My son is 12 and started high school this year.
He was nervous and anxious about starting high school but did have a 'good' friend going to the same school, so was a little more relaxed about the idea.
Upon starting, his friend is in a different class and has connected with other friends from their previous primary school and hangs with them all the time.
My son has sadly not made any new friends and doesn't feel comfortable around his good friend, not feeling welcomed or comfortable in the new friend group.
My son has been sitting by himself recess and lunch and now, has refused to go to school.
He has not been to school very much at all since the first week of term. I am so worried about his education and how much he is missing out on. What's more concerning, is his mental health.
My son was once a very 'life of the party' type kid, so funny, so much fun to be around and to have around, loud, engaging and literally lit up a room. He had friends that he was active with. He was very active with sport and was always busy doing stuff, being sports, drawing or writing. He has now become very withdrawn, very quiet, not talking, not socialising, not leaving the house, not doing sport, not leaving his room. He doesn't sleep well and is not eating so much. He no longer feels comfortable even going in to his fav takeaway store asking for a burger and chips at the counter. He is extremely anxious at even doing those simple tasks that were once never an issue for him. We have worked together to try to get through those fears and anxieties with the simple tasks in small increments but with him not leaving the house, it's proving more difficult.
I have been in contact with the school, spoken to them on so many occasions, met with them and have tried to get professional help for him too but it is impossible to get an appointment, but I persevere. The school has been helpful and understanding and even suggested that he come into the school for a period or half a day, but no, he hasn't done that.
My son does not generally share his feelings and really DISLIKES talking about his feelings with anyone, but I have been gently trying to get him to open up to me. He has said that he fears the loneliness at school, he fears being alone, fears that he doesn't have any friends at school, that he doesn't know the work (especially after being away for so long), that he fears the sadness of sitting alone at recess and lunch and gets extremely anxious whenever we talk about school. His whole demeanour changes in an instant.
Over the past few weeks, he has not left his bed in the mornings until the middle of the day, just so down and depressed. He has said over the past few weeks that he would 'go to school tomorrow', but the next day would come, and nothing, he would just be in his bed, too anxious to leave.
A glimmer of light happened last week and today when he said that he would go to school and he did actually get up for school but then felt so anxious about it, retreated and went back to bed. I did celebrate the 'small' win with him about actually getting up out of bed on time, to encourage this behavior and feeling again.
So.... he has been at home. Alot. And here's the next part.... he is addicted to gaming.
He continues to say that that is the only thing in the world that makes him happy. He doesn't actually have to see anyone and he can talk to anyone. It is a CONSTANT battle, challenge, at times argument, to get him off the gaming. Seeing that he is at home, I tell him that he can at least try to do some schoolwork, the only problem is the computer he uses for schoolwork is the same for gaming, so generally, I find him not doing the school work and doing the gaming. He then says that it makes him happy. I have limited times for the computer use, I have limited internet usage but generally, both of these end up in huge arguments where he is so incredibly enraged with me. It is a constant battle. We have drawn up 'contracts' where we have both agreed to the details and when he breaks that, I turn off the internet (part of the contract) but he then gets so very angry and then refuses to do absolutely anything (not that he is doing anything anyway).
He doesn't want to socialise with any of friends or even talk to them.
He has only left the house once in the past 2 weeks and that's when I eventually convinced him to walk our dogs with me - so we did one lap around the park and he couldn't wait to get home - it was a total of 15 minutes outside in over 2 weeks.
Today I said I would take him to the library, we can do some schoolwork, just hang out and they have a cafe there so have something to eat, but he doesn't want to leave the house. Those 15mins around the park were impossible to get yesterday and any time out of the house now is just not happening.
I hope he goes to school tomorrow, if even for just one period, but in reality, I don't see it happening.
His not leaving the house is also getting to me as I'm not leaving the house. I feel imprisoned in my own home with him not wanting to leave. We have been asked to go to my sister's for dinner and he said that he feels anxious around them and doesn't want to go.
I know I just have to wait until professional help but that could be months and months away. Some places I rang said that they have closed their books indefinitely and others said that it could be at least a 6 month wait and that's only if something becomes available then.
The longer time moves on, the more withdrawn from everything and everyone he is becoming and also the more he is not attending school.
I'm lost as to what to do to help him.
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