My son’s on report for fighting

My son seems to be having a bad time at school recently. He’s been on report for fighting and they are threatening him with exclusion. His father has cancelled the last three visits at the last moment and I’m sure it has everything to do with that. I think the school need to know what is happening in his life and how much it hurts and makes him angry but he totally refuses to let me go and speak with his teacher. He says it will just mean he’s picked out and it’s none of their business. What should I do?

You son has the right to be listened to and consulted, and to have some control over the choices in his life. That, after all is what some of this is about – his anger and pain at having no control over contact with his father. But equally, he needs to know that his feelings of shame and anxiety about anyone at the school knowing abut his circumstances are entirely unfounded.

If they knew, they may well offer some help in the form of anger management or counselling – and he deserves and needs both. I’m sure they’d also make some allowances and be supportive. You’re the adult; he may say he doesn’t want you to go but he can’t stop you. Discuss this with him, laying out the options and your perception of how helpful it would be. In the end, it’s your call and it sounds as if communicating with the school is far preferable to leaving them in the dark.

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