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Why Does My Child Refuse To Go To School?

I wake up in the morning feeling anxious, worrying "is she going to go to school today?".

Can you relate? For me this went on for so long I don't even remember but if I was to guess it was weeks as Ruby hadn't done a full week at school since January!

Why you ask? Join the queue! I can't tell you exactly why but she always had many excuses followed with many stories, in the end it was so hard to tell when she was genuinely sick and what was bullshit!

All I kept thinking is why would she do this to me? Am I doing something wrong? Why can't she just go to school? All these questions but no answers, I was getting frustrated, Ruby was getting emotional, it wasn't a great experience for us both.

It got to the point where I was dreading the mornings, anxious for what was ahead... wondering if we were gunna have a screaming match and saying hurtful things to each other coz I really didn't have the energy. Some mornings I actually begged her, fuck I even black mailed her with TOYS and still it did not work!

See I could threaten her the lot it did not make a blind bit of difference coz once she had it in her head "I don't want to go to school" nothing on earth would change her mind.

So here I am pulling my hair out, her teacher worrying what's going on? We set up a meeting with Ruby present and she admitted "sometimes I just want to stay at home with mummy". This is a knock on effect from lockdown, but we did manage to come to an agreement and her teacher even put in place a reward chart for her at school which was encouraging... but come Monday she was back to refusing to go, so here we were again having a screaming match in the morning! Same old shit just a different day, right...

But then we had a breakthrough and believe it or not it was me pretending to be on the phone to my mum and stepdad that made her listen, threatening if she didn't go to school they would come round and take her. No I didn't like to threaten her like this but it WORKED! So I suppose in some cases tough love really does work!

Now months down the line to this day (30th June 2022) she is on her second full week of attending school and I couldn't be prouder. Especially when her best friend is on holiday so she has had to go in on her own and that is a massive achievement so her teacher rewarded her with a certificate. I can see her confidence growing everyday and I hope it continues.


My youngest boy Logan wasn't bullied as such but an incident did happen outside of school by who he thought were his friends but he was wrong. They were all playing around with a lighter and well Logan got a punch in face to the point where his top lip was so swollen he looked like a duck when he walked through the front door!

I was horrified, angry, upset and guilty coz I wasn't there to protect him. Someone hurt my baby and that is NOT ok! But coz it wasn't on school premises it was in the woods out of school hours the school didn't give a shit! Their answer was to put all the boys in the same room to talk it out? WTF!

So with that and well the school had let him down not picking up on his dyslexia, he was so far behind. I took him out of school and he was home schooled coz he didn't trust people and he still doesn't to this day. I wanted to call the police coz it was outside of school but Logan didn't let me coz he didn't want to be a snitch so unfortunately I had to respect his decision.

In My Opinion

I honestly don't think schools have an adequate process of what should happen in various events of bullying. For one... the parents of both parties should be notified of the situation coz if it was my child I would want to know, be it the bully or the victim I as the parent would take the appropriate action as should the school and be in agreement.

I don't get those parents that always say "My son/daughter would never do that, I know them!". We don't know anyone inside out not even ourselves so please don't be one of these parents coz it's just teaching your child they can never do anything wrong.

So if your child is acting out or not wanting to go to school then maybe this is the reason? You do have support out there and don't forget our Facebook group which is a safe space to share your story and get support from other mums that have been though it or are still going through it like you. You are never alone so don't be scared to reach out!

Why Your Child May Not Want To Go To School?

Well the first and most obvious reason would be they are not happy at school and that can be for various reasons:

  • Your child could be being bullied

  • Your child may find the work too hard (maybe an underlining issue like dyslexia

  • Your child may find it too hard to make friends in which case they need a buddy

  • They may have separation anxiety

How To Get your Child To School

Well this would be different for everyone coz not every child is the same so there's no right way or wrong way but this is what's worked for me and Ruby:

  1. Firstly you need to find out why? You need to have a conversation with your child in case it is another child at school that needs to be dealt with and just find out how they feel to get them to open up.

  2. Maybe try getting your child to bed at a good time and on a good note. FYI Ruby has never been that kid that goes to bed at 7pm, it's so hard to get her to chill in the evenings especially in the summer months when it's still light at 10pm! Do the best you can, maybe establish a bedtime routine, bath and then read a book together?

  3. Wake your child up at least an hour before you leave for school and encourage them to eat and maybe try some morning yoga like cosmic yoga for kids or even some positive affirmations?

  4. If your child refuses then call for backup or pretend like I did!

  5. Tell them if they go to school they will be rewarded. Agree on what the reward will be and then after being at school for a week they get their reward. Maybe use a reward chart if they are at that age as I don't think your teen would like it.

  6. In extreme cases set up a meeting with the school and your child's teacher to get them on side and finding out why your child is not happy and then setting up a reward chart and maybe even a certificate.


Ultimately it really does help if you have a supportive and accommodating school and class teacher. Ruby's has been amazing both with her dyslexia and making sure she is happy at school, encouraging her to go everyday and putting things in place to support her.

Their are so many parents going through this each and everyday, just know you are not alone and I do think with some of the kids lockdown didn't help as the kids were so confused and got into a routine of being at home everyday so this has had a substantial impact on our kids that we now need to make right.

That’s all from me today, until next week...

Remember to Keep Smiling & Laugh a little Every day!

Your Mental Mum...

If you would like to join The Mental Mum Community were you can find mental health and mum life support, helpful advice and learn something new, we would love to have you!

Ps, Does your child not like going to school? Has your child experienced bullying? Share with us your story.

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