12yo refusing to go to school. What to do

(24 Posts)
HowTheFuckDoIDoThis Wed 09-Nov-16 10:11:49

Only reason is that he doesnt want to.
There is no bullying, no worries, no stress at school. I know as ive been here before but managed to get him in. I spoke to the school then.

Now...he is not moving. He has barricaded himself into his bedroom, incase the teachers come (they did in primary).
I am sick of it. At least once a week i get hell with him begging to let him to stay off.
Every now and then he insists he is and does things like this.

I have changed the wifi password and told him it will be off, until i decide otherwise. Today is a definite no.

The school are getting fed up as from when he started his behaviour is progressively getting worse. The teachers have tried talking to him and he just ignores.
He laughs in their faces etc. Disrupts each lesson, refuses to do homework.

I get the same behaviour at home and agree that it has got progressively worse from him starting.

Expelling him is very close. Talking to him - he doesnt believe he is doing anything wrong, though i know he knows he is. You can see its just him saying it to either shut the conversation down or something.

The school suggested childrens services. I dont know if theyre going to get them involved, but i kind of hope they do as i am at a loss.

His behaviour started changing for the worse at the end of his final year in primary. A therapist was given to him and he was discharged after a few months.

The behaviour has just become more and more frequent.

My mam passed away in june of this year, that could be a factor, but it is no excuse. That is the only massive change that has happened other than going to comprehensive

ChubbyMummy12 Wed 09-Nov-16 10:39:10

I have no advice for you, but sorry for your lossflowers I hope you get this sorted.

mintthins Wed 09-Nov-16 10:41:23

My only advice is to take any outside help the school can offer you. Can he have a learning mentor of some sort?

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Wed 09-Nov-16 10:44:37

As mint said, take any help the school can get you - see as well if they can get an ed psych involved.

HowTheFuckDoIDoThis Wed 09-Nov-16 10:54:04

A mentor was suggested today, so hopefully that will be put in place asap.
He has said he is going in tomorrow - I have just walked away saying "if you are going to make the right choice and go in today, you have just less than an hour to get ready". They have given him til i start work at 11:30 for it to go in his favour, rather than be negative.

I definitely agree to an ed psych being invovled itsallgoingtobefine i will bring that up.

Thanks ladies x

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Wed 09-Nov-16 10:59:35

I imagine the lack of internet will help him get back into school- good call OP.

Take all the help the school are offering.

Good luck.

SugarNspiceNallThingsNice Wed 09-Nov-16 11:05:41

Hi hugs to you. I sympathise with you.
I am in a similar position, my 11 year old daughter is the same with not wanting to go to school, I've had the letter with the warning about the penalties for being late. I'm at my wits end. This is her first year in secondary school but she was the same in primary for the last 2 years. Her school want me there on Friday to discuss it but I don't know what they expect me to, she refuses to get dressed and won't budge every single morning. Any punishment I give is met with her response of 'I don't care' or more recently now she'll tell me to eff off. I know she's not being bullied I think she just doesn't care.
Do you think your boy misses primary school? That might be why he doesn't want to go. I hope you manage to get some help x

HowTheFuckDoIDoThis Wed 09-Nov-16 11:11:53

No i dont believe he misses primary school as he was starting to do the same there. I also get the impression that he just doesnt care.
I get told to eff off from time to time, too.

Its a situation in where you cant win as you cant physically drag them out of the house (although i wish i could). The school are aware of this, yet put even more pressure on you as a parent by enforcing fines etc.
Which has no impact what so ever on a child that simply doesnt care.
Thank you. I hope you manage to get somewhere on friday x

HarleyQuinzel Wed 09-Nov-16 11:15:35

Good idea turning the wifi off. Make it as boring as possible for him at home.

I went through similar when I was younger. At one point I didn't go in for 3 weeks. I was really depressed (not saying your DS is). In the end I got better and moved schools.

