difficult child still isn't at school

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    He only went half the week last week and hasn't been at all since 1/2 day last Thurs. Tomorrow is a scheduled half day, then they are out until Mon. I know he doesn't feel well, but apparently, he's a kid looking for excuses not to push himself instead of deciding to accomplish what he should in spite of the difficulty. While I understand this for a 13 yo, it simply cannot go on. All I can think of is to lecture him about it, which I know won't work.

    Does anyone have any tricks up their sleeves? I don't want to end up with him having to take the school year over, or having to go back to court, or putting him on disability, or sending him to live somewhere else, but right now, that appears to be the only option. Then, he will be devestateed and wish he had pushed himself. I don't see a believable way to scare that reality into him before it is actually done and then it's too late.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there.
    What do you mean by "pushed himself?" Is he very depressed or unstable? If so, he is probably not able to push himself. I know that when I had depressive episodes, I could barely get out of bed. When I did, I couldn't concentrate. It's common to be unable to read a book when you are depressed. You read, but you don't comprehend. Why would he have to be sent away? Can they put him on homebound until he is better? Are his medications maybe causing severe cognitive dulling so that he can barely think? Unfortunately, that can also happen--Depakote made my daughter unable to do her work. She called it "my stupid pill" and finally wouldn't take it. Make sure your child really CAN put forth the effort. It may be that he really can't work his hardest right now. School maybe shouldn't be top priority at this time? I remember the times when there was nothing I could do in school but stare, and nothing computed, and I didn't do any of the work. I wasn't being difficult; I was mentally numbed from the endless black hole, and I couldn't attend to what was going on. But you know the situation and I don't...
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I'm wondering if he's sick in regard to having a cold or something, or whether he's depressed.
    We have the benefit of having already held our son back a yr, so we can always threaten him with-another yr. Sounds awful but it works.
    But if you're dealing with-depression, I'd take him to the dr and tweak his medications.
    Also, we don't let our difficult child sit around and play video games or watch TV when he's sick because we don't want it to be a holiday. So I'm wondering if you can make your difficult child so bored at home that he'd actually want to go to school?
    I need more info.
    I can feel your frustration.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    It takes several weeks to get homebound started, if they show up at all. Then, if he's on homebound there is no one to watch him all day and if I don't get back to work full time, we aare going to lose our home, everything. I suffer from depression at times, too, and I do understand that it's hard, but giving into it day after day, continuously for a long period will not help it and most of us know that we can't let that happen. We all have to make ourselves get up and do something at some point in order for our lives to get better.
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    My kids have a hard time pushing themselves when they are:
    truly ill

    I believe your difficult child has at least three of those conditions going on.

    One thing that concerns me about your doctor visit yesterday is that your pediatrician said your difficult child was suffering from allergies. But fevers don't accompany allergies. Fevers are indicative of either a viral or bacterial infection. I suspect there's more going on than your pediatrician found.

    Sometimes it is the anticipation of going to school that is far worse than the reality. If that is the case, I tell my kids to just try school, and if they really don't feel well, they can call me to pick them up.

    Is it possible your difficult child needs a more supportive school placement to meet his emotional needs?
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Terry, he doesn't have game or computer access when he stays home from school. Refer to other threads- he was taken to psychiatrist yesterday; he saw his therapist on Fri and I made sure this was to be disccussed. He sees therapist again today this afternoon. He also saw dr yesterday who said difficult child's allergies were out of control. This is because difficult child had refused to take his nasal spray for the past several weeks. All steps are being taken to get difficult child feeling better as soon as possible. But the world can't be put on hold in the mean time.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    SW, personally, I thought the allergies had gotten to a point of being a sinus infection, too. I asked dr about the need for an antibiotic but he said he was a little concerned about difficult child just getting those medication changes from psychiatrist and he didn't really think it was an infection just yet. He said he preferred to try to get the allergies under control with the nasal spray first and not add another medication but if difficult child isn't feeling better by Fri., then call him and he'd address it as an infection.

    difficult child got up this morning, then said his stomach hurt and went back to bed. I've heard one thing or another for weeks now. His stomach probably does hurt from the medication change, but can they quit going to school every time? I'm so frustrated!!

    Oh- dr said the sinus drainage caused the sleep disruption (probably) and other physical things, including earache and sore throat and the low grade fever resulted from those things, but that wasn't necessarily an infection.

    School has some pretty good supports in place right now, even I have to admit. I don't think it's anxiety related to school right now.

