14 year old refuses to go to school & I personally can't make him

Dawn - posted on 10/13/2014 ( 5 moms have responded )

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Please help! Story: 14 yo son. Aspergers. He refuses to go to school. I believe he just wants to hang out and go online or his x-box. I take these things away all the time. I currently have the xbox and he can't get it. All therapies, etc... have been ineffective. He never wants to go or speak to these people. He has missed so much school. He's 9" taller than me and would have no problem getting physical. I know he is not on drugs, etc.. He rarely leaves the house. I have contacted the school several times. They told me they could help me find a tutor (?!?) He gets F's and A's. He either does the work or he doesn't. His father is ineffectual and of no help. We have been divorced for 6 years. I am trying anything and everything to get him to go to school. I can't find any help. Does anyone have any advice? Thank you

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Guest - posted on 10/14/2014

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Stop giving the xbox back. Once my kid loses a toy twice, it's gone. If he knows he can always get it back by agreeing to do homework for you, taking it away won't bother him because he knows he'll have it back soon.

Also, don't discount the feeling bullied thing too quickly. Kids are often very ashamed of being bullied and will do everything they can to hide it. No one may be actively bullying him, but he could still feel ostracized and bullied if the other kids perceive him as "different" or "weird."

Lastly, I didn't notice that you said he had Aspergers. Children with Aspergers find the social demands of school extremely difficult and demanding! It is no wonder he hates going to school, and the Aspergers is probably the root of the reason. People with Aspergers interact with people much more easily online or through other forms of digital media (texts and chat rooms as opposed to phone calls, for example) because they don't have to worry about eye contact, interrupting others, speaking too loudly or too softly, etc. Thus, Aspergers students usually do much better with online school than with traditional classes where they are forced to interact with so many other people for so long.

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Dawn - posted on 10/14/2014

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Thank you for your comment. I take the xbox away & then we make a deal, i.e., you can play 2 hours a night after homework. This lasted 2 days. I know he is not being bullied. As far as being bored at school, yes that is something I should check into further. I have addressed all these things with the school, but got nowhere. As of today, he has been out of school five days straight (now about 20+ days). I will continue to search.
Thank you again,

Guest - posted on 10/13/2014

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You have to figure out WHY he is refusing school before you can find a solution to get him there. At his age and size, I doubt you are going to get him to go unless he wants to.

One thing I didn't understand in your original post was that you said you take the xbox and computer away "all the time." If you take them away, how is he getting them back? I could see taking them away once and letting him earn them back, but if he lost them a second time, I think I would have put them in a pawn shop where he could earn money to buy them back before they sold.

That said, if he is avoiding school because of social, emotional, or psychological problems, you can take away everything he has and he still won't go to school for you. You have to address those problems specifically.

Online school could be an option if he is feeling bullied, or if he is feeling "trapped in" and bored at school. Several of my friends children who sound very much like your son--refused to go to school, rarely did the work, but when they did they got all A's--were simply bored out of their minds at school and needed to move at their own pace--moving ahead quicker in areas where they excel and moving more slowly in areas where they struggle. The feeling of independence they get from being responsible for their own time management and work gives them a big boost in motivation. They were proving something, so they were motivated. It isn't for everyone, but it IS worth looking into, as you can't say you've tried "everything" until you actually have tried it all.

If he is being bullied, that should also be addressed separately. It should be addressed by the school even if you pull him out and transfer him to a new school.

Dawn - posted on 10/13/2014

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From the little I understand about home/online school, the kid has to have a little motivation. My son is only motivated for xbox and online (and unseen) friends. I have been dealing with this and a zillion other issues of his/ours for about 6 years. Thank you for your comment. I really appreciate it!

Dove - posted on 10/13/2014

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Is online/home school an option? At least that way he could still be getting an education while you try and sort out the other issues.

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