Do you have problems getting your teenager to school? You are not alone. Most teens want to cut class, avoid homework, and start adulthood early.
You may even get the occasional “my friend’s mother lets them stay home.” How do you enforce the importance of education with a child that refuses to go to school?
First, it’s the law to attend school. It’s not a choice, and you can face legal ramifications if your child doesn’t attend.
So, how do you stress the importance of schooling and keep yourself out of hot water at the same time?
How Do You Handle A Teenager That Refuses To Go To School?
As parents, you must sometimes play detective. You must find out the reasons behind why your child doesn’t want to go to school.
Are they being bullied? Are they failing in certain subjects that makes them feel embarrassed? Do they not have any friends and feel like an outcast?
All of these questions are important. For every action, there is a reaction. In most cases, you are seeing the reactive side of your child.
If someone is picking on them, then they may refute school to avoid the bullying. On the other hand, if they are failing in a subject, they may need help.
Understanding the Law
Attendance is a big issue with all school systems. If your child is cutting a few classes, they might just be “normal.” However, does he want to drop out altogether?
If so, that can be a big legal issue. Some states allow students to leave school at the age of 16. In fact, 28 states require a parent’s signature and a student can drop out of school long before it’s time.
According to the Education Commission of the States, nine states will allow a child to quit at age 17. The rest of the five states require a child to stay in school until they are 18.
Unless there are extenuating circumstances, then a teen must be in school every day. There is no legal recourse when it comes to making your child attend school.
If you refuse to sign for early release, they don’t meet the guidelines, or your state has mandated, then they must be in school.
Present the Facts To Your Child
Sometimes, teenagers need to be presented with the facts to see things. For instance, the National Center for Education Statistics shows that the average high-school dropout has an annual income of $22,860.
Compare that to the salary of someone with a high-school diploma at $29,950. Lastly, the educated college individual will average $50,000 a year.
It’s easy to see what a quality education can do to help finances in life. If a teenager is determined to skip school and wants to drop out, then you should give them with the facts.
They will end up living paycheck to paycheck and always scraping by. The difference in a good education can be driving a small economy car or a large luxury one. Put it into terms that they can understand to get your point across.
Talk To School Officials
Talk to the school staff to find out what’s going on in with your child. Just because you haven’t received a call, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem.
Your child may not fit in with others. In some cases, you need to stop worrying about what the government says about schooling and do a bit of investigative work. You are your child’s biggest advocate.
You may find that they are being bullied. If so, they are not alone. One in four students are bullied each year.
They may feel inferior because they don’t have the clothes or electronic devices of other students. Your local staff can provide you with some resources to help keep your child in school.
To get your child teen re-engaged, you may try vocational training, home-based education, or other options.
Don’t Allow Them To Be A Couch Potato
Do you remember your teen years? If you were like most, you wanted to party hard and sleep all day.
Don’t allow your children to become proverbial couch potatoes and you pay the bills.
Let them know that if they don’t want to go to school that they will get a full-time job.
In fact, many states, like Ohio, require that a student over 16 get a job to quit school. There are no free rides in this life, so they should learn that right away.
Many parents stop their teens’ idealization on quitting school when they tell them they must be able to find sustainable work for them to sign the papers.
Hitting your child with a dose of reality can do wonders for a school attendance problem.
See A Doctor
If your child has not been checked by a doctor recently, it may be time for a full workup. Many children don’t want to go to school if they don’t feel well.
Has your child been complaining of headaches, nausea, or other problems with their health? They could be suffering from anxiety.
Anxiety is very common in students of all ages. One of the first signs of an anxiety problem is refusing to go to school.
It’s definitely something that should be evaluated by a doctor. Counseling and medication can do wonders to fix this problem.
Use The Legal System
If you truly have exhausted all other options, and you want your child to stay in school, you can ask the legal system for help. Many states allow you to file unruly child charges to help.
An unruly child charge is a minor infraction that allows the court to step in and help you. It brings many programs to your aid during this difficult time.
Think of it as being proactive about your child’s truancy. It’s always better to ask for help up-front than wait until the truancy officer shows up on your door with a court order.
Schooling is not an option. It’s a mandate made by the state and federal government. Whether they are being bullied, failing classes, or have no friends, doesn’t matter to the powers that be.
All those issues can be fixed once they are in school and utilizing the support system in place. Still, as a parent, you are responsible for getting them to the school no matter how hard they fight.
Fixing A Truancy Issue
If you have problems getting your teenager to school, you are not alone in the battle. Most kids face times in their life when school is the last thing on their mind.
Rather, you should focus on finding a solution to the problem rather than giving into their whims. They may feel passionate about quitting school today, but they will eventually regret that decision.
Work with your local school and any counsellors there to resolve the issue. When all else fails, hit them with a healthy dose of reality. Tough love is often a great tool.
Being faced with the expense of living on their own and paying for it, will make a child wise up and realize how good things really are.
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