Maryna | 2011/05/24
17-year-old refuses to attend school
Dear Mr. Crighton My daughter has been refusing to go to school the last two weeks and wants to stay at home and school herself. I do need to give you background so you understand where this comes from. Whenever she is not coping with her emotions she wants to change schools and we have in the past unfortunately looked for an alternative school but each time it is the same. I do not want to make the same mistake again and am trying to make her understand that you cannot run away from a problem and it will just keep happening over and over till you have to deal with it. I think she was overwhelmed this time because we struggled to find her a school and eventually one of our close high schools said they could assist her but not on the English side but changing to Afrikaans first language. We didn't think it would be too bad as I am Afrikaans and we speak it fluently at home and she enjoyed the Afrikaans though challenging but with this said her father has shown absolutely no interest in the new school or how she is doing we have been divorced since she was about 2 and he has been more off than on in her life. They also had a huge fallout when after all the years of him lying to her she spoke up and told him that he must just tell the truth it is the lies that hurts most. He subsequently has 'disowned' her and I have become the horrible mother because I did not teach his child to respect him. This has absolutely devastated her and I think with all this put together she just plainly became overwhelmed? How do I handle this how can I motivate her to go back and bite the bullet so to speak? (The fact she wants to be home alone really concerns me as she is normally a very social and bubbly person.)
Not wanting to go to school is just a symptom of a whole lot of other issues and traumas that she is dealing with. My recommendation is that you get her into some sort of counselling or therapy to start addressing these emotional concerns. You will find that if she is empowered in that forum then she may well be more positive about schooling, and will be more motivated to complete her schooling. At 17, she must be close to finished with secondary schooling, so perhaps you could take her for a career assessment, to get her thinking ahead, and start putting in place plans for her future. I would also suggest you make contact with the school and find out what it is that is causing her to want to be there, and perhaps get the school psychologist/counsellor to help on that side.
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