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education.com asks:
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Please help me with my 12 year old who refuses to go to school.

"I have a 12 yr old son who refuses to go to school, he gets very upset an starts being sick when i make go to school. the school have been ok but i feel that could do better in helping me. they let him go in till 11am and he has to sit in reception which isn't helping him at all, as he's not getting involved with his friends. this has been going on now for 5 months and i do not know what to do, I'm making it boring as possible at home but he still refuses to go. please help."

Asked by Lisa after reading the article, "When Your Child Refuses to Go to School": http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Schoo...
In Topics: School and Academics, Motivation and achievement at school
> 60 days ago

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Expert

lkauffman
Oct 21, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Lisa,

I imagine it must be very frustrating to see your son suffering. There are a couple of questions to consider: First, I wonder whether he has always struggled with school attendance, or has his relationship with school changed recently? If he has always been uncomfortable with school attendance, it seems there is a long-standing issue that remains unsolved, either in relation to school, individuals at school, or a situation at home. Many children who demonstrate school refusal want to stay home in order to avoid something at school or spend additional time with a caregiver at home.

However, if he has only recently begun to reject school, something likely happened recently that he feels unable to cope with. Many children who are overwhelmed emotionally will go into "lock down", freezing up, refusing certain things such as school when they cannot manage. And, because your son is getting sick, I suspect that he has been holding in some intense feelings that are "leaking" throughout his body, causing stomach discomfort and other physical problems. When strong feelings are not let out slowly via talking or other ways of relaxation or stress reduction (e.g., drawing, listening to music, etc), they tend to come out in the form of physical symptoms.

Whether his struggle with school is new or old, he is clearly struggling to manage some big feelings. I recommend that you research opportunities for him to talk with a counselor. Ask the school whether they have someone on staff (i.e., school psychologist) who he can speak with. If not, get a referral for someone in your community. If you are strapped for cash, there are a number of community organizations and/or university training centers that have low-cost, sliding-scale counseling available. For instance, if you live near a university with a training program for counselors, your son can talk with one of the trainees who would be supervised by a licensed counselor. Often, this kind of treatment is just as good, if not better, than other therapies in the community because the trainees work very hard for their clients.

Best of luck. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

L. Compian, Ph.D.
Child Psychologist
Education.com

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Additional Answers (3)

4thgradeteacher
4thgradetea... writes:
Lisa-
Speak with him and ask him the following:

1- What has happened at school?
2- How do you feel about school?  Why do you feel this way?
3- What can I do to support you going to school?
4- What can your teacher do to support your being at school?

Let your son know that attending school is NOT an option, but an expectation.  Listening to a student is always best.  Perhaps your son has had poor experiences and is overwhelmed wondering what to do about them.  Write down what he says together.  Also, make certain that your son knows that what he has told you is expected to be the truth.  Let him know that you want to support him and help solve this problem.  Make plenty of statements letting your son know that his behavior which you don't like (acting poorly so that he may avoid expectations) has nothing to do with how you feel about him personally. However, YOU must make your expectations clear and stick to them.

Next, make an appointment with the school counselor.  Let your son know ahead of time that you will be making this appointment, and that he will be expected to go.  You can use firm but caring statements such as, "It is my expectation that you will attend this meeting with myself and the school counselor.  If you choose not to attend this meeting, you are choosing to lose your privilege of (some privilege at home)."  Let your son know that the school counselor can be another great resource for problem solving; problem solving is the key here.  Your son has a problem, and you're all going to work together to solve it.

Ultimately, you have a hard choice to make now.  There is no easy way around this.  You are legally responsible for making certain that your son is in school, and as much as the school can support you, the buck stops with you.
> 60 days ago

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hopefulness
hopefulness writes:
Well do what a good parent suppose to do even if you have to get the police out there cause he's to young to not go to school.Every body need there education no matter what!
> 60 days ago

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carmanlita
carmanlita writes:
I feel for u so much as i too am goin through the same thing with my 12 yr old daughter,this is the second yr now n since the start of this school yr (sept 11) she has been in school just 4 times. Wen she does go in she sits in house quarters n only goes in lessons she doesnt feel like the spot light will shine on her,she is petrified of bn pointed out in class so therefore the school have asked all subject teachers not to let her at this moment to spoken lessons,we have meetings,welfare officers n the like contstanley interacting with us but its just not getting her in regular enough.Theres bn times at the start of yr 7 when ive had to force her to school in her jarmas n the dramas gettin her there were so distresful to us all at home n school theyve even sent her home,ive had her to the doctors,c.a.m.s,social services infact any1 i can get my hands on but all they think is that she is been stuborn,myself know its a school phobia but i as a "soft mother" who should do this n take that away, isolate her,ground her which of course ive tried with no results is worn out with it all and even been on medication to help with the stress myself. The result....shes been taken to family court to stand in front of a judge to explain her self why shes refusing.Making ur son sit in reception is just madness and basicaly egnorin his fears,he must feel like hes put on show for everyone to ask why hes there n that makes the situation snow ball,weve bn there.U must ask the school for help n grab anythin u can.Try to incourage his friends round as much as possible so he doesnt feel left out....Gudluck.xx
> 60 days ago

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