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out of control son, refuses to go to school, driving us to breaking point

(32 Posts)
worrieddad1234 Mon 08-Jan-18 19:16:03

Hi, dad's forums not as good as here for advice, so here i am.
We have a 14 year old son, where to start? Main issue is he flatly refuses to get dressed in the mornings for school, he's getting too big built for us to have to physically dress him and drag him to school. 715am and all you hear from our house is shouting and screaming trying to get him to get ready to go, me same job over 20 years, have to be there by the time he's supposed to be at school. he only says he's not being bullied etc, he just hates school with passion. my wife has a fast heartbeat and she is on the verge of a heart attack due to his behaviour. He begged us to change his school-reluctantly we did, he then hated that one and begged us to send him back to his previous, which we did, that was a year ago. he seems to delight in the discussion that he's going to just drop out and do nothing. threatening to remove his xbox, tv, phone, etc etc has no effect he couldn't care less. point is we by law have to send him to school, or get fined or prison...how do you really do this, if he won't go willingly?
my wife can't drag him to the car. i am already at work by then.
for my defence i have recorded him many times kicking off and refusing to go. the doors banging and shouting i could do without at that time of the morning. believe me if i could afford boarding school he'd be living there, i don't recognise our son anymore, whats more i even took him to the local police station about his behaviour as our 13 year old son is autistic, and the elder one never stops beating the hell out of him, he is a horrible spiteful boy, and he was not brought up that way, i've been told if social services get involved they just take all your kids, and then you have to fight to get them back, it's not fair on us or the other kids just because one person is destroying our family. he honestly couldn't give two....if we split up as a family and have to live seperately. i'd like to avoid that situation but he's driving me to a breakdown and his mum to her grave unless he changes. helpful advice, yeh i'll take a look. the police didn't want to know, i have taken him in several times as a last resort-they say there's nothing they can do....as per usual then, i told them last time before i walked out that you will soon be knocking at my door when he's 16 and causing havoc with his mates, then i'll tell them he's there problem and they could of at least given him a talking to. he does not listen to us at all. he has no respect for us at all. the school is not willing to send a teacher to collect him, so where is all this help available about getting your child to go to school? all i have found on websites is you have a duty to send them to school, not HOW you can force them !!!

KittiKat Mon 08-Jan-18 19:28:37

Hello. I can feel your stress as I had a son who was a school refuser. Have you spoken to the school? Have you asked them to get the School Welfare Officer involved? The SWO came to our house, could see our problem and he tried to get my son to school to no avail. The reason I say involve the SWO is that they will be able to see with their own eyes that you are trying everything you can. The SWO then has other avenues he can pursue which may not currently be available to you as parents but he can set other balls in motion for you.

You may not like some of the options, I warn you now. It could be that the SWO recommends an EBD school (Emotional Behaviour Disorder) or something along those lines.

KittiKat Mon 08-Jan-18 19:31:45

There is also another point which is worth bringing up. Has your son been assessed at school recently? Is he failing? There is nothing worse in a child's eyes than being considered "thick or stupid" in their own eyes. Has he missed some of the most fundamental building blocks in his academic life which means he cannot keep up or even understand the lesson he is being taught?

wowbutter Mon 08-Jan-18 19:36:55

No, social care staff will not just take your kids.
See if your local children and families service can help you. The local council website, or regional council website will have a section. Most you can self refer to.
They will have trained staff who can help you, and work with your child.

Kingsclerelass Mon 08-Jan-18 19:55:41

I know I drove my parents to distraction at that age.
It's difficult to know what's wrong but maybe one or more of these...
Having an autistic sibling is hard. That child gets or seems to get all the attention.
What does he like? Cars, skateboards, computers, music...?
Perhaps go back to carrot & stick. If he goes to school this week, take him to something he wants to do on Saturday. Have some man time together 1-1. Try to talk to him calmly- try to at least find a way to communicate without yelling.
Ask for a meeting with his form teacher & ask how he behaves in class. Which lessons work? Which don't? What do they think? Look for something positive to build on.
Do you give him pocket money? What does he spend it on? What does he want to do for a career? Is that what's worrying him.

Is there a relative he trusts who can help, an uncle maybe?

