Need help now?

School refusal Teen Girl

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Casual scribe

School refusal Teen Girl

Hi new here. I am a single parent, with a teenage girl who was diagnosed with t1 diabetes when she was 12. She has since been diagnosed with a range of other health issues.  

She is very bright and use to be very sociable. Since diagnosis she has missed approximately 60% of school for year 7 & 8. She changed schools in year 7 due to some problems with the teachers who did not understand the impacts of T1D and were not interested in being trained. It was very stressful for both of us. Her dad (who is not involved in her parenting) agreed to pay for private school - but only for the school he would agree to. It was a bad fit for my daughter, did not align with her values. In addition to her health challenges she now hates school, has no friends and does not want to go. She has been to school approximately 3 days this term.

I have tried being firm, I have tried being understanding, I have tried counselling with her. Nothing works. She is moving back to the first school at term 3, which she seems to be happy about, she wants to go sooner, but her father will be required to pay fees until end of term 2. I do not have this kind of money to pay him out so she can go. Dad is not very reasonable (in fact quite abusive) and is not likely to agree to her going earlier. I would be too scared to ask him, he will take it out on me and her. He can be quite frightening, and can make our lives unbearable. 

As a single parent I have no family where I live. My daughter is unable to do online, as it is a requirement that I be at home with her, which would require I quit my job. 

Keen to hear from anyone who has had difficulties with a teen daughter. We have a very good relationship and she is open with me about things happening to her (the school sounds awful!) I have read the material at reach out, my daughter is the artsy rebel type who hates any type of scheduling.



Active scribe

Re: School refusal Teen Girl

Message contains a hyperlink

Hey @Jerri Thank you for reaching out. It sounds like your daughter is really unhappy at that current school and it's good she is able to be open with you about that. It sounds like you are really caring and supportive parent and you have tried everything. School refusal is so stressful. My Son started Kindy during the pandemic and it has impacted his schooling in such a huge way. We have had a lot of school refusal and it is so awful! It sends everyone unravelling. It's not uncommon, in fact too common! You're not alone in this. ABC shared a story you can watch here  

It sounds like your daughter will be much happier when she is able to change back to the original school. Do you think she will return as normal then? There can be some really wonderful alternative high schools out there, particularly if you have an artsy young person. I am located in NSW and I know of one called Korowal for example. 

You did mention you read the RO content, but just popping this here incase it was missed. 

I am a bit concerned about your daughters Dad and you mentioning he can be abusive. I would encourage you to call 1800 Respect if you feel you need some support.  

Hoping some wonderful community members will jump in here and offer you some words of wisdom.

Hang in there!

Casual scribe

Re: School refusal Teen Girl

Thank you. I have very low expectations that the new school will solve anything. There are no arts schools where we live. I am completely broken and out of solutions. I am considering sending her to live with her dad as I am not managing. I have made so many personal sacrifices to support her, and she takes it for granted. She hates her dad, and he is not a nice person, but I am beyond being able to care for her, and all my family are interstate.
Prolific scribe

Re: School refusal Teen Girl

Hey @Jerri 

Thank you for sharing more about this with us and for being so honest. I’m sorry to hear that you have been experiencing this, it sounds like it has been a really difficult and overwhelming time for you and it is understandable that you are feeling this way and finding it hard to manage.

It is a lot to be dealing with, and I can imagine how much more challenging this must be for you when your family and supports are interstate. In saying that, it sounds like you have been doing all that you can and have been trying really hard to support her through counselling sessions, being accommodating and trying to support her with transitioning school. She is lucky to have you.

I’m mindful of the impact that this must be having on you and your wellbeing. I know that you mentioned that you are not managing and I’m sorry to hear that. I was wondering whether you were receiving any support or whether you have spoken to anyone about this like a GP or mental health professional?

I was also wondering whether you have accessed any other support services? It’s important to remember that you don’t have to deal with this alone and that you deserve all the support available to you.

I’ve also sent you an email to check in with you, could you please keep an eye out for it?

Thank you again for being so open and honest with us, we want to remind you that we are all here to listen and support you and that you aren’t alone.