difficult child refuses to go to class

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by STRESSEDTOMAX, May 5, 2008.



    I cannot believe this is our life. difficult child, diagnosed with ODD, is now refusing to go to the classroom after we somehow get him kicking and screaming into the building. The idiot of a principle, who has been informed of this diagnosis and who we have had several meetings with, just called and said he's "not playing difficult children game anymore" and maybe the school system is not the appropriate place for difficult child. This is the same man who told difficult child that he pours cold water on his child's head if he won't get out of bed in the morning and that if he won't come into school he is going to call the cops and difficult child will be put in a squad car.

    I am almost done reading the explosive child and it's got alot of good info in it but with this child every single thing is a fight and if he doesn't get what he wants, it starts a total meltdown. I don't know how to live with this anymore. I love him to death but I feel as if our lives are ruined. He will be 7 in July and we have been living with this nightmare for 5 years now. Hew is on Tenex and this is his third day on Lamictal. I am waiting to see if he will be approved for Medicaid because we have no mental health coverage. We have two other children-21 and 25- whose last 5 years have been affected also and it's so hard for me to understand why this is happening at this point in our lives. I feel sorry for all of us-most of all difficult child. My husband is now on his way up to the school to try and get difficult child to go into the classroom and I hope he doesn't explode at the principle and get himself arrested.
  2. tryinghard

    tryinghard New Member

    I am so so so sorry...I can tell you I understand.

    My difficult child has started resisting school again. We have had to beg, fight and threaten many mornings the last few weeks. He is 12.

    When he was 9 for a week he would have a melt down in the car and refuse to get out once we were there. We finally got it out of him that kids were teasing and threatening him. The principal spoke to the kids, the teasing stopped and difficult child stopped throwing fits.

    I am sure you have asked him if anything is going on...and like my child he probably didn't tell you anything!

    The principal sounds like an absolute jerk. Is your child on and IEP? I believe if he is, you can ask for a behavioral specialist to work with him.

    I am not as wise as others on this board with advice on what your and difficult child's rights are regarding what they need to do to help him suceed at school. I am sure others will come on with better advice.

    I just want to let you know that I understand...you are not alone. I am sending you and your husband (and difficult child) big HUGS.

    I will tell you that with my difficult child, things are gotten much better over time. We still have issues but they are fewer and farther between and he seems to be able to reason and communicate better as he is growing older.

    Please post and let us know how it went...I will be thinking of you, husband and difficult child all day and sending good thoughts.
  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi Stressed,

    I found this place because my difficult child had a severe case of school anxiety and was refusing to go and I know how gut wrenching it is. My difficult child was 6 or 7 at the time--same age as yours. This often looks like it's just plain stubborness on the part of the child but for a child with the cluster of problems that yours has its his way of waving a flag and saying that something is really wrong.

    Personally I would put my foot down with the principal--no police, no dragging him into school. This is a child with neurological differences and what needs to be done is to find out what is problematic for him at school and what can be done to support him to succeed.

    I've just gone back over some of your posts-I'm not a betting woman but if I were I would bet there is more going on than just ODD with your son. If psychiatrists have been the principal diagnosticians for your son, you need to go further and have him assessed by a neuropsychologist or developmental pediatrician. If he's a bright kid (mine started reading at age 2) with obsessive tendencies and sensory issues, then you want to make sure that someone with expertise in higher functioning Autistic Spectrum Disorders is involved with the assessment. Mine wound up having Autistic traits falling short of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) criteria and knowing that really helped us help him. Don't count on his psychiatrist on picking up on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)'s.

    Advice for dealing with the school anxiety:
    First, schedule an appointment with your son's pediatrician to make sure there's nothing like strept throat, etc going on. A parent's relationship with the school can really be messed up when a kids goes the school refusal route and this will help establish that you're serious about getting to the bottom of the problem.

    Second, if school refusal due to anxiety has reached levels where it's way over the top, a homebound instructor can be provided by the school to instruct him a few hours a day at home or another location. You would need an signed authorization from your child's pediatrician or better yet, his psychiatrist. Dragging him in, involving the police is probably going to make things worse for him.

    Third, if they aren't open to homebound you can call for an IEP meeting to up the level of supports. They won't like this at this late stage in the ballgame but there are things they can do at school such as give him classroom breaks, sensory breaks, pull out, accomodations, etc that can ease things for him at school. It's best to have something more firm on paper from your doctor because ODD isn't going to justify this increased level of services.

    If his behavior has reached a point where everything is a fight then you need to consider that his medications aren't right, and that the Tenex may actually be contributing to the problem behavior.

    What's his play behavior like? Does he play with regular toys? Any lining up of toys or other household objects? Collect things likes sticks, stones, string?
    Does he have typical interests of 6 year olds?

    Hang in there--this is a tough life to live and I hope you'll find the right path for him.
  4. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    For some odd reason, school refusal is always treated like a disciplinary problem and not an anxiety -- medical -- problem. Consequently, authoritarian neanderthals like the principal make things worse. I'm not saying that a more supportive approach will make a child want to go to school but it won't add to the already existing anxiety problem.

    Most kids would love to be able to go to school and be like everyone else but some just .....can't.

    Oh, and as for the comment about the school system not being the appropriate place for your child, tell the guy you'll be find with an IEP that provides for homebound instruction. Ask him how soon he can arrange it. Be aware that you have been put on notice that this guy is going to try to force your child out of the system. That's what calling the cops is about.


