a resource for parents
This time last year we were sprialling downhill and I am afraid we are in the same position.
My son is trying to do his final year of schooling and is really struggling to attend. It isn't even at a school anymore.
I think he has been so worn down to believe he can't achieve something by everyone being so focused on school, that he finds himself with goals too high and then unable to meet them, and then the slightest feeling of angst and he goes into avoidance mode.
Some might argue that is why kids have to be forced to attend school when school refusal hits but I have yet to come across a parent who was actually able to force their distressed child to keep going to school. There appears to be other elements at play and this is the level of anxiety in some of these kids, the level of depression that accompanies it and also the means by which the parent can call upon others to assist and the willingness of schools to be flexible. So this, I believe, means the supposed assistance and attitude to school refusers and their parents has to change.
And I guess this is why I keep emphasising to everyone to not let the self esteem fall when school refusal hits. Their view of themselves can take a real knocking because society puts so much emphasis on attending school and both student and parent (s) are made to feel they have somehow failed.
My son right now looks defeated. He wanted to prove to himself he could do this. I was worried as to me that was a big goal.
I sometimes think he needed other young or older male family members to mentor him...take him out...make him feel ok.
Perhaps all school refusers need a mentor outside of family? I am not quite sure why a parent can't be that person but perhaps because we have been made to feel guilty that we end up depressed too. I know I have. And perhaps all teenagers need that breathing space.
We lost most of the males in our family and so finding a mentor didn't exactly happen.
I think as parents, even if we think we are not judgemental, we do have that look on our face of 'I hope you go today' and even if we try hard when they refuse, not to say anything...we don't behave in a happy way...why would we! But it means they constantly see us looking down...so someone outside of family might be the answer.
There are some 'Big brother/sister' programs for kids going off the rails...perhaps we need that for school refusal too?
What do others think?
Meanwhile we are back to doctor and psychologist visits and stress in the household. I was told to just get on with my life, but how can one do that when there is a depressed soul in the house, and that depressed soul is our child who we have watched suffer for far too long.
Surely there are more options than forcing our kids to school...or making not having done that seem like failure. Schools, professionals and some family have all been judgemental and it didn't get us anywhere!!
Sorry...just feeling pretty flat at the moment as I don't know what happens to school refusers when they do reach this final year and again can't do it, but also have no confidence to get a job. It is a vulnerable age to be depressed.
I hope you are all hanging in there...
Replying to myself this time round!
Just to say that I guess the difference between a 12 or 13 year old not able to attend school and my son as an 18 year old trying to attend is although he gets depressed sometimes,he doesn't break down if he can't go and ...he went to class today! So although I still get frustrated with what feels like an ongoing situation, it is not the same as it was years ago. So please all do have hope that it does get better or at least with support, those small steps forward do continue, And I still think having a mentor or Big brother/sister program could help. In the meantime, we all do the best we can!