A shout out to all the parents whose kids are having a tough time getting to, or staying at school.
When school is going well, it can be a great source of happiness and connection.
When it’s not, it can a huge source of stress for the whole family.
If your little people are having a tough time with school, I’m sending encouragement to be extra
gentle with yourself, especially if you’re already being subjected to patronising ‘pearls’ of wisdom
“They’ll be fine once they get there..”
“They’re trying to manipulate you, you just have to make them go…”
“If you don’t get them there today, it’s going to be even harder tomorrow…”
(I’m sure there are many more to add to the list).
For many of the parents I support, school can be a huge source of stress and overwhelm.
Getting through the gates doesn’t always bring relief.
Many parents talk to me about being on edge all day, waiting for the phone call to say that there
has been an incident or that they need to pick their child up.
And even when the call doesn’t come, parents talk about bracing themselves for what may be
waiting for them at the end of the day, when their kids are exhausted from trying to hold it
Now I know that most of you know already, but I also know that labels like
‘school refuser’, ‘school avoider’ and ‘challenging behaviours’, weigh heavy on the hearts of both
parents and kids alike.
So just a reminder:
Your kids aren’t refusing to learn. And they’re not deliberately being difficult.
Their nervous system is responding to cues of threat or danger in the environment.
Just like it’s supposed to.
Your kids’ nervous system is upholding their personal right to feel safe and secure.
It doesn’t matter how many times teachers or health professionals say school is ok.
The nervous system doesn’t lie.
And until the regulation needs are met, until enough cues of safety are received, your child’s
nervous system will continue to do its best to try and protect them.
Some schools are great at recognising this and responding to the regulation needs of kids with
disabilities. Others not so much.
I’m not saying that it’s possible to meet every child’s needs all the time.
I’m also not saying it’s not possible for kids to connect with strategies to strengthen cues of
safety and develop capacity to navigate school.
But the bottom line is that kids can’t learn and grow when they don’t feel safe.
So, when you find yourself in conversations about how to ‘get’ your child to stop ‘refusing’
school try some of these:
*What do we need, to feel confident that my child can uphold their right to feel safe and secure at
*How can the school support my my child to uphold their right to feel safe and secure in the
*How can our health professionals support my child to uphold their right to feel safe and secure
in the school environment?
*How will this system work together to uphold my child’s right to feel safe and secure in the
And remember, It’s ok to do school at the pace that is right for you and your child.
It’s ok to do school in the way that is right for you and your child.
It’s ok to expect that your child’s right to feel safe and secure is upheld.
Are you a Mum raising a child with a disability?
Feel free to join my private Facebook community Mums Matter
Or, for information about supports offered via Create Vitality head to: