“I can’t bear to see my son unhappy”

My son is in his early teens. Since starting at secondary school he has not settled as I thought he would, he says he doesn’t like it and he wants to move. He’s had a lot of time off because of death and illness in the family. Also he has a medical condition and has just recently had surgery for a second problem. I have spoken to the consultant about his fears but they just advised counselling, which I don’t think is the sensible answer to this and he doesn’t think so either. I’m a nurse and I’m very supportive of him but I feel mentally drained by all of this. I just want him to be happy at school and thrive. What do you suggest? Mary

Denise says:

I completely understand your anguish at his unhappiness, but changing schools is quite an upheaval and you need to be sure it’s the right move before you do it. First, I would make sure there are no bullying issues. I’d then talk to his teacher about whether the time he has had to take off has caused him to fall behind. This can make a child really unhappy as they constantly strive to catch up. If there are no work issues I’d then ask the school to refer him to an Educational Psychologist. If he or she suggests a change of school their report will help the process no end. I did this with one of my sons. If they don’t want to do this you need to go past them to the Director of Education and this is where you have to be brave and determined to win through. I think it would also help to contact Young Minds (youngminds.org.uk, 0808 802 5544) as they are experts on all the psychological problems facing young people. And don’t despair. I had to change schools, so did one of my sons and we came through unscathed. But do make sure there isn’t an easier solution first.

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