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Prolific scribe



im really struggling to parent my 15 yr old son. We have had many issues in the past with him not wanting to go to school but things have escalated. We used to have an agreement that if he went out with his mates he would keep his Life 360 app on so I knew where he was but now that has stopped.

Thing s have been getting worse and as son as I try and put any boundaries in place he just leaves.

He refused to go to school this friday because he had gotten in trouble for using his phone in class and they were going to take it for the school hours for 3 days. He also had been spoken to numerous times by the school to get his hair cut and wear shorts not trousers in term4 . He refuses to give the phone to them refuses to get a haircut or wear the shorts. He also wanted me to pick him up early on the friday but because his attendance has been bad I said no you really need to go to school.

Well he didnt go and took off . Packed his backpack and said he was going to a mates house. He refused to tell me where they lived and said ill be back Sunday night.

We called the school and they said you need to make him go to school. My husband said how we cannot physically force him just like we cannot force him to get his haircut. we told the shcool we tried to talk him into going and he took off.

I have been so ill all weekend worrying about him. I spoke to parnetline and they said try and keep the lines of communication open with him. While I was on the phone to them he text me asking for money for food. They said to offer him food here at home and not to give him money.

I did this and now am I paying for it. Each time he messaged I offered him food here at home. I offered to come and get him then take him back . He wanted the money and was furious. We didnt hear from him all day Sunday and I was panicking.

Finally after me trying to call 4 times he text back that he was coming home . My husband picked him up but was waiting for him for ages at some tram stop.

When he came inside he was very angry I said hi and asked if he would like me to. are him some dinner he said no im not hungry.

he went up to his room and I thought it best to let things settle . I went up to his room and asked again if he wanted some food he said no you starved me for 3 days . he yelled saying he was begging us for food but we wouldnt give him any.

I tried ti calm say I had food here for him but he wasnt hearing that he wanted the money.

The next morning my husband went in to see if he was going to go to school as when he was texting for money over the weekend he would say if you dont give it to me im not going to school.

he screamed at my husband saying that we dont care about him we let him starve and that he hadn't eaten for 3 days.He then locked himself in the bathroom and told my husband to go away.

I came up and asked if I could help. I said I understand your angry but we do care and love you and you could have had food here at any time.

He didnt go to school so we talked to the school to let them know.

My husband went to work while I tried to keep communication open with him by going up every hour or so to see if he wanted anything and to ask if he would talk to me . I want to fix this and I do care and love you.

Finally he came out of his room and said im going out to meet a friend who hopefully will give me lunch. I asked him to please not leave to please talk to me. He said no I tried to texting your food and you just let me starve. he said he even vomited because he was so hungry.

He started to leave and I broke down and fell to the floor. Im so physically and emotionally broken. I have called lifeline,prentline and chyms. I said as he was leaving are you going to come home he said he will.

And yes I know im weak but I gave him money for food I just am so broken I dont know what to do anymore . I cant lose my son but im so scared he will never go back to school , that I will never know where he is or what he is doing . He is 15 yrs old and I have no idea where to go next. There is alot more going on as you could imagine this is just what is happening right now.

And tooth it off im dealing with fine out that my brother and my mother are both terminally ill.

I cant stop crying


Re: depleted

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Hey @Sandee I'm really sorry to hear about what has been going on with your son. I can see how heartbreaking it is for you to be going through this. His school refusal, not knowing where he's going and not being able to put boundaries in place all have taken their toll on you. It's understandable that you're feeling pressure on all sides as well as being very concerned for his wellbeing. 

I saw in your other post that you have been trying to control your own responses. I think this is a strong way to view what is a very difficult situation. You have said several times that you can't control what your son does and while you manage all of this it may help to understand how you and your husband can look after yourselves. Have you been able to seek support from anyone else in your life, like friends and family? I was also wondering if you've been linked in with any professional supports for your own wellbeing? Talking to your GP might be a good first step to finding someone who can help you manage your own distress.

I noticed that you said that you have already been contacting Lifeline, Parentline and Chyms. I wanted to point out the resilience and resourcefulness that you have already been showing with reaching out for help from these sources. I also wanted to flag ReachOut's free parent coaching service as another place you could seek support. You have already shown a lot of courage in following the advice to not give your son money, and I wanted to remind you that not being able to keep this going after several days of worrying about him is okay. Hopefully continuing to work around these boundaries and explaining why you have taken these steps will allow you to open up some avenues to talk to him again. 

I can see how difficult it is to know that your son won't open up to you or your husband. I wonder if there is anyone in your circle who your son may open up to, like a relative or teacher?

I also saw that you have found out your brother and mother are terminally ill. I'm incredibly sorry to hear how this has added to what is already a heartbreaking situation after what is going on with your son. I can imagine that this is something that is also taking up a lot of your attention at the moment. Is your son aware of the situation that they are in? I wanted to suggest the importance of trying to find balance in your life between all of these things that are going on. It may be time to take steps to look after yourself first and foremost now. 

I'm also about to send you an email checking in around your wellbeing. Could you keep an eye out for that and respond when you get the chance?

