Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

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She won't go to school...

My 16-year-old daughter will not go to school. I ordered and read your online book last night. She came to me this morning and told me she would not be going to school tomorrow and I told her I would not argue with her about it anymore. If she didn't go to school tomorrow, she would not be able to talk on the phone or use the computer to communicate with anyone. She said fine. I told her the three-day restriction would continue every three days until she goes to school. My only fear is that I am going to get in trouble for not sending her to school. Do you think she will finally give in? She is a very strong-willed child. She has been diagnosed with ODD, OCD, ADHD and is supposed to be taking anti-depressants. She refuses to take any medication. Give me your thoughts, please. T.W.


Hi T.,

Re: getting her to take her meds. Pick your battles carefully. I would let go of this one. If she were bipolar, she wouldn’t be able to neglect her meds, but with odd/ocd/adhd, she will probably be all right without meds (although her psychiatrist would shoot me for saying this).

Re: school attendance. Let her know that she is grounded for 3 days with no privileges – BUT -- the clock does not start until she goes to school. Also, you may want to go to your local juvenile probation department and let them know that she refuses to go to school (this will cover you from a legal standpoint).

Going to school usually is an exciting, enjoyable event for teens. But for some it brings intense fear or panic. Parents should be concerned if their child regularly complains about feeling sick or asks to stay home from school with minor physical complaints. These children may suffer from a paralyzing fear of leaving the safety of their parents and home. The child's panic and refusal to go to school is very difficult for parents to cope with, but these fears and behavior can be treated successfully, with professional help.

Teens who refuse to go to school usually:

· feel that others see them in a negative way

· become unduly self-conscious and avoid social situations in which they fear others may criticize them or make fun of them behind their back

· have negative and troublesome relationships with their peers

· get teased by mischievous children or harassed by a bully

· are reluctant to go to school because of an appearance and self-esteem problem, or social "image" problem prompted by a school rumor or being let down by a friend

· are depressed and experience significant difficulty in getting up and getting out of bed in the morning.

Don't make staying home more rewarding than going to school. Eliminate or reduce all incentives for staying home. Also, attach rewards and incentives to going to school and staying there throughout the school hours.

Having investigated the possible causes and offered your support as a parent, you may have to "push" your child out to school. You may have to learn to ignore the tantrums, complaints, and the pleading to "let me stay home just for today."


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