Sorry so many questions

playitnow Mon 08-Jan-18 20:02:05

Can you see if other services can help? SOcial services? Mental Health? You and your son obviously need help. He cannot be allowed to beat up his brother. Isn't there a phone line called Parentline - could you call them and see if they can advise?
I wish I could be more help - what an awful situation for everyone.

Nctothisfornow Mon 08-Jan-18 20:12:42

I have tried typing but seem to do essays. Ill try and keep it short.

My 13yo ds has been refusing for the past 18 months.
Assessments have taken place. He has refused every punishment school have put in place resulting in exclusions etc. He isnt bothered. He isnt bothered with consequences at home either.

He isnt bullied, nor is there anything he struggles with in school. It is a case of not wanting to go and that is it.

Social services have no idea what to do. School has no.idea what to do.
I suggested a smaller school with a more structured environment as i dont feel he can cope with change. Comp being full of it with a different class and teacher each other - he wss fine i primary and i really believe this is the issue.

Assessing him for this was impossible since he was never in school or willing to engage. They were forced to accept my views and beliefs. Only this is taking forever.

Right now - i am managing to get him in for at least 1 day per week. He has asked if he does a full week in school would i buy him a game for his xbox. Yes i will! Fingers crossed he can do it!

I have yet to receive a fine, or even a threat of a fine. I am fully engaged with the school and have accepted and begged for help from.every angle possible. It has had me worried sick about prison or fines and i worry my other dc will follow suit since they see nothing happens but my ds getting the pleasure of not going to school! Even.though he must be bored shitless. He obviously prefers that to school!

Its hard, its draining and it feels impossible. 6 months ago i would never have believed i would hear him suggesting staying in school for one week. He might not do it, but even getting him in for one day is an improvement.

Stick to your rules for school refusal. Mine is a simple case of no school - no internet.
He pretends it doesnt bother him, but i believe it does.

Nctothisfornow Mon 08-Jan-18 20:13:13

I have sent you a PM, OP

worrieddad1234 Mon 08-Jan-18 20:18:33

Didn't expect this many suggestions so fast but thank you. My baatery is flat now so i will charge it, have a ponder on your questions and i'll try to reply to most of them tomorrow evening. So thank you.

Gottabenow Mon 08-Jan-18 20:19:38

Sometimes the school is flexible enough to arrange a reduced timetable eg he just attends the classes where he can achieve or two hours a day or art or whatever.

It is in the school’s interest to ensure he gets at least one qualification.

In extreme cases there is tuition available. I know a tutor who teaches a small group of school refusers in the town library for an hour a day and some of those pupils achieve a GCSE in English.

I do sympathise. You can’t fight with him just work around him I suppose. And yes be strict with the internet, x box etc.

Oliversmumsarmy Mon 08-Jan-18 20:21:38

Could you for the time being deregister him from school and go down the home ed route for a while that way you can all de stress.

Does he know what he wants to do

This could help him to focus on the relevant subjects.

I hated school at his age. I thought it was pointless and even 40+ years later I haven't changed my mind.

Ds hates school. He does on line school which he can just about cope with.
I have explained to him that he will probably never use any of what he is learning and agree it is stultifyingly boring but it is a means to an end.

In ds's case if he gets the relevant gcse's he will go straight into the 2nd year of his chosen practical course. If he doesn't it will take him an extra year to qualify.

wheresmycat Mon 08-Jan-18 20:22:23

Nothing useful to say but I can see you're distraught by this and I'm really sorry it's happening.

brillopants Mon 08-Jan-18 20:33:30

Sounds like he's suffering from anxiety- I second the idea of a reduced timetable/ deregister for now. Take the heat off all of you.

Have you read 'the explosive child' or 'raising human beings' by dr green?

It suggests a 'lens' change. And working collaboratively with your child to come up with solutions. It means learning to be flexible and not be tempted to force your will, . Letting some things go for now to concentrate on the important ones.
It takes practice but I am finding it the most useful of all the tools out there.

One of the most helpful phrases I found in the book was
'he's not giving you a hard time, he's having a hard time'.

DuRezidal Mon 08-Jan-18 21:07:11

I would start by removing all 'positives' that he enjoys. So don't just take the x box for a night, remove it for a week and keep increasing this each time he refuses to go to school. It will be a nightmare to start with but he needs to see that his actions bring consequences as it seems that you are both at the end of your tether with him and perhaps that clouds the judgment too a little.

