I have 3 boys with my ex wife, they all moved 3 hours away in 2013.
2 of the boys have grown up, and working etc
The youngest a 14 year old refuses to go to school or is constantly late.
His mum struggles with him, can’t physically force him, he has threatened to call the police if he is touched.
Today I received a letter from school saying they will be issuing fines of f there is anymore absence from school (he refused and didn’t go in last Thursday so I am told)
I have tried speaking to him on numerous occasions, so much so that he doesn’t want to come over at weekends anymore.
As mentioned I live 3 hours away, so can’t do a lot (he won’t speak to me on the phone) I’m the mornings he decides not to go to school, but I can be fined £120 by his school….
His mum is at the end of her tether, on the verge of a breakdown, the school have been little help. I have spoken to social services, who just disappear into thin air when it suits them (numerous phone calls, emails etc) we can’t seem to get anywhere.
Does anyone have any suggestions, I can’t be sure he will even do a full week next week at school…
Have you discussed the situation with the school? Do they know the home circumstances? Fines aren't going to solve the situation so the next stage is taking the parents to court. The court can make a parenting order but thats the last resort. Try speaking to school and seeing they can offer counselling or any other solution. Your son isn't the first refusing to go to school
We have spoken to the school numerous times, a lot is resolved in the meetings, but there is no follow up or anything that was discussed in the meetings put in place.
It’s all so frustrating and we feel we have been cornered here.
We have been referred to a company CAMHS and MASH but just can’t get hold of them or understand what they can offer here.
If he doesn’t (decides not to) go into school on Monday, we will be fined, this is something I can’t avoid as I live 3 hours away, I just can’t get there to sort things out.
This is now having a hard he implication on our lives with a severely disabled son that lives with me (my step son) and we have no idea where to go from here.
All the help, just doesn’t really exist, and the fines will now start 🤦♂️
There is a drastic option, pull him out of school and home school him. A lot of schools have a home schooling policy. Can look into that. But if he doesn't want to study at all, not sure what authorities can do about that.
More info https://www.gov.uk/home-education
@champagne I have discussed it with the school, but as I am a parent, albeit living 3 hours away, I am still responsible for his attendance.
He has had counselling, but that stopped, he is on the list again, despite chasing it up, we are getting nowhere.
@bill337 Home schooling isn’t an option, his mother needs to work, so can’t home school
I personally don’t think it would work as he is so defiant with little to no interest in education.
Thank you for sharing, about what reads as a very difficult and stressful situation for you all. Your son is at a crucial age of 14, hormones flying round, he will be discovering his identity and having to negotiate complicated emotions. Getting back to basics, would it work if you and your son met somewhere in a neutral place to see if he will open up about why he dislikes school so much? It reads to me like he is having trouble communicating how he may really feel, and this is coming out in the behaviour he is exhibiting at the moment. Is he being bullied at school? It is very hard when our children don't open up to us. Does he have someone in his life he could trust to open up too?
Is he still upset because you are no longer with his Mum? Has he feelings of anger about this? Separation can be especially hard on the younger siblings, especially as his brothers are already working and getting on with their lives.
I read that you mentioned CAHMS - they offer counselling and support for children and adolescents who are struggling with their mental health. They are definitely worth pursuing so keep persevering.Perhaps it may be worth a visit to your sons GP to get his CAHMS referral down as urgent. It also reads that your ex partner needs some support herself in coping with your son. This something that perhaps she should be persuaded to do, as it will help her to remain strong during days when your son is not coping.
I would advise another urgent call with the school and tell them of your situation now. Is there a way they could have him in school part time to begin with and build him up again to full time hours?
Apologies for all the questions, but sometimes it helps to create a bigger picture and to pursue another angle on things you may not have thought of. Keep us informed and I wish you all the best,
Fegans Parent Support Volunteer
@bobsp If the school doesn't follow up on an agreed plan then you could try talking to the Chairman of the Governors. You could also try the Education Authority. There will be a member of the County Council with responsibility for education - you can find them online.
I am sorry to hear about the struggles you are facing with your son. I just want to echo some of the good suggestions offered in earlier posts.
The school does have a responsibility to work with you to carry out the plans you have tried to put in place. Do keep pushing here, and if you are not getting traction, you could look at the school complaints policy to see what your next steps are - as others have suggested, this might include contacting the governors and / or the local authority to explain your position. In terms of solutions, looking at the possibility of a reduced time-table might help initially, to get your son back into school, as will pressing the school to demonstrate that they are doing all they can to support your son (pastoral care, support with any friendship issues, identifying and addressing any additional needs which may be making studying a struggle, some tutoring support to help catch up with work missed so that it is not a barrier to coming in etc). Not knowing your local area, and this is a more drastic option, it may or may not be possible to look at moving schools if you think that might make a difference, but it would be important to involve your son early on in any such discussions.
It must be hard for you if your son is saying he does not want to see you at weekends, but please don't give up. Make sure he knows you simply want to spend time with him because you love him, not just to nag him about school. Meeting in a neutral location is a good idea, and f you cannot see him in person, do persist with other means of keeping in touch - Facetime calls, messages etc. How is his relationship with his older brothers? If he looks up to them, might they be able to help in some way to get alongside your son to see what might be troubling him or to understand the reasons for his school refusals? Counselling is really worth pursuing, and some areas have local mentoring schemes, to support young people.
You clearly care deeply about your son, and are working hard to get the best outcomes for him. I do hope you start to make some progress, no matter how small. Make sure you take time to look after yourself too.
Fegan's Parent Support
@caravan His mum has just messaged me to let me know there is a meeting at school next week to go through a support plan.
He was only 9 months when we separated, so never knew us together, but he has said he is jealous of his younger brother (my son with my fiancée) as he thinks he gets more.
That may look like it as we live together, but it’s not the case as I have explained numerous times, and discussed this with his mother.
That's good to hear about the meeting with the school. I hope it is helpful for all of you. Do write a list of the things you want to cover and take it with you to the meeting - it's so easy to get caught up in the discussion and forget some of the things you wanted to cover.
It's also good to see that your son is able to articulate some of what he is feeling with respect to your relationship with him. Even if it might not tally with the facts of how things are, you can acknowledge how he is feeling and encourage him to tell you what he would like to do when you have time together. It doesn't have to be expensive - anything which allows you to spend 1-1 time together. It may well require further patience on your part, but hang in there because you are laying really important foundations for when he does want to share more with you. As others have said, it's a roller-coaster time for him at his age, and although he may not be able to express it clearly, having loving and consistent support from both you and his Mum through these challenges is important. You are doing your best for him.
I hope the meeting goes well next week.