Prolific scribe

Re: depleted

Hello Stormy-RO

Thank you for reaching out to me. I spoke again to Lifeline this morning as I was having a servere panic attack and they helped. Im just so overwhelmed at the moment trying to communicate with my son which is not happening right now as he is refusing to speak to either of us. The only people he is communicating is with his friends. He hates his school and his teachers and again refused to go today. He is still up in his room but will no doubt come down soon to leave and catch up with his friends and ask for money for food.

I am going to try and stay strong and calmly tell him that I cannot keep giving him money when he wont even talk to me . I want to fix this and I love him dearly. I need to be strong as I feel I am just enabling things which are clearly only getting worse.

I have looked on Reachouts website and will again but at the moment im just so overwhelmed im just trying together thru the days.

All my family live back in Melbourne and I talk to my sister every day and she knows what is going on and is being as supportive as she can. I do have a beautiful daughter who is 25yr and she lives in Melbourne and I miss her dearly. they both want me to come back to Melbourne for a bit to sort myself out  but I feel like that is just running away from the problem.

My brother is close to end stage of life now and my mum may have 6  or so months so it's incredibly hard. They are also in Melbourne.

My son is aware of what is going on but I think at the moment he is only concerned re himself as harsh as that sounds. I think his age has a lot to do with that I dont know.

I went to my GP a few months back as this has been going on for a while with my son and they prescribed anti depressants which I did try but they make me feel awful.

I have started hypnotherapy and have done 1 session to help with my anxiety so not sure if it will help as yet.

I dont have any friends here as my time is constantly revolving around my son which I know has to change its just really hard.

I know that I have to let go of the things I cannot control and I am really trying its just so incredibly hard right now.

Thanks for checking in I really appreciate it x


Re: depleted

Hi @Sandee ,

I'm really glad to hear that Lifeline was able to support you during your panic attack. Being able to connect to those services really shows how you are working to look after yourself and manage what is happening with your son, especially when you're anticipating that these moments will come up again.

It sounds like he is unwilling to get support from you unless it is on his own terms. You said that you need to be strong and are taking steps to manage your boundaries around money. This a huge feat and it seems like this is something that you're confident in trying to do. Enforcing these boundaries may be difficult but they could help to give some consistency, not only for your son but for yourself. Have you been given any other strategies that you might use around this situation? Does it help to consider what paths you can take depending on his behaviour?

I saw that your support network is currently in Melbourne, and it's good to hear that they have been there for you. Do you think that going to Melbourne could help your wellbeing in the short term? It may help to get a change from what you are currently managing, if you feel up to travelling. Will your husband be able to manage the what's happening with your son if you decide to make the trip to see your family?

I'd like to say that you're already doing an amazing job looking after yourself and your son. I'm sorry to hear that the antidepressants were not helpful, but am looking forward to hearing about whether the hypnotherapy works for you. It must be difficult when your son doesn't care about the situation with your family, and you know how little time left with them you have. Do you have any self-care strategies that can help take your mind off of the situation even for a little while? Is there anything that your husband and you can do to manage your stress together?

It is incredibly hard time right now, and we're glad that you feel comfortable sharing with us.

Active scribe

Re: depleted

Hi Sandee
I just wanted to write to you as I am going through something similar. My mum has cancer & is having treatment. This has affected my son. Do you think your family’s situation is one of the reasons for your son to be acting like he is? He doesn’t know how to cope. My son is very closed off. One night he was laying in bed & I jumped in with him and I started massaging his hand as we were talking then I did his head & his feet. This calmed him down & I do this every night now for about 30 minutes. He is relaxed enough that he now opens up to me & tells me what is bothering him. One big concern for him was my mum being sick. & He hates school but he is now going. My son was vaping, going out only on weekends with his mates & asking for money for food. He has now stopped vaping, I don’t give money for food he still goes to his mates place but not as often. Vaping does cause massive mood swings in the teens. Once you find a way for him to be comfortable to communicate with you it will become easier for you.
You are doing an amazing job & he truly is blessed to have you as his mum. You got this mumma xx
Prolific scribe

Re: depleted

Hi Stormy-RO

He has gone out again today and I asked where he was going and he told me I also said we really need to talk because im sure we all want things better.

He did text me asking for money for food and I said im happy to give it to him today but we really need to talk and try and work things out. See what options there are about moving forward


When he come home I would like to try and talk to him and see what solutions he thinks may work , I can only try but I cant keep giving him money he will need to eat at home otherwise its I think sending the wrong message that its ok to not go to school.

Going back to Melbourne im sure would help my mental health but I dont think my husband will manage I need to try and at least get some boundaries in place first . Its a hard juggle.

I also made a GP appt again tom to get a Mental Health Plan for me as I just cant keep breaking down like this anymore.

Thank you for your words of encouragement and support they do really help x

Prolific scribe

Re: depleted

Hi Mumma 08

Thats great to hear that you have had a breakthrough with your son and im so sorry to hear that you too are going thru something similar with your mum, its heartbreaking.

My son however was doing all of these things logn before my Mum got sick . I did break down infront of him once when I was trying to juggle everything and he did show some emotion but I dont want him to feel like he is adding to my stress even though he is .

I will just keep trying to find a way in and hope things change.


Thanks for your kind words it means alot especially at there moment when everything is at its worse x