Does he have jobs he has to do in the house? Perhaps a reward system would be helpful, again to give him some responsibility and sense of work for rewards.

Absolutely no money at all! No matter what he wants, absolutely nothing bought or spent on him until he has earned it.

From an outsider point of view it seems from your post that he is ruling your house. He is 14 years old, both you and your wife need to take that control back and do it together as a team. So he feels you are ganging up on him, deal with it.

Could it also be as a result of time spent with your other son who is autistic? Could he be reacting to this son getting more of your time because he does actually need that time?

Oliversmumsarmy Tue 09-Jan-18 08:53:56

I would start by removing all 'positives' that he enjoys. So don't just take the x box for a night, remove it for a week and keep increasing this each time he refuses to go to school

I hated school so much that it didn't matter what was removed because I could handle being with out stuff compared to spending 7 hours per day in school.

A reduced time table still means going to school.

KhalliWali Tue 09-Jan-18 08:57:43

How would he feel about being homeschooled?

Bibbidee Tue 09-Jan-18 09:05:19

I'm in the same boat OP. I'm done tbh. Got no fight left. What will be will be.

HardAsSnails Tue 09-Jan-18 09:07:17

If it is anxiety, and it does sound like it to me, and it's quite possible to be anxious about nothing you can objectively explain, then punishments and shouting are just going to make his baseline anxiety worse. Increased anxiety screws up cognitive skills which means he won't be able to think sensibly, so it all just becomes a horrible vicious cycle.

Has he ever seen CAMHS or been assessed for anything himself? With an autistic sibling there's a higher chance his behaviours might be explained by him also being autistic.

I would recommend reading 'The Explosive Child', there's also a website and Facebook page both called 'Lives in the balance' which will help you hone your collaborative parenting skills and reduce the conflict.

numbereightyone Tue 09-Jan-18 09:17:00

What is he eating? Perhaps a combination of hormones and bad diet is having a disastrous impact on his mood? On a similar theme, is he getting enough sleep? Think about the most basic of his needs at this age and work on those?

worrieddad1234 Tue 09-Jan-18 18:14:57

Thanks again for replies. We have booked an appointment with his head of year at school, tomorrow. that's all we were offered, obviously not serious enough to see the headteacher !
During parents evenings etc, the teachers always say he is not behind in school work, seems a pleasant quiet student...we did ask are you sure you know which one is our son...not the one we seem to have living with us.
We will explain everything to the head of year tomorrow hopefully someone can be appointed to intervene soon.
Christmas has only just gone, believe me he did o.k he got presents, and cash, and went and bought himself a watch he wanted, money is not anything to do with these issues. unfortunately their isn't many relatives to talk to, he does have an uncle, my brother-but i doubt he would take any advice, our son listens to nobody, fears no repercussions.
more to follow.

worrieddad1234 Tue 09-Jan-18 18:52:22

So, he gave up his sport, was doing kickboxing & taekwondo, for a few years, he got many belts-but gave it up recently because he said it was getting boring. he has a small group of friends, mostly he hardly sees them-as they seem to be like him, they rarely go out and play, due to the dangerous people we know are in our society. most kids now dont seem to play out, like when we were kids-all his generation do is sit and watch facebook or play call of duty. no wonder they get bored.
my wife has just found a school nearby which caters for kids who can't handle mainstream school-and they have small classes-maybe this is whats needed?
i have tried to tell him, no qualifications means no job and i am not going to go to work while he thinks he's going to be sat at home.
not sure if an SWO exist in the u.k, but i guess the school will advise something tomorrow. sorry can't answer every post, but i have read them and will think carefully about all your advice.

