difficult child is not going to school

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by welcometowitsend, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. difficult child's school attendance has been pretty spotty this year. Around the beginning of November he made a promise to himself that he was going to do better, and he did. For about 3 weeks. Since then his attendance has been going downhill to the point that he only attended 7 of 15 classes last week and has only attended 2 classes so far this week.

    I'm not sure if he has just given up these courses as failed so why bother or if he's up to something.

    He is still lying all the time so it's hard to tell. I asked him about school yesterday. I didn't tell him I knew he'd missed so much school because he could go to the school (because he is not living at home) and get himself emancipated and then they won't talk to me at all.... so he said to me "I'm looking forward to Christmas break. God knows I could use a break from school." ha!

    I just said "Uh huh." Confronting him about his lies only worsens our relationship. He doesn't even admit to lying, ever, even when it is blatantly in his face that he's been caught. He won't recognize it.

    I have called the school twice and not gotten a call back yet. To my knowledge they have done nothing, not even talked to him about his abysmal attendance record. Last year he missed 20% of his classes. My guess is that this year he is closer to 45-50% overall.

    I've got a call into the guidance counsellor as well. He is supposed to be seeing him on a regular basis since the whole suicide issue at school at the end of September.

    Any ideas on how to approach this situation? It looks like he is going downhill again. I also checked his email account and by the inbox messages I can tell he has been visiting porn sites again and communicating with another girl he met last year. This indicates to me that he is likely starting the cycle he did last year when he was grooming/flirting with several different girls at the same time he was dating the 'love of his life' and viewing some pretty hardcore nasty porn. If he is bipolar I wonder if this is part of a manic cycle for him - the sexual stuff and school attendance issues.

    We leave Wednesday for Florida and I'm worried now. Haven't said anything to husband or easy child. I doubt I can get in to see psychiatrist as his next appointment isn't until April (that was the soonest they said they could give him) and I'm not sure what would be worse - leaving him as he is until we get back or trying to get him on a new medication and then being gone. Sigh.
  2. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    He is only 16, right? If I recall correctly, he doesn't live at home. I hope he will not have access to your home if you're in Florida.
    When my difficult child was around 16, I would have bet everything I had that he was emerging bipolar. Turns out that wasn't the case at the time; he was on drugs. It altered his entire personality, and he was also lying about everything and into very disturbing things. Fortunately, the psychiatrist did not see any evidence of bipolar in him, but of course, that could change over the next few years. Very often, these things go hand-in-hand with sub. abuse.
    It surely does seem like your difficult child displays "patterns" or "cycles" of being well, then every few weeks, cycling downward. Are you sure he's not on drugs? If you can't see a psychiatrist before April, there isn't much you can do, unless his behavior becomes so erratic that he's a danger to himself or others. I wouldn't let on about your knowledge about his cutting school just yet. What good would it do? He will either lie to your face or blame you somehow.
  3. Calamity - My first inclination was to guess drugs as well. I had him tested last March, again in July and the hospital checked him at the end of September - clean every time.

    Our difficult child's sound similar in the behaviour but for different reasons maybe. I'm not saying difficult child is bipolar -I wouldn't ever think myself qualified to make that diagnosis. The psychiatrist's initial diagnosis was major depressive disorder possibly bipolar. She was inclined to think he might be bipolar but felt it was too early to diagnose without an immediate family member like husband or myself with a diagnosis of bipolar.

    I spoke to the school today. His guidance counsellor says he doesn't show up for appointments. He does seek difficult child out in the hallways of school and speaks to him whenever he does see him in the hall. He said he seemed good - which he does to my face too. VP said there is not much they can do about his attendance and because he doesn't live at home that makes it even more difficult. All they would do is give him an attendance contract and quite frankly he wouldn't care, contract or not, if he didn't feel like going to class, he wouldn't.

    You're certainly right about it not doing any good to confront him or tell him I know he has been cutting class.

    And no, he doesn't have access to our home. We changed all of our locks to digital coded locks and changed the codes when he moved out. We live far enough out of town that I hope he wouldn't bother to show up here anyway.