work at a local high school , the extreme , sometimes fatal damage that bullying can have on the soul . We need to take a much stronger stance in society and make sure  our youth know it can be a crime .  Severe mental  health issues ,  can be triggered  and exacerbated by bullying . Kids are playing Russian roulette with others' psyche and it must be nipped in the bud .  For kids who have potential for mental illness , it can be death by a thousand cuts . This is an issue I want addressed more strongly in schools . It MUST be a safe place . 

I say you have done the right thing keeping him out if school for now if it's stressing him out , what's the bloody point ?  Medication can make their cognitive functioning a little cloudy too , so it can be quite a challenge for them to engage pen paper and brain . We deal with what we have in front of us . It is what it is . He has years to achieve his goals , get his health on track for now . 

Stay strong for your boys and be their biggest advocate . Medication can and does work if it is the right cocktail , that is trial and error unfortunately, but with perseverance and love  and custom fitted strategies for your boys , you will get there . I am thinking of you both and sending my best wishes 

Active scribe

Re: Where do l go from here

Tried to tag you mother bear but I'm not to good with technology

Thanks for your words I've woken today and am going to try and get my glass half full mojo back on.

This forum has been awesome for me feeling like l can speak freely about my son and not be judged

Today we are going to ask Matt to have a think we will give him the option of leaving school explaining studies can be picked up later on and dreams can be followed however in doing that he will need to work with me 3 times a week for approx 2 hours at a time whilst we work on him getting well again

I agree schools are not addressing the fallout if bulling there's so many videos online if parents people talking about what bulling has done or ending their child's life schools need to show these real heartbreaking stories monthly if needs be to drum it in

Thankyou so much
Super contributor

Re: Where do l go from here

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Hey @Trapet Have you watched our short video walkthrough on using the forums? If you click here it will take you to it. It includes how to @ mention people so they get a notification that you've replied to them. I hope it helps.

Your computer skills are absolutely fine!! Forums are a very different platform to all the other things I imagine you're much more familiar with, like Facebook etc.


Your plan sounds like an awesome one. I'm guessing it will make a huge difference to your son knowing he can make the decision to stay or go. 


Please keep us updated on how it goes. We understand here that none of these issues are magically cured in one conversation and there's going to be good times and hard times ahead, no matter what. The forums are here for when things are really hard, when things are amazing and all other the other so-so days in-between. 

Casual scribe

Re: Where do l go from here

It is difficult to know how they think and what they want.  Many students are strong enough to face the bullying but some are not. The school authorities have to take this as a serious issue.

Super frequent scribe

Re: Where do l go from here

Hi @Trapet, I'm a bit late in joining this conversation but thank you for sharing what's been going on for you and your son. It is exhausting while you're in the thick of it but I like what @Ngaio-RO suggested about connecting. Someone had suggested the same thing to me when my daughter was 15.  I wanted to help her process her feelings but shifting away from "what's wrong?" to "let's do something together that you enjoy" (for us it was baking) helped the connection between us and was a distraction from the other stuff going on in her world.


I love it that you allowed your son to choose what he wanted to do about school  - what did he end up deciding? 

Super star contributor

Re: Where do l go from here

Hi @Trapet, I'm just wondering how things have panned out for you and your son. I can relate to your situation so well, and I think that by allowing your son a choice was an awesome move. I'm interested to hear what he decided.


Education can be so stressful when our kids are struggling or refusing to go, but we are lucky these days to have more understanding and support that kids mental health has to come first. There are various study avenues they can follow when they choose.


My daughter ended up being enrolled with distance education which has been a great move for us. She was refusing to go to school, and she is now only doing the core subjects in middle school, so is ineligible to go on to Years 11 & 12. However without this enrolment she likely would've ended up with no education at all. She has plans to go to TAFE or Uni next year instead, which for me is such a huge relief!


Despite what schools say, they have a long way to go to get a handle on preventing and stopping bullying. The serious issue isn't dealt with well enough, and our kids are suffering because of it. My daughter was told she needed to toughen up, and got into trouble one day after going the year advisor after she was bullied. Not okay!!


We'd love to hear how your son is progressing if you have a few moments.