What do you do when your teen claims they are too unwell for school and you don't believe them. So stressed(16 Posts)
This is the 3rd time DD (nearly 14) has done this. She was up on time, chatty, ate breakfast, but managed to miss the bus and said she wasnt going to school. Started off saying she had a big assembly that she hated and how I couldn't force her to go, then said she felt ill.
I offered to take her, she wouldn't get in the car.
I left for work and left an embarrassing tearful message on school answerphone saying I she's off but not ill and I wasn't prepared to lie to them. What now? What will school do?
She has no phone or ipad, I've taken the desktop pc mouse and also told her she isn't going out with friends tom and sat as planned
Says she isn't being bulied. Just doesn't like school and can't be bothered. She's a bright girl, top sets for main subjects, but doing bare minimum and won't stay in those sets.
No advice but my sympathy
My dd did this a few times in year 7/8. I hate to admit but I did lie to school I felt helpless at times. Her attendance was always ok though within parameters set iyswim so I didn't think an out of the home intervention was best course of action for her/us.
What worked for dd was being put for a stint in the 'support' form at the beginning of year nine. A class for those not achieving their potential/generally lacking in standards. Most go in and don't come out until after GCSE's, but I think it gave her the kick up the backside required and she worked her way out after only half a term
Now in year 10 and a happy student with good predicted grades. I think she simply grew out of the I hate school phase.
I think you have done what you can do for the moment by making sure home is nice and boring. Wait for your moment then have a gentle chat with her about how we have to go to school. I have had a school refusing child and we had one turning-point talk when I said I was worried he would have an average life. Something struck a chord and back he went.
If you think she is just can't be bothered with it, use every incentive to get her back in there because the longer this sort of thing goes on, the harder it gets. Set out two paths: this is what you get when you're at school and working, this is what you get when you're not (zilch).
Plenty of kindness and time for talk, but stand firm.
Sympathy from me too. I think it is a bit of a phase combined with hormones where something small thing at school becomes insurmountably huge in their minds. An assembly is a classic. Too many people, possibility of being asked something in front of a big group of your peers, possible whole school telling off from the Head, possible you might faint and everyone would see and laugh etc etc.
Once these thoughts are in your head it's impossible to stop and be rational. You are doing all the right things...telling the school so they can help, being kind and supportive to your DD but not rewarding the day off.
It will all probably get better of its own accord with lots of talking, cuddles, tea, and sympathy from you!
Thanks for replies. Found it very difficult to do kindness and sympathy this morning, I tried that the last two times and it's happened again. I was angry and tearful and as I left the house I shouted out that she was going to have a seriously shit christmas due to her school refusal. Feel awful now .
Will talk to her tonight when I'm feeling more rational.
I tell them that they are going, and if they still feel ill at break time then they can go home. I also threaten them with not going to X/loss of Y/etc and am very strict.
DD has had massive problems this term with a bowel disorder and associated anxiety, and is now under Pupil Support/Counsellor/Psych team/Paediatrics who have all been fab - it's been a horrible time, but everyone involved, inc. DH and I, agree that the most important thing is to get is to school. She often works on her own in the Library if the symptoms make it difficult to be in class, which has worked well, and next term we're going to work towards getting her to stay in every class. Refusing school can become a hard pattern to break, so perhaps it's worth involving your Pupil Support team now before it gets any worse?
1) If you have a temperature you can stay home
2) If you go to school and still feel ill at break time you can go to the office and ask them to ring
3) Paracetamol in the bag for minor headaches /period cramps, as an adult you will have to go to work with minor non-infectious ailments, school is no different.
4) If you refuse to get on the bus I will take you in the car, and then go to the head of year and explain why I have had to bring you in.
5) But, if there are any genuine problems at school, I will equally follow them up in any way that you want me to, whether that be contacting form teacher / HoY or otherwise
I would be less strict but dd takes after DH in her hatred of mornings, and I know if she gets out the door all will be well within 1/2 hour or so!
I have had the same problem and was honest with school -their solution was to send the truancy officer round
I was less than impressed at the lack of sensitivity!
You can't physically drag an unwilling teen into school
You are doing the right thing making home boring and hopefully you can have a sensible conversation with her tonight
I am quite strict with her but I can't physically force her into the car. A woman at work has just been asking if I hit her!! I said no (obv!), and she said a clout would work wonders, and that is what her mum used to do under similar circumstances .... this woman is only 40, not old!! Doesn't have kids though.
I've just rung home and she's painting her nails.
Ask her why she doesn't like school. Would it help to give her a week off?
Between ages of 14 - 16 my Son missed a lot of school because he really disliked it. I didn't mind, I understood that school culture at that age stressed him out. Helped him get through it. He got 11 grade a and a* GCSEs and was thrilled to get out at 16 and go to a sixth form college with no uniform and no assembly etc. he was fine at sixth form college, never missed a day.
We were lucky because his school didn't flag his absence record was so extreme.
No, you can't force her into the car - but you can make it clear that if she doesn't get into the car then the consequence will be X or Y. Have you thought of involving Pupil Support now?
No I haven't thought about Pupil Support, I will look into it. Thank you.
Just as no-one else has mentioned it, there can be many reasons why a teen doesnt want to attend school and when they are bright and doing well, it can be hard to spot. . The firm but kind route seems right to start with lots of encouragement and school involvement but if it does get worse, worth looking at her school performance as some very bright kids around this age (like my DD) with undiagnosed ASD traits/memory processing issues, reveal difficulties with the type of schoolwork at this age and for some it is not spotted until they are very unwell......also some find the fluctuating emotions of other teens hard to cope with. Its a messy time and schools often dont offer enough advice on mental health at 13/14. I'm not saying this is case in your instance but there are many teens who struggle at this age and need support.
What now? What will school do?
Nothing in my experience. You might get a phone call to ask a few questions, especially if you email & ring again to ask them to contact you, but probably bugger all unless this happens several times every term. Then they might call you both in for a 15 minute chat about how to improve things.
She has no phone or ipad, I've taken the desktop pc mouse
Our rule is one day without gadget for each train DS misses, and a full day is 7 days without. We've had some almighty tantrums.
She's a bright girl, top sets for main subjects, but doing bare minimum and won't stay in those sets.
Don't be too pessimistic. DS does blank all work at home, but has managed to stay in top maths anyway, only slipped one set for English.
I never heard of Pupil Support Team before this thread. DS has been school refusing for 5 yrs.
If this happens a lot you just don't get bother to get stressed any more. Honestly, if they fine me DS will pay for the fine & if they send me to jail I'll look it as a holiday from upsetting offspring.
Does your school not have a Pupil Support team? We're in Scotland, not sure what schools elsewhere in the UK have, but ours has been fantastic since we started having problems with DD - and it's a normal state school. In our experience, the school does the complete opposite of nothing/not much.
you could talk to her and ask why she doesn't like school.
She could be having friendship problems or have had a resent fallout with someone and doesn't feel like they can face them.
you have done a great job.
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