Please help....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by sjexpress, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. sjexpress

    sjexpress Guest

    I don't know what my next step should be. My difficult child who is verbally and at times physically abusive has now begun to refuse to go to school because he is tired! The last few weeks, every couple of nights, he has been waking up about an hr. after going to sleep, refusing to try to get back to sleep and staying up until about 1am. Usually when I wake him in the morning to go to school, he does. Not today. He absolutely is refusing to go and has now missed the bus. I told him I will not call him in sick and he is freaking out. I don't even know what the school can do about this. difficult child already has more sick days this year then ever because he is always telling me he is sick (stomach aches) but then right after I call him in sick, he is hungry and acting fine. I have offered to drive him in and he says fine, but says he won't get out of the car when we get there! What's the point! How do you get a 10 yr old difficult child who is as tall as you and weighs more than you to do what they have to??? He is a great student, no problems in school, great grades, etc...just a huge problem at home! I am devastated that now he is going to throw his life away and not get his education, etc... I am sitting here in tears and at such a loss. He refuses to go to any psychiatrist appts I set up so we can not get going on medications either. I am sorry but sometimes I wish he can be like other kids!

  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    You need to call the school and ask to meet with a counselor. Explain to them what is going on and ask them to help you come up with a plan. I'd also go to the doctor and check for any physical issues. Our doctor had us start giving Tigger 3mg of Melatonin each night. I was surprised because Tig falls asleep easily but was waking during the night and the Melatonin really helped with getting him to sleep through the night.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    If this is allowed to go much longer you are going to have some really huge problems. School refusal can be a really difficult problem to solve, regardless of how the child expresses their anger/anxiety/etc... Call the school and speak to both the counsellor AND the principal and the sp ed teacher and reg teacher. You need to figure out why he is refusing. Trouble with the work? With something in his classes? With some teacher or student or group? With unstructured time - recess, bus rides, lunch, etc?? IS there an option for him to spend time in the sp ed or resource room if he is having troubles with a specific time, or to get more help if it is the work? You also need to see what truancy enforcement entails. Some schools will send a resource officer to your home (here is it a police officer in a police car who is assigned to your school for the upper grades and one officer assigned to all 6 elem schools) to get the child, in extreme cases they will get the kid out bed and dressed if he won't do it for you.

    You also need to set some rules for what he can do at night when he is up. does he have a tv, computer, game system (even handheld) in his bedroom? Does he stay in his room or come out to the main areas of the house? Here in that situation we insisted that our kids stay in their rooms with only a low light on. they could read or listen to soothing music or an audiobook on low volume. No popular music (they had a choice of a mozart or beethoven or vivaldi cd) or anything rowdy. We found that few audiobooks are rowdy. At some points I insisted they do a 30 min guided meditation from a selection we have (you can find them for cheap online or even for free) before they could read or do anything else. If they got up to use the bathroom or whatever they had to restart it at the beginning. Many times that put them back to sleep. My general goal was to soothe or bore them back to sleep.

    If he is watching tv or doing anything "fun" then he is getting a payoff for being awake then. When he is "sick" does he get to stay home and do what he wants? Or do you have rules? Wiz went through a lot of school refusal one year. He would have panic attacks and often he vomitted. then he had to be at home for 24 hrs per school policy - no exceptions. But they also told us to bring him anyway and he could get sick in class with a garbage can by his desk. I called the district nurse to verify and she freaked - NO WAY was that appropriate regardless of why he got sick (I agreed - the principal and resource officer wanted to do the barfing in class routine).

    I made life at home so boring and miserable that he didn't want to be at home. If he was awake he had to do school stuff. He could NOT eat what he wanted. Upset stomachs get weak tea, ginger ale, toast, chicken broth, crackers or applesauce - all in fairly small amounts and NOT all you want to eat. If that was why he was home, that was ALL he could have until dinner. IF he was feeling okay he could have whatever we fixed for dinner. If his stomach hurt the next day then he stayed on the upset tummy diet for dinner the second day and until he went to school for the day with-o coming home sick. He could write essays, work on school assignments, watch a selection of educational videos (history of the US, science, etc... NOT most things on reg tv except on our channel for adults working on GED programs - and those lessons are incredibly boring). It is pretty easy to find documentaries and educational videos online (try hulu but screen the ones he is allowed to watch) and in used video stores. Libraries often have a good selection also.

    By making him either sleep or doing something educational and NOT stimulating, my kids figured out that it was a lot better to go to school. If I caught them doing something like playing video games they lost them for a LONG time, and often lost access to ALL electronics. That was NOT fun, esp the first 2-3 days, but I survived them, lol. in my opinion it is what you need to resort to.

