difficult child refusing school

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Josie, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    difficult child 1 had a PE exemption this year so she could do competitive sports after school. The only reason she was interested in the sport was for the PE waiver. The school takes my word for it and doesn't require any documentation from the program.

    She hardly ever goes. She's been warned repeatedly that she was going to have to go back to PE. Last week was her final "last" chance and she still had one reason or another to not go. So I pulled her out of the program and told the PE teacher she needs to be back in PE.

    So now she says she isn't going to school if she has to go to PE. And so far, she is up in bed not getting up. Obviously, I have told her she will lose her privileges if she doesn't go, including the dance this weekend. She's a stubborn one, so I can see her staying home all week at least.

    husband refuses to discuss another chance. I have persuaded him all along to let her do this and thought she would get it together. I am not sure I am willing to give her another chance on my own. I don't even think that is the right thing to do.

    Probably this is just a vent since I don't see an answer here. Anyone else have any ideas?
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Do you know what she doesn't like about PE?
  3. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I sympathize with her because I hated PE, too. She isn't good at it. Also, she is in the 7th Grade and goes to the 8th Grade for math, when the 7th Grade has PE. So, for her schedule to work, she has to go to PE with the 6th Graders. She says it wouldn't be so bad if she could be with her friends.

    If we let her go to PE with the 7th Graders, she would have to go down a level in Math. difficult child 1 suggested she do her math independently. While I think she could learn the math on her own, I don't see her really having the discipline to do it. I am not sure I want to even ask about that, but the school is flexible enough they might let her teach herself and take the same tests as the 8th grade.

    ETA: She could be getting all A's but she got a C in one of her classes last quarter for having missing or late work. So making a case for independent study is not easy.
  4. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Is she in 7th grade then? Oh how I hated PE with a passion. Didn't help that I had no respect for the teacher who tried to make attendance at games mandatory and then quizzed us on the scores - I could care less which town we were playing or what the final score was - if we won,then we won who cares by how much? I wasn't going to waste my money and time outsideof school hours going to a sports game that I had no interest in. If it is mandatory, the school better not make the students pay. But mostly I hated the entire locker room experience. So stupid to have everyone dressing in the open, share the large showers, no privacy at all. The noise level in the locker room was unbearable - stupid laughter, screaming, and loud voices echoing off the walls. My parents were able to get the school to allow me to shower after everyone else had left the locker room. That helped a lot. I still hated PE but I didn't fight it any longer.

    I agree with Small World - try to find the specifics of what she doesn't like. That may help find a solution.
  5. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    We were posting at the same time. Yes, when you are in 7th grade, 6th grade is Sooooo much younger than you. I hope you can find an answer.
  6. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    What is it with PE? could it be having to change? difficult child is awesome at every sport he ever played, yet he almost failed PE in middle school. Only had Classroom for a quarter this year.

    Maybe if you find out what the cause of not wanting to go to class, then maybe you could discuss with the teacher and work something else out around it. Just a thought
  7. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    I hated gym too and avoided it as much as I could. I was going to suggest the same thing as kjs. Talk to the teacher and see if there is something going on in gym class that maybe you could work on together with your daughter.

    Good luck. :)
  8. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    She just doesn't like having to participate in PE because she isn't good in sports. I gave her the opportunity to do swimming after school instead but she always had some excuse about why she couldn't go. So now she needs to go back to PE.

    She really is just trying to get her way about not having to do something she doesn't want to do. I really feel like she has to learn she doesn't always get her way and she does have to do things she doesn't like. There are thousands of kids who don't like PE and go anyway. It isn't the issue about changing because I don't think they have to change if they don't want to.

    My mom thinks I should get the truant officer/police or whoever involved and make her go to school instead of trying to work around it. I know here on this board, we generally try to make things work for our difficult child's but what about in this case? She really doesn't have a good reason to not do PE. If she gets her way on this, what next?
  9. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I hated, PE, too. I came to think of it as a "necessary evil" eventually, and was relieved that by 11th grade, it was not mandatory for us. I don't have any answers as to how to get her to change her mind, other than what's already been suggested.