    The reality of it is that if he's going to need long periods to shut down and put everything in life on hold, he will have to live somewhere else. Unless anyone can figure out a way for some agency to provide someone to come watch him while I'm at work or someone to pay the bills so I stay home with him all the time. I'm a single parent with no other income- unfortunately, neither of us have the luxery of shutting down and expecting the world to wait for us until we get our head back on straight or until we are in the mood to do what we need to do.

    Really, I guess I can try to get him on disability and maybe someday he'll get more advantage out of the resources being offered to him. But, the resources won't get better than what they are right now, I don't think.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2008
  8. ML

    ML Guest

    I just want to add my support. I kept manster home yesterday, took him to doctor, no strep. But I did let him play computer games and now I realize that's a mistake. I always learn something here.

    I'm so sorry difficult child is having a hard time. Thinking of you today ML
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ohh, now I remember! (Smacking myself on the forehead.) Yes.
    Well, gosh. I wish I had some words of wisdom.
    I feel your frustration. {{hugs}}
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, ML &Terry!

    Now this is turning into a real vent.... it's the way this transpires every morning that has me fuming, too. And, convinced that difficult child is just giving into it too much.

    First, his alarm goes off at 7:25. He turns the alarm off. Then, I go in his room at 7:35 and nicely tell him it's time to get up and he nicely says ok. I make sure he's really awake and tell him not to fall back to sleep and that if he gets up right away, he can take the bus to school and have time to eat breakfast and I can get to work at a good time. difficult child says ok, that he's getting up and he sits up. Then, I go back to his room at 7:45-7:50 and sternly say "difficult child, you told me you were getting up" and he says "I am" and I tell him again that he has to get up right away because now I need to take him to school - he has missed the bus. He says that I'm very annoying and that if I'd just get out of his room and quit yelling at him that he would get up and he throws his "don't talk to me" hand up and tells me to get out of his room and leave him alone and he'll get up. Then, at 8:00, I go tell him that he has to have clothes on and be ready to leave in 5 mins in order to be to school on time. He yells out ok. Then, at 8:10 I go to his room and I'm mad and I say you are late, difficult child, and he says "I don;'t feel good". And, I just shake my head and turn around and walk away. This has resulted after a couple of weeks of trying CPS talking, removing tv and game stuff to make sure he isn't getting up playing during the night, offering motivations, etc.

    Odoc told difficult child yesterday that if he starts getting up and just doing his best daily, it will help him to feel better, and I firmly agree. But difficult child doesn't appear to be making any effort in this respect. Truthfully, I do understand the feelings. What I don't understand is the lack of difficult child's understanding that he has to make some effort in order for this to go away and get better. That continuing on this way just digs him in deeper.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2008
  11. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Can you bring him to your office? After one day of that, he might be so bored that he'll willingly go to school.

    ML, this is JMHO, but I think if a difficult child is sick, he should be allowed TV, computer privileges, etc, interspersed with schoolwork/homework (that's what I do with my kids, and if they are really sick, no schoolwork gets done). But if a difficult child stays home to avoid school, that is a whole different story entirely.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I can't get him out of bed, SW. The only way I got him to get up and go to psychiatrist yesterday was by yelling to him that psychiatrist makes recommendations to the judge.

    Besides the concerns I've already listed, let's face it, difficult child is going to end up a whole lot more depressed and anxiety-ridden if he has to take 8th grade over or if he has to move out of home, etc.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I didn't understand how serious your situation was. Not good. I have to agree that allergies don't cause fevers though...did he have any blood work to see if anything else is going on? Maybe he can go to school and rest in the nurse's office if he wears down. I've told my kids to do that at times.
    Do you know if social services can provide you with any childcare if he won't/can't go to school? I know you have to keep your job. (((Hugs))) Wish I could help more.
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't know who to go to, MWM. Apparently, social services has to look at placement outside of home with another family member first- that's a whole different crisis in our situation. The state dept of mental health says I have to go through PO, school, or local mental health dept. School won't recommend child care or financial help- it's not school related. PO will only look at difficult child staying in this situation or going to state Department of Juvenile Justice. The local mental health people require that difficult child give up the private psychiatrist/therapist and I start with the lowest on the ladder, incompetent, therapist and get their own evaluation and exhaust their trials and errors (mostly errors- we tried it before and they even lost difficult child's file- TWICE), before doing anything differently, they keep us over there for half a day for a 1 hour appointment. and they talk to everyone like they are beneath human.
  15. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    My son ended up repeating 9th grade this year. He didn't get enough credits at his private school last year to advance to 10th grade when we switched him over to the public school system. We thought his self-esteem was going to take a huge hit, but in some ways there was relief on his part because he doesn't feel so pressured. In his current ED program, no one knew him before so no one knew he repeated a year. Furthermore, he's pretty immature socially so being with 9th graders hasn't made a huge difference.