    If you get to school and he won't get out, turn the car off. Get someone from the building to come out and get him. He may be so embarrassed by this that he won't give them a fuss. If he does fuss, let the embarrassment be HIS, not yours.

    It rather sounds like you are a bit afraid of him. I understand the feeling and how it happens. If he is aware of this you have lost. It is really really IMPORTANT to get to a point that he does NOT know you are afraid of him or of being embarrassed by him. I have let mine know that embarrassment is a 2 way street. Embarrassing me means I WILL embarrass you - in front of YOUR peers. husband told Wiz that he would sing the Barney song over the school intercom, dedicated to Wiz if it needed to happen. That motivated Wiz to do a LOT of things - just to avoid it. When he was about 2 he tried that routine of tossing himself on the floor and kicking and yelling. Being pretty sure he was going to pull this, based on a prior attempt, I was in a place where I knew the employees, it wasn't busy at all, and I layed down and told him he "wasn't doing it right, so I was going to teach him how" and did the same things he was doing. Less than 30 seconds and he was HORRIFIED! He told me I HAD to stop as I was "barrassing" him. I only EVER had one more outburst in public from him - and he was 15 and not living with us then! My daughter had one public tantrum in her life. She was 9 and hormonal and started screaming at me in a mall. I tossed a cup of ice water on her (after telling her to get a grip on herself and calm down) and it shocked her out of it. It was incredibly out of character (esp as there was no trigger - even SHE couldn't figure out why she was yelling and why she was yelling the things she was yelling) and of course it was during an icy February day. She got a new shirt and pants but I made sure htey were NOT clothing she would like - we were almost 2 hours from home so letting her ride home in wet clothes was not do-able as the heater wasn't working well in the car.

    I hope these ideas help.

    PLEASE get a copy of "Love and Logic Parenting" by Fay and Cline. It is common sense, logical, and works. It is also empowering to parents.
  4. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    My difficult child has threatened this on several occasions and I have told him that I would not call him out sick and when the school called to verify that he was sick. I would tell the school that he was not sick, that he was simply refusing to go to school, to mark it as an unexcused absence, and that he will have to deal with the consequences when he goes back to school. That usually works for my son because the teachers think that he is an angel and he does not want them to know what he is like at home.

    Then I would call the school and ask to speak to the counselor. If you drive him to school and he refuses to get out of the car, call into the school and ask the counselor to come out to see what is happeneing. In my case, part of the problem was that difficult child was SO good in school that they could not imagine him behaving they way I was describing and I think they thought I was making it up. A friend of mine had to do that. Her daughter was refusing to go to school and the counselor was blowing off the mom's concerns, until the mom drove the daughter to school and the counselor saw the meltdown with her own eyes.

    When your son does not got to school, are there any consequences? If he allowed to play with his toys? Video games? Watch t.v.? If he insists that he is sick and can't go, I would tell him that he can lay in bed. If he is sick, he should not be up doing the funm things anyway becuase he needs to rest and get well. Maybe he'll get bored because staying home won't be fun anymore.

  5. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    My niece went through a "school refusal" phase. The parents tried everything they could think of (making life boring at home, punishment/rewards, even talking to the school counselor) and this girl, too was just as big as her Mom - so they couldn't physically force her to get in the car or anything. Niece was acting all big and bad and felt she could do as she pleased.

    Finally, they had enough...

    The next morning that niece refused to get out of bed - parents called police. Two officers showed up in a patrol car, marched to her room, ordered her dressed, loaded her into the patrol car, drove her to school and walked her in.

    Niece has not missed any school since...
  6. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    In my opinion - get in the car and drive him. Pretend he never said he would not get out of the car. Act like he never said that.

    He will get out.

    Also, it only took one time of me telling difficult child I would call the truancy officer and she never tried that again.
  7. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    My dad's hard and fast rule - if I was "too sick" to go to school, I was too sick to go anywhere the coming weekend. It didn't matter if I was running a fever of 103 on Monday morning and was fine the next day, or it was just cramps/bleeding, I would NOT be going out that weekend. I was, however, expected to do all my chores unless I was very obviously sick over the weekend. I was to stay in bed on the missed day(s). Books were okay, TV was not allowed.
  8. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I definitely think getting the counselor involved is a good idea, as well as a resource officer if your child's school has one. When Youngest began refusing to go to school (in high school, mind you), I called the attendance office every morning she refused, and said "Youngest is refusing to attend today, I'm just letting you know." I let her counselor know I was doing this. This was more of a CYA move than anything, since *I* could be charged with allowing her to be truant if I simply ignored it. It also let Youngest know that there would be no "excused" absences. Honestly by that point, as a teenager, she didn't really care much.. but I think at this younger age, it might have an impact on your son if you let him know you won't "cover" for him.