    Thank you evryone-

    Thank God I at least have this board where people really understand. difficult child does have an IEP and it was upped a couple of months ago. He had about 6 weeks where there were no problems as far as school and now it's starting again. I get daily reports from the teacher and I am in constant communication with him. He had a really bad meltdown last week and I didn't send him on Thursday because he was so distraught. Friday everything was going great until he got out of the car and realized he forget something in the car. Even after we parked and gave it to him, he was already too far into his meltdown to stop. We took him home, he went back at 11 and had a great day. One thing that I thought was inter4esting was that he said to me: " I only have four hours at school left so it should be easier for me to be good". I know this is really not in his control.

    As for the principal, he was in a meeting(hiding) when my husband got there but the vice-principal actually told my husband to call the superintendent on him, which we will. Luckily, most of the kids at this school are switching to a brand new school next year, and this man will not be principle. When my husband got there, difficult child was calm and just wanted to call me to say goodbye. Then he calmly walked into the classroom.

    One thing that I do believe is a factor here is that he has this unbelievable attachment to me but not to my husband. He says he hates him and I know it's because my husband has a temper but it's so hard for me to blame husband either because he spends more time with him than me and tries so hard. I think u almost have to be superhuman to be patient with difficult child. ASlso, husband goes to NY one week a month and for many reasons, I don't think this helps. All I know for sure, is it's scaring me how often I fantasize about the life I would have had if I hadn't had difficult child. My other two kids are grown, everyone I know is going out to dinner and on vacations and we can't even go to the store or to the school without craziness.
  6. muts80

    muts80 New Member

    I cannot believe the principal said that to you!! I don't know how it is in your state, but in Florida by law the school district HAS to provide resources for your child. I would definitely get a meeting together with the teacher and the IEP specialist to get him on an IEP if he isn't already! I'm sure it's very frustrating for difficult child as well, because if he's in a normal classroom setting, he probably feels a lot of anxiety and fear. I know that's how my difficult child was. Once we put him in an ESE class, he seemed to calm down a bit. But that is not the case in all ESE classes. My difficult child was in one that the teacher kept leaving me notes in his homework folder that she "didn't feel like this was the best setting for him"....HELLO...you're an ESE teacher!! What do you mean this isn't the best setting?! So frustrating. So finding that perfect match as far as a teacher is vital also.

    Another thing I've found helpful with my difficult child when he wakes up and doesn't want to go to school....find something that difficult child is REALLY attatched to (like my difficult child's is his Nintendo DS). I tell him "if you can go to school today, and do your work...then you can have the priviledge of playing your DS tonight." I also tell the teacher (or write a note) to remind difficult child of this when he starts to get off track. It has worked everyday now for 2 weeks. So maybe try that.

    Keep us posted!! BIG HUGS!!!
  7. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Oh boy....how awful for all of you.

    My difficult child has always liked school and he's not refused to go...yet. But in elementary school they beat up his self esteem till he was almost in a ditch and couldn't get out. Now looking back, I blame it ALL on the principal who didn't want to have a child like mine in her school. He was difficult, he cost them money, he was disruptive, he was ALWAYS in the office in ISS. For the love of Pete, I can't believe I didn't go to the superintendent's office waaaaay before I did. CALL the superintendent's office and make an appointment. They will tell you to talk to the teacher and the principal FIRST, but tell them that THEY are the problem and you get nowhere. Sorry.....I found out I had to turn into a b*t*h to get my difficult child some help and I was almost too late to have the best influence. Waste no time.......
  8. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Raising difficult children is not for the faint at heart.

    Big hugs. And shame on that principal.
  9. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I hear you! My difficult child refused this fall. I ended up going to school with him. SW asked, "WHY!!!" "Because we had no idea what was going on - he had lost all his energy - was not diagnosis as a difficult child yet. If I had known it was anxiety, I would have encouraged him more to go it alone." Encouraged is the key word - not threaten.

    Anyway - You can talk to your difficult child tonight - "I notice you are having a very difficult time going to school. I don't get it. What is going on? What has changed?" He may be ready to talk tonight? You can then come up with a plan. Make it simple and put it in writing so difficult child can read it in the morning.

    Have you talked to his teacher? Any insight there?

    I think we have to be as positive as possible when working through problems with kids. We are teaching them communication skills and certainly do not want them communicating in the way the principal is right now. I know this is very hard - I can be as positive as you can get with everyone except my family - I then think "They should get this!" So, I have to work on that. Part of communicating is getting as much info as possible and if you are not kind about how you handle a kid, they will clam up.

    Angry enough? Wait until school has started tommorrow so no kids are around. Go into the principal's office and sound off your complaint, "THAT IS NOT HOW YOUR TREAT KIDS!!! You are suppose to be the role model here. I do not want my kid threatened. You are the adult, you should know how to talk to an upset kid. My son deserves an apology from you!" (then again, maybe I am not that positive of a person?)
  10. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Given the principal's attitude, is it any wonder why difficult child doesn't want to come to school? The school should be problem solving not threatening. Is there someone at school that your child feels close to? Maybe an adult could "befriend" him and meet you at the door of the school. Perhaps he could ease into the day by stopping at the guidance counselors office or helping to deliver mail or some other task. We had a student at our school who had to pried out of his poor mothers arms each morning. He ended up with a one on one assistant for sometime. It helped him feel secure and once he was engaged in class, the aide would step back until she was no longer needed.

    I'd ask for a meeting with the school to discuss a plan for easing the transiton into the school day.

    Good luck!