    That, of course, doesn't help you, but I don't think you should worry about him failing 8th grade. If you can't get him to school, then the school needs to help you. You need to call an IEP meeting and brainstorm with the IEP team some ways to get him into the building. Will someone (like the school counselor) come out to your house to talk with difficult child about his responsibility for getting to school? You should also call the psychiatrist and therapist every day he doesn't make it to school to document your difficulties. Everytime my son missed school for other-than-illness-related absences, his psychiatrist required him to come to his office to talk about it. Maybe that's an option for you, too.

    Last idea: Can your difficult child be put back in a bracelet so you don't have to be there babysitting him when he misses school?
  16. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I don't have any additional ideas, but wanted to send a hug and a prayer.

    Bracelet might be a good idea, too.
  17. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    PO told difficult child last week that she was not putting him back on that. She said she knew why he was depressed and had anxiety- she said it was because he decided that he didn't care anymore (in so many words, that it was his fault- back to the theory of the bad behavior causing the depression). So, she said that she was putting him on house arrest without the monito and if he didn't obey that or if he did anything wrong before she sees him the second week of Dec., she was taking him back before the judge to be put back in detention. The judge used to be a teacher and one of the reasons she let difficult child out of detention on a suspnded sentence, rather than committing him to state Department of Juvenile Justice then was because things were going well at school.
  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I went in with difficult child the first few minutes of his appointment with therapist this afternoon. I told therapist about the situation- made it obvious that I'm not doubting that difficult child doesn't feel well and I'm not angry that he doesn't feel well. But, I explained the reality of the situation and that even if difficult child went to school and laid on the cot in the clinic all day long, it would be better than staying home in bed until noon. I explained the fact that financially and with my job and PO, things are on the verge of a crisis. I explained that right now, school is very supportive but we can't expect that to last forever if difficult child isn't even showing up. Then, I left the room and let them talk alone.

    difficult child hasn't really said anything to me about it but he has acted in a little better mood. He really likes this therapist- actually, so far, I do too. therapist told me when he walked difficult child out at the end to call him if I needed to- if things were reaching crisis point. I don;t know if he has any ideas that could help or if he just meant he'd listen to me whine about it a few minutes and try to make me feel better. I guess I should have let him know that he could call me if he needed to discuss something with me, but I assumed he knew that.
  19. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Oh, I'm so sorry. Next to physcially forcing him out of the bed every morning, there is, at this point little you can do. You're right. He's got to care enough about what may happen to want to do better. How do you get a 13 year old to understand? I don't know. He knows if he doesn't go to school, the judge will step in. He knows if he gets in trouble the judge will step in. Does he know how dire the financial situation is? Have you set down and shown him the household budget, what you need, what you have? Is he emotionally ready to handle that. At 13 he must know that in order to be bale Occupational Therapist (OT) live in your home, you must work. I wish I knew what to tell you. I wish I could step in and kick PO in the pants for making difficult child feel like you are the problem!
  20. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, EW! Unfortunately, some part of difficult child doesn't understand this. Some part of him- maybe it has something to do with cycling and that it's more accurate to say some times, he does understnad things. But other times, he has a tendency to do the self-destructive path. Not self-destructive like drugs (at least so far), but self-destructive in the sense that when every one else in the world can see only one rational choice that is in his best interest, he'll do the opposite. I'm not the only person to notice that- his psychiatrist and the evaluation'ing psychiatrist picked up on that too.

    That's part of what scares me. He acted more maturely for a few months of 5th grade than he is now, as far as pulling things together at school, being responsible at home etc. It's like he was so erratic and had been in the psychiatric hospital because I thought he was going to kill himself (intentionally or not), then a couple of months afterwards, he really changed and became so mature and responsible. Since then, he waivers from phase to phase. Thus, his diagnosis of BiPolar (BP), which is questionable and even the psychiatrists know it- we aren't 100% sure if it is true BiPolar (BP) or depression that gets to a point of difficult child losing it and basicly saying "sc**w the world".

    Thanks for your (and everyone else's) concern.