    I think the truancy route is a last resort, if she follows through with a refusal to attend school. It's a drastic measure, but so is her refusal....
  10. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Good point!!! Maybe your mom is right. She can't just stop going to school because of gym. And if you try to work around it, your right, what will be next?
  11. If it really just a matter of her wanting to get her way, then I would go with the truancy officer too. If if was anxiety related to having to change, then that is a different story and I would try something else. My difficult child had huge anxiety regarding changing in front of others. Last year (the little bit he did attend) he would wear his gym clothes under his other clothes. For whatever reason (I think budget cuts) he doesn't have gym this year.

  12. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    It probably is anxiety, to a certain extent. Anxiety about not being very good in PE. My guess is she isn't very good in it. She used to find ways to get out of it and/or walk around the track with her friends when she did go. The coach would tell her he wanted to see her kick the ball x number of times to make her participate.

    Now that she is supposed to be in another grade's class, she doesn't want to reveal her poor ability to another group of kids. She told me this before when I was telling her she was going to have to go back to PE if she didn't start swimming.

    She isn't diagnosis'ed with anxiety. Maybe that is what is fueling this. However, she has displayed the same defiance over doing her chores.

    Her excuses for not swimming ranged from she bumped into something and bruised her leg to she hadn't been in so long it was embarrassing to there weren't very many kids there.

    If she really didn't want to go to PE, she could have gone to swimming.
  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    A lot of kids hate gym class. I know I did. I am terrible at sports...and it always felt like gym class was just another way to showcase my inadequacies as a person. However, a lot of kids hate math class. Still other kids hate science...or reading...or their history teacher...the list goes on and on.

    I think you can sympathize with "not liking" a class, or a teacher, or an activity--but she STILL has to go to school. Because it seems to me that if PE is a good excuse for missing school...and a bruised leg is a good excuse for not swimming...and having to take a class with 6th graders is a good reason for not being in math--then there will be no resolving this. If you fix one reason, she will just come up with another.

    Go to school. Period. The End.

  14. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    DaisyF, I agree. I'm just not sure how to get her there! I've got her cell phone, she has no computer, TV, etc.

    As I think about it more, I am not sure I want to come to the attention of the truant officer since I am homeschooling difficult child 2. That might stir up its own trouble.

    I am fantasizing about boarding schools. :D
  15. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Have you tried any Collaborative Problem Solving (a la Ross Greene's Explosive Child) with her? It may be that if you involve her in solving the problem, she may buy into the solution.
  16. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    She has come up with some ideas like:

    1) one more month of swimming and if she doesn't go often enough we can keep her cell phone until she pays us back for the extra month we paid

    2) she will not go to 8th grade math but will study Algebra on her own

    husband refuses to even discuss 1) and I would feel kind of silly proposing 2) to the school when she didn't do all of her LA work last quarter when she was attending the class.

    So, I guess we are not following TEC. I like the TEC theory for kids with anxiety or other problems. For this difficult child, who is simply defiant at times, we were never able to resolve any Basket B items without making them Basket C.

    And what about the fact that she has known this would happen all year and had it almost happen to her before? Just last week, I drove her to the pool and she knew she had to go that day (because she had already skipped 3 times that week) or go back to PE. If she doesn't have to go to 6th Grade PE because she stayed home from school, aren't we just setting ourselves up for continued school refusal to get her way?

    On the other hand, especially if we don't get the truant officer involved, I'm not sure what options we have. I don't really want to homeschool her, too.
  17. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I called her school to talk to the principal. difficult child goes to a small, private school. The principal said to tell difficult child to come to school tomorrow and she wouldn't have to go to PE. She would come talk to the principal about how to resolve this problem. The principal is another one who hated PE as a child and understands the problem of going with the 6th Graders, too. They will figure something out like letting difficult child walk around the track or doing something else.

    The principal also said if difficult child doesn't come to school tomorrow, she would come and get her. She has done it 3 or 4 times during the years and the kids are usually very surprised to see her and don't stay home again. :D difficult child has never been in big trouble at school before, so I think she might cooperate if she knows the principal will come to our house.
  18. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    What a cool principal!

  19. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    That's what I was going to recommend, FOP. The middle school offered the resource officer (what they are called here - a city cop, though, who works at the school). I just knew with Wynter's anxiety that it would throw her over the edge. So the AP and the guidance counselor both said they would come. They never actually had to because just picking up the phone to call them would get her going.

    However, if I had re-enrolled her in regular school today - or if I do in the future - I fully expect to have to call the resource officer to pick her up. At least until she gets the message.

    School refusal really, really svcks.