Need help now?

School Anxiety

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Casual scribe

School Anxiety

Hi all, I am a new member looking for help. I have a 13yo son who has had issues getting to school. Starting year 7 high school this year I have only managed to get him to a full week of school twice this year. Most weeks are now one or two days a week he can get there. We see a psychologist and have had blood tests, but he continues to have loose bowels on school mornings within the hour before schoola and for a few hours after I say stay home. I am so confused. Some people say I am not hard enough with him, but I am worried about the fact this has gone on all year... he is smart, funny, has lots of great friends at school, but I just struggle daily getting him there. I'm a single mum and work full time so I cannot afford to stay home and babysit him, and I worry this will ruin his self worth and his future opportunities and friendships.
Prolific scribe

Re: School Anxiety

Message contains a hyperlink

Hey @missmoneypenny 

Welcome to the Online Community! I am really glad that you have found us and have been about to reach out for some support.

School refusal is something that a lot of parents and carers experience and you are certainly not alone in feeling this way. It sounds like this has been a lot to be managing and I just want to acknowledge everything you are already doing. It seems like you have been trying your hardest to support your son and navigate through this by rallying up support for him, taking him to see a psychologist, getting blood tests done and even by reaching out here for some support. It really shows just how hard you are trying and your son is very lucky to have you.

I know you mentioned that you are concerned about your son who has missed a lot of school this year and it is very understandable that you are worried about this. I was wondering if you have tried to talk to your son about this? I know you mentioned that he has been seeing a psychologist which is really great to hear. Have you also been able to talk to the psychologist about this and have they provided you with any support on what to do?

I was also wondering if you have been able to speak to his school about this and if they have been able to provide you and him with any additional support?

I wanted to share this post with you that has some resources, information and tips about school refusal which you may find helpful. I also wanted to let you know that ReachOut offers one-on-one support sessions for parents. If this is something you would be interested in signing up to or would like to learn more we have some information about it here.

I also wanted to check in to see how you are coping with all of this? School refusal can be really tough to navigate through and it is important that you are also taking care of yourself. I know you mentioned that you are a single mother and working full time and was wondering if you have any additional supports around you? This is a lot to be managing and it sounds like you are doing everything you can but you also deserve as much support available.

Thank you again for reaching out.

Take care and we look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Casual scribe

Re: School Anxiety

Thanks Natalie.


I have been trying to keep it all together but I am at the point where I just don't know what is right and what is wrong anymore and I just want that magic pill that doesn't exist.

The school are involved, and have been very understanding, but no help financially as all the school psychologists are booked up and so I am spending $280 up front with a $140 gap each time we see our Psychologist. They also can't really help too much as the issue is getting my son to school.... but once he is there they all comment how happy he is and he is hanging out with friends, laughing and joking around... It is killing me to work out just WHY this is such a hard thing for him when it is clear when he is there it all seems great.

I am constantly telling him how proud I am of him, and complimenting him on being brave when he manages to get to school. We are always telling each other we love the other, so he knows he has my 101% support.

Long story, my husband died 10 years ago, his parents have been a god send the whole time, but 5 weeks ago my son had a falling out with them and my mother in law won't have anything to do with us now as she claims she is 'done'. She blames me for not following all the advise on this school issue that she gave, and she thinks there is something really wrong with my son because he burst out crying one day when she scolded him about send me an sms while they were out together... She thinks he was sms ing me to 'save him' for his grandparents, when in fact he wasn't feeling well as his anxiety levels were up and didn't want to tell the grandparents so he didn't upset them.

I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and saying 'tomorrow is another day'.

Frequent scribe

Re: School Anxiety

Hi @missmoneypenny thank you for the update. I can really hear how much this is creating such internal conflict for you, not knowing if what you're doing is a help or a hindrance. From what you've shared, it really does sound like you are doing an incredible job of being supportive, and ensuring your son knows that you care deeply about him and just want him to flourish. 


I can imagine it to be very confusing as to why he is so resistant to leave for school, despite seeming to be fine once there. It might be something even he does not yet quite understand, but we can hope that with ongoing therapeutic support, things will become clearer in time. 


I truly admire your resilience, and you're right - sometimes it is just about putting one foot in front of the other. And we're here to walk alongside you as you go. 

Casual scribe

Re: School Anxiety

Thanks so much, I appreciate your kind words...


Re: School Anxiety

Message contains a hyperlink

Hi @missmoneypenny I just caught up on your thread and wanted to chime in and see how things are going today? 

I'm sorry to hear about the difficulties you and you're son are facing. It sounds like you and your son are really going through it at the moment. 

I'm deeply sorry for the loss of your husband. I can only imagine the impact this loss has had on both you and your son. Though some time has passed, I understand that grief and the absence of a parent can continue to affect families. How are you and your son are managing with this aspect of your lives?

It is a shame that the school psychologists are fully booked, private psychologists appointments can indeed be financially challenging. In saying that, I wanted to share a couple of free support services, Headspace and Kids Helpline, that might be beneficial for your son during this time. 

Given everything on your plate, I wanted to check in with your well-being too. Supporting a child through difficult times can take a toll, and it's crucial to prioritise your own self-care. Do you have someone you trust, like a friend, family member, or counselor, who you can chat with about these challenges? Taking care of yourself is just as vital as caring for your son Smiley Happy