Son (16) refuses to go to brick and mortar school. Help!(37 Posts)
My sixteen year old has been in online school for years because he was creating chaos at the schools. He is getting increasingly unmanageable and withdrawn. Will go days without speaking to me, is hostile and emotionally abusive and intimidating. My home has become a sad place for me. I enrolled him in our physical school for the last year of high school. He has good grades and no damaging record. He told me he will go to jail rather than go to the physical school. He has sabotaged, lied, manipulated in past psychological treatment attempts. He has refused to take medication that was prescribed. I am at the end of my rope but don't want any legal consequences for myself. I have done everything I can possibly do. He is 6'3" He has not done or said a loving thing to me in many years.
I'm sorry to hear you are going through this; it sounds miserable. Is there any involvement from social services?
Are you on your own with him? Is any other adult involved in his care?
you sound quite scared of him and I don't blame you
Responding to all. I am in the US. School has not started yet (will start Wed.), previously I have been educating him at home through a public online school program, but I can't take it anymore and also it is not good for him to be so isolated. I have been a single parent since 2003. Father has no involvement. I am legally his sole custodian. I have tried everything with him. Social Services is not involved and I want to keep it that way. He is very saavy and knows I am very afraid of authorities getting involved. Before when I was trying to get him into some kind of psycho-social treatment he told me he would tell the therapist I was abusing him if I made him go to counseling or if I tried to make him take the prescribed medication, because he knows they would then be mandated to report me to social services.
Thanks. I really need the support. Are things different in UK? or Europe?
Can he get a GED? Why wouldn't you want him to get a GED or why doesn't he want to try, & then he'll have other options?
That's a difficult situation, yes in the uk a therapist would also report disclosed abuse to SS.
I think you have two choices
A) go to SS yourself ask for help and tell them your ds is likely to make up false allegations.
B) encourage your ds to go to school if he refuses thre us t much you can do , however tell him that if he continues to be abusive to you he will have to move out.
Sorry that should say" there is not much you can do".
In US you cannot legally ask a child to move out until they reach 18. In US the parent is legally responsible for making sure a kid is in school until they are 17, parent can apparently be charged with some form of educational neglect. I am trying to get definitive info on this, it varies state to state.
I'm in hell.
I know this isn't part of your discussion but does he play sport? Football? Gym? Run? Great for endorphins and getting out.
Also are you living towards him?
Lastly what was his dad like?
He refuses to do any activities, dropped out of sports years ago. Will not leave the house. Refuses to travel with me or his sister. Does not eat with us. When he went out to eat in the past he created a huge, embarrassing scene. I took him to Disney World/Harry Potter and the beach last year and he was so cruel I cried every day and he ruined our trip. He is not depressed, but mean, controlling, self-centered, lazy. He sits on the computer all day and when I take his electronics away he gets very, very angry. My son is very intelligent and gets good grades in online school, but I need him to be out of the house at a regular school. Father was like this at the very end of a long marriage-complete personality change. I have been reading about these dramatic personality changes that are way beyond mood swings.
He created a huge crisis, devastating at his school when he was 8 which is when I started having him in online school. He has gotten progressively worse and worse every year. I am so worried about him creating a big legal mess for me. I am in a very vulnerable position, with no family and low income.
I am absolutely clear that I cannot live with the emotional abuse anymore and I cannot educate him at home.
As far as the GED suggestion, in CO he cannot take it until he is 17. He is 16
Thank- you for everyone's support. I feel very alone.
Are there vocational programmes he could do? (Sorry - I don't understand the US system very well) The GED is High school equivalence, is it? And that's the gateway to everything else?
Does he have any ambitions, aspirations, interests at all that you could work with?
It sounds like - assuming you stick with your decision NOT to get Soc. Services or similar help - you need a strategy for surviving the next 12 months.
It sounds really hard. Can you secretly tape or record his outbursts so you have some evidence of his behaviour?
Can you talk anonymously to Social Services to explain what is happening and how your son is attempting to manipulate you? You could also play them the recordings to back up what you say.
He doesn't have outbursts. His is a quiet, in control, strategically directed meanness. He likes to make everyone around him angry and upset while he has no emotion whatsoever. And using his size to be intimidating. In the US our social services is an agency to be feared. They certainly are not a parental resource. Good to know in other places that is not true.
What's the actual problem here?
He doesn't want to go to school but you want him to? Surely that's his decision, morally speaking?
What is it about the home education thing that you can't take any more of? Do you really have to have much involvement in it?
I think you should find out what the legal requirements for home education are in your state; you probably don't have to do very much personally if he is 16.
Also, how do you know he wants to make people angry and upset? It seems quite a negative interpretation of the circumstances; although I admit we don't know the full story. He may just be indifferent, or see you in particular as an enemy, and, frankly, if you are enrolling him in a school he doesn't want to go to (which in the US is quite serious and, depending on the state, could mean legal trouble for him), you are quite close to behaving like one.
Sorry op I didn't realise the age difference. Here although education is compulsory up to age 18 parents are only responsible until June following a child's 16th birthday.
Sounds like you are facilitating his behaviour by refusing to involve SS. You need an agency to help you get through the next couple of years and then to properly formulate a plan for when he reaches 18.
I am sorry you feel so alone op, would you be better asking for advise on a US forum? Just because people will have more understanding of the regulations and support available.
I think he has a mental health issue, together with possible special needs. And he really needs help.
What was/is the online school like? I only really know about ones like "Inter High" or the Stanford High school, which have actual online classrooms, so students do interact with others that way.
If he does interact with others, if only online then that is a starting place.
Does he leave the home at all?
Does he interact with the family at all?
What does he do with his time?
Are there any charities that could help you? Church groups?
Has he been assessed by health professionals?
I have taken my son to 5 different mental health evaluators. The law here is at 15 he cannot beforced to receive treatment. He refuses to see anyone and refuses to take medication that was prescribed and that is his legal right.
I do appreciate the support but probably a US blog would be different as parents here understand the lack of resources available and the legal undermining of the parent's ability to help. Thanks anyway.
I also haven't heard from anyone with a similar child, which is what I really need. I had read recently that the UK has the highest incarceration rate for teens because when parents are calling for help children are automatically placed into jail cells without ever being charged with a crime. So I know there are parents all over dealing with this kind of oppositional kid.
I had read recently that the UK has the highest incarceration rate for teens because when parents are calling for help children are automatically placed into jail cells without ever being charged with a crime
I really so sympathise OP, I can't imagine how hard it would be. If I was in your shoes and in the Uk I would definitely harness the power of social services to help me. It sounds like you are scared of him, or even that you have reason to be scared of him. I don't know what the system is in the US but there be must be someone in authority who can help you? Surely SS is a resource?
No uk children are placed in jail without being charged.
I hope you get the support you need for you and your ds op.
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