Does he have friends at school? It might not necessarily be bullying but just lack of friends. Or attention seeking? I'm sorry you're going through this, I hope it all works out soon.

unlucky83 Wed 09-Nov-16 11:27:01

Have you tried the 'fine - its your life' approach? Might be worth a shot - it kind of a tough love approach but puts the responsibility on them. You aren't forcing them to go to school -they are choosing to. So...

If you don't go to school you won't be able to do exams, so you won't have any choice in what you do to support yourself. You'll be stuck struggling in a dead end job...possibly unhappy. You can do what ever you like but it is better to have choices and you now have the opportunity to give yourself those choices.
I can help you and advise you to do the right things - but at the end of the day it is your life not mine. I can't force you to go. I can't stop you making a mess of your life.
You not going to school will inconvenience me -possibly I'll be fined, will get all kinds of grief for the next 4 yrs but then my life will still be fine. I'll have what I have now. And you will have messed up and be struggling.
I don't want that to happen - I love you and want to help you not to get in that situation but it is your choice really - it is your life not mine.

Having said that school refusal can also be a sign of SEN - things like ADHD. At primary they are looked after - have little responsibility for organising themselves etc and that can mask things - but at secondary children start to need to be more organised etc and things- like ADHD -which make that difficult become more pronounced with the child realising (not necessarily consciously) they are struggling more than others and eventually becoming overwhelmed. So maybe a trip to the GP and definitely try and get Ed Psych involved -take all the help the school will give you.
Good luck flowers - I was a school refuser (awaiting a diagnosis for ADHD) and my DD (15.5) was diagnosed with ADHD at just turned 14. I suspected for years but finally got her assessed because I was worried she was going to start refusing - not getting out of bed in the morning etc - late every day (she did refuse at primary for a short while). I know from being one myself there is little you can do as a parent once they start -as teens you can't physically carry them there. My parents ran out of 'punishments' to throw at me - eg no money meant I went and got a part time job... I really don't know how I would have coped with teen me - so you really have my sympathy.

cheekyfunkymonkey Wed 09-Nov-16 11:31:45

Can the school send work for him to be getting on with whole he's in his room, or is it the work that's the issue? I have no experience in this area but flowers

SugarNspiceNallThingsNice Wed 09-Nov-16 12:12:42

I'm going to try the 'fine it's your life approach' because I don't have the energy to keep fighting. I need that energy to stop the younger two turning out the same way!
OP I don't know where you're from but in west Wales here they have an organisation called TAF, team around the family, they go into school and talk to the child, work on their behaviour with them and do activities and stuff and visit you all at home. Maybe you could get access to something like that too, it was the school who suggested it to me x

PotteringAlong Wed 09-Nov-16 12:19:33

Sell his stuff to make the fine you will get for him not going to school

BarbarianMum Wed 09-Nov-16 13:07:11

He needs access to someone who will talk to him and find out what the problem(s) actually is. Because something is not OK with him and what you are seeing is a poorly thought out attempt to deal with whatever that something is.

Although switching off the internet is a sensible move, you can't just punish him into happiness and compliance - he doesn't sound happy at all.

FinallyHere Wed 09-Nov-16 13:23:01

I agree with PP, there is something wrong. I would be inclined to stop any pressure and just spend some time together. Gently finding out what he want s to do, and doesn't want to go. The answer may emerge and whatever it is, it can hardly be worst, can it.

I was considered a very naughty child, growing up. From my current perspective, I just can't believe that no one asked me 'why' i was doing these things. They just decided i was defiant and took it from there.

Good luck with getting to the bottom of it.

HowTheFuckDoIDoThis Wed 09-Nov-16 13:28:06

Thank you all. He has lots of friends, he is quite popular. He is definitely not getting bullied.
His circle of friends has changed and i know his best friend is having the same issues - just in a different school. His mother is also at a loss. She blames my son, but to me that is just silly. Theyre both as bad as each other. Trying to keep them seperate is not possible. He mum has tried and they just get sneaky. I also dont believe seperating will solve anything, if anything it will probably create more issues.
In my view, neither are the of the others behaviour - school issues show that as they are not together.

