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Mina, Clinical Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 188
Experience:  Working as a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist in NHS. Experience in both children and adults
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Mina! I would like to ask if grandson refuses to go to

Resolved Question:

Hi Mina! I would like to ask if grandson refuses to go to school and his parents I feel are being made helpless due to the fact that they are afraid that if they pressure him he will act out by braking things or he threathens suicided and it scares them. They did call on him the police but I guess it did not scared him. They did have a scheduled appointment for a special school for him but he refused to go to the appointment. I feel that they should not ask but take control and get special transportation and take him to the school. My daughter tell me that the therapist told her that he cant be made to go for therapy or to the school unless he accept it and he has not "hit the bottom". I know the parents fear that he could comitt suicide since he threathens to do so or he might start breaking things in the house. The father called on him the police but the police tried to talk to him and that was that. My daughter and her husband started therapy but I do not understand that they cant take charge and make the difficult decision to have him placed whether he wants or not at this point. What do you think.? I think that keeping him at home and not having any consequences is not good. He still has his expensive bike, phone, computer and I do not know where he gets the money to buy pot. It seems a horrible situation. I worry but I do not know what else to do. I was going to help financially for the special school.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Mina replied 5 years ago.

Hello again and apologies for the delay in coming back to you.

I would need to agree with the therapist that his parents could not possibly pressurize him more in an effort to go to school. This would be most likely counter productive and could have devastating effects that are difficult to predict. In the same way he could not be made to go to therapy as this would not work. I do understand your concerns and I think that you also have a point there, that certain structures would need to be in place. If for example refuses to take on the responsibilities for his age then his parents would need to make him understand that he needs to choose how he is going to live his life and support himself. They could discuss this with him and tell him that if he refuses school then he would need for example to work and make his living. Of course all of his financial support would need to stop apart from the basics such as food and accommodation, which I would assume are already provided since he lives at home. If they are not giving him money then he may be stealing the money from them for drugs without them knowing. This needs to be addressed. Basically, he needs to be told that he can make his own decisions if he wants to but this has certain implications such as that he needs to make his own living. there should also be strict rules about not doing drugs at home.

It sounds like his parents are struggling with boundaries and I think that they are doing the right thing to see a therapist. he/she may be able to help them manage the situation and hep them to present to their son with a consistent structure and plan/strategies that they will both agree on and be on board with. This is a difficult situation and they need all the help and support they need.

Hope that helps

Please feel free to share any feedback on this. I wish you all the best


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
shouldn't they take away his phone and computer since he is not doing anything?
If he threatens suicide or start to break things what should the parents do? that is the reason that they are afraid to take away his computer or his phone? what consequenses should they impose on him if he refuses to follow on his parents request?
Expert:  Mina replied 5 years ago.
taking away his computer or phone would be considered punitive actions and most likely would not help as the message should not be "we are punishing you because you do not adhere to our rules". However, not paying for his phone for his example or his internet connection and other "luxuries" etc could be part of the message that they may need to consider giving which would be "if you do not accept to go to school and do what other adolescents your age are supposed to do, then you are going to be treated as an adult and you are responsible to find the way to make your own living". If he threatens to commit suicide when his parents try to remove some of his "luxuries" then it is most likely a manipulative way to get his own way. His parents can tell him that if he feels this way then this means that he is suffering and that they would like to help him by arranging therapy for him or even family therapy for the whole family together. If he threatens to smash things then he needs to know that he will need to find a way to pay for the damages.

It is a difficult situation because as I think you understand, these situations do not develop in one day. I would imagine that his parents have always struggled with his discipline. Therefore, they need the specialist help to understand how to start making some changes in the way they interact with him. Just a simple example that parents often ignore is not to raise your voice to your child and learn how to apply discipline without shouting, as if you shout then the message you give to your child is that the child has the power over you and to make you lose your temper. It sounds like his parents have given in to these behaviors many times so now he knows that by threatening and smashing things, he can get away with it. So they need to be calm, consistent, clear and make new arrangements with him that are based in mutual respect. If he choses not to respect these new arrangements then he needs to know that there are no other options for him if he wants to continue living at home.
I do feel that you need to encourage his parents to engage in therapy and possibly look for family therapy as this would give them the chance to communicate things more effectively between them. It would also benefit them to meet individually with a therapist to discuss about behavioral management of their son and how their attitude needs to change.

Hope that helps

All the best

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