GiveMePrivacy Tue 09-Jan-18 19:14:30

Sounds like you're at your wits' end, Worrieddad. I home educated my children for years and so have had lots of contact with parents whose teens refused school. Here are some things to bear in mind before your meeting.
- You've already been told about the option of deregistering your son from school. If you deregister him, you take on all legal and financial responsibility for his education, and he becomes 'Electively home educated' or EHE. This can be a brilliant choice f it's what you want, but is a risky strategy at this stage because if you deregister, the school and local authority then don't have to give you any help. You would have to pay for any educational materials, tutors, and even find exam centres (which can be extremely difficult) and then pay £150 or so for each GCSE he wants to do, if the options he wants are even available to private candidates. So keep in mind that it's an option, but it doesn't sound like it's what you want at this stage. I'd suggest waiting until you have exhausted all options with the school and LA before going down this route.
- The school might try to persuade you to deregister him. Sometimes schools do this because it gets a problem child off their books and makes their attendance figures look better. It's called "off-rolling" and they're not supposed to do it, but I've known some parents go to meetings about attendance and then get told by the school that this is their only option to avoid prosecution. It's not, and if they try this with you, report it to the Local Authority's education department.

The LA may have other options to offer you, as people have pointed out above. These may include home tuition, online schools, Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), EBD units, or 14-16 college schemes.

- Some PRUs are there basically to keep difficult kids off the streets, but some are great and have dedicated staff who can get the best out of troubled teenagers. In my area, one PRU is a haven for teenagers with anxiety, for instance. Don't write them off - they can be hard to get a referral to, so visit any you're told may be an option and talk to the staff.
- Some colleges take teens aged 14-16. This can offer a fresh start, a different atmosphere, and an education which seems more relevant.
But schemes available vary - in some cases they're a waste of time, in others, teenagers who hated school can blossom. There are two types of scheme that you could access now - 'direct recruitment', where you and your son can enrol him without a referral from the LA to do a full-time programme with vocational qualifications as well as core GCSEs, and then other schemes where you need a referral from the LA. Here's an example of a 'referral only' scheme from [[https://www.westking.ac.uk/visitor/14-16/ Westminster Kingsway], and an article about the 'direct recruitment' schemes. Here's a list of colleges offering 14-16 direct enrolment programmes.

Online schools which the LA can refer you to would rely on your son being willing to work from home. The ones that LAs often use cost many thousands of pounds per year, so IF they work for your child, it's good to work with the LA to try to get this sort of provision. This is an example of something that you'd have to pay for yourself if you deregister, but the LA may pay for if you keep your son on-roll at school. Home tutoring works the same way - the LA may be able to supply a tutor for a few hours a week, though there are no guarantees.

If there is not a representative from the Local Authority at the meeting tomorrow, I'd suggest contacting them yourself and asking for the Educational Welfare Officer. Sometimes they're useless and don't offer anything, but sometimes they're helpful and come up with options that you might not have thought of.

Best of luck tomorrow. Please let us know how you get on.

FusionChefGeoff Tue 09-Jan-18 19:18:43

Someone I know went through this - when she had to face the panel and a very real threat of legal action (with her DS present) he agreed to start going again.

Oliversmumsarmy Tue 09-Jan-18 21:48:45

I Home Ed and yes it is more expensive than just waving them off to school in the morning but given the stress you and your dw are under it is a small price to pay.

I would also whilst discussing things with him get him to agree to a few rules like returning to his kickboxing & taekwondo or something else. Xbox and games only for 1 hour per day maximum.
Maybe getting him to see that if he practiced his kickboxing & taekwondo he could get a job helping to teach in a few years time not to mention if he is any good having more time to practice and keep fit then he could be looking at the Olympics.
Sometimes when children get bored doing stuff they need reminding that at his age it is quite common to find stuff you have been doing for years boring but a gentle nudge and a goal no matter how unlikely can get them on the way again.
Especially with a sport with "exams" to progress. You can see where you are and where you need to get to.

It is also a way of knowing where they are and keeping them focussed and off the street. Even if sports isn't doing it for him any more I would look at something else.

If you do go down the HE route I would definitely de school and ask him to use that time to decide what exactly he wants to study. What does he see himself doing as a career even if it is a general idea or topic.

He is only 13 so about year 8 plenty of time to decide on GCSEs.

Nctothisfornow Wed 10-Jan-18 09:21:29

Good luck with the shool today. Fingers crossed they come up with some good suggestions for you.

My meeting was cancelled yesterday.
I managed to get him in monday and tuesday, but he is refusing to get out of bed this morning.

The smaller school is worth a try for your ds. What are your ds views on a smaller school?

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