His other friends, well a lot of them are quite new and i havent really got to know them yet. From what i gather, his previous circle of friends no longer get a look in with him. They were, in my opinion, a better selection of friends. I havent said this to him as i dont know the new circle. I am only going off the things he has said and what i see of his behaviour etc.

I have suspected ADHD in the past and brought it up in primary school. The schools response was that they can see why i would think that, and he does have a lot of traits - just in their opinion, they didnt believe it was adhd. Thinking back, i should have pushed my own opinion forward and asked for an assessment. I trusted the school though and thought maybe i was just trying to label behaviour i struggled with. I feel ive just gone on a big rant here...

I have spoke to him about future him and all about choices. He can verbally express the right things to say - seeming as though his head is screwed on. Only his actions seem to take him the other way.

I dont believe he is depressed, or even unhappy as personality wise he is full of beans and always happy go lucky. Until something happens hes not happy about or he doesnt want to do something. Very much 'spoilt' behaviour.

Scarydinosaurs Wed 09-Nov-16 13:29:06

Was the therapist helpful? Would he be able to see the same one again, or would you be able to contact them yourself?

HowTheFuckDoIDoThis Wed 09-Nov-16 13:31:09

Just because i dont believe he is unhappy - that isnt me dismissing that. It is more than possible he is unhappy and putting on some kind of a front.
My efforts of trying to get to the bottom of it are not working.

Just wanted to get that across as my post does look like im dismissing it

BarbarianMum Wed 09-Nov-16 13:33:28

If you think he may have ADHD then a professional assessment for this would be a good first step.

Why would he be spolit? Have you spoilt him up to now?

HowTheFuckDoIDoThis Wed 09-Nov-16 13:34:01

I am not sure how helpful the therapist really was in all honesty. There was no visible signs of it helping, but no doubt it would have been on the inside for my so.

I will be looking into that. However, im not sure how my son will take it. When he had it before, he was quite happy and willing to go with it. Now, i dont think he will as much

HowTheFuckDoIDoThis Wed 09-Nov-16 13:38:44

No i dont believe i have spoilt him in all honesty. Its just the best way to describe the current behaviour x

BigginsforPope Wed 09-Nov-16 13:44:27

OP. We had a similar experience with our DD who is now in yr9 and happily attends school. Her school refusal started in yr 7 and was at it's worst in yr8. I have no answers for you though. I can say school were supportive, we did receive the fine letters but nothing was enforced, we had various meetings with the attendance officer, dd was sanctioned, she lost her phone, money and even her bedroom door for three weeks. She had decided in her head that she wanted to go to a different school but after much talking it became clear she just didn't want to attend school. When your child is the same size as you it is physically impossible to move them. Now 12 months later I am still not sure what changed, I think dd just grew up a little really. She attended some careers workshops at school and it just clicked that in order to do what she wanted she needed to pass exams.

I know this is no help to you now but I wanted to encourage you that things can change. Have you been in close contact with the school? What are school doing to help? I got to the point with my dd that I had the "it's up to you" attitude. She was aware of what sanctions and treats would happen if she did/didn't go to school and we worked with that.

summerofsixtynine Wed 09-Nov-16 13:45:52

I have been struggling with this problem for several years and it's exhausting so flowers from me. We tried sanctions, bribes, working with the school, changing schools, GPs, mentors, attendance officers, education welfare, reduced timetables etc etc. Nothing has worked yet and we're running out of time. Aggression and defiant behaviour may be down to a real fear or deep anxiety about school which your child may not be able to articulate. Make sure you get GP sick note so you don't get fined.

HowTheFuckDoIDoThis Wed 09-Nov-16 13:58:18

That is encouraging hearing that it did click eventually for your daughter bigginsforpope I am hoping that this is just a phase that will be short lived. In his head, he strongly believes that his friends get to stay off school when they fancy it. He believes he should be allowed to do this too.

I am trying to not keep pushing and pestering, i am trying to go with the "oh well, if you choose to make the wrong choices then its only you who will suffer the consequences" to use the choices rather than a power battle.

I can only imagine how exhausting it must be having to deal with it for so long summerofsixtynine

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