    I think since this isn't a pattern just yet, you have a good chance of nipping it in the bud before it gets out of control.
  9. sjexpress

    sjexpress Guest

    Thank you all for your response and helpful advice. I definitly weaken when it comes to major punishment as he then carries on about that punishment and things then get really bad around here. What ended up happening this morning is that I had to take 5 yr old easy child for yearly physical so husband came home from work to watch difficult child. difficult child was furious about this because for some reason, he and husband are like oil and water and whenever husband start to speak to difficult child when he is in one of his moods, difficult child goes nuts. Anyway, husband and I told difficult child we would not call the school but when they called us we would say it was an illegal absence and please send someone to take difficult child to school. I left ( husband had to block difficult child from getting in our way). difficult child then called me on the cell phone hysterical that he did not want anyone coming to get him. I told him to get dressed and let Dad drive you in and he still said NO! About an hr. later, husband called me to say he had just dropped difficult child off at school with no problems. Apparently difficult child was really freaking out about someone coming to the house and getting him and he was crying and shaking so husband told him to just end this, do the right thing by getting washed up and dressed and he would take him. husband told difficult child that some of his decisions have consequences that neither he nor I can get him out of or help him with. ie; going to school is the law!
    When difficult child got home from school, all was fine. I spoke briefly about the morning problems and said it would never be tolerated the refusal to go to school. We shall see....I hope he was scared enough that we did not call the school but when difficult child gets into one of his moods, he just makes bad choices!

  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sounds like you handled it really well!
  11. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I am glad you got him to school today.

    When Diva was about 10 or 11, she would also try the refusal to go to school route. I could get her to school by saying, "YOU call YOUR teacher and YOU tell him why YOU have decided to not go today." She did not want her teacher to know the troubles I was having with her so she would opt to go to school.

    We also talked to difficult child's daycare provider with Diva present about what the foster care system would be like. Diva wanted out of the house so bad and the provider having been a foster care provider also was able to spell out to her that if she was to be taken out of our house then she would be living under very strict house rules in whichever home she was placed. AND, if she wanted to change her mind and come home, that would NOT be an option. That no matter what she wants and what Mom and Dad wants, the COURTS get to decide when and if she gets to return home. No, "I guess I did make a mistake. I want it to end!". She would have to ride it out. She pretty much convinced Diva to stay at home and not look for a way out.

    I know how extremely hard it is to get our 10 and 11 year olds to do what they have set their minds against. You just have to hold firm.

    difficult child had school refusal for anxiety reasons (I think Diva did also but at that time I didn't know to look their). With him, a medication helped a lot. It took the edge of his anxiety off to get him in the door. Once inside, he was fine.

    If you don't find an answer through the school, I think I would push the psychiatrist appointment even though he doesn't want to go that route. Tell him that you know he must not be feeling very well and that you want to explore every doctor possible to figure out what he needs to feel better.

    Another thing to maybe look at: Have you noticed in the past years a little more resistance to do things during the winter months? Some people shut down a little or a lot during the months of decreasing sunshine. Has he had a physical this year? His regular doctor would be able to check him out and refer to a psychiatrist or psychologist.

    I do hope that this fear of someone coming to get him holds on for awhile.

    Now, you and go to him again tonight and ask him how he felt this morning. What was there that made him not want to go to school? Was there something about today? A certain class? A certain person? Encourage him to share his fears with you instead of shutting down and refusing to leave the house. Tell him that you and his dad are there to help him through everything and that you know that with his family's help, he can overcome anything.

    Sometimes if kids don't know the answer, they don't think anyone else will either.
  12. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Tigger has brutal school anxiety. It started in preschool and continues now in 6th grade. One day when he was in 2nd or 3rd grade, I drove him to school where he refused to get out of the car, so I picked him up and put him outside the car and locked the doors so he couldn't hop back in. He is now lying on the group screaming while a staff member tries to speak softly to him. I hear another child screaming and look over to see a little girl having the exact same fit about 50 feet away. People had to wonder what the heck they did to the kids at that school!!
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Jan, I feel for you. My difficult child sounds very similar to yours. Major anxiety and procrastination, and the more they put it off, the bigger it gets in their minds.
    You came up with-a great plan!
    Fingers crossed!