It’s fall, and that means most kids are getting ready to go back to school, packing up their back packs and picking out outfits, wondering if any of their friends will be in their classes. But what do you do if your teen is refusing to go back to school or has dropped out of school?
While there may be extenuating circumstances, most teens that drop out of school do not have any other plans. In fact, you may be extremely aggravated at your teen for lying around all day, playing video games and not taking life seriously. If your teen has dropped out of school, as parents, you need to send a tough message.
The Key is Communication
The first thing you need to do with your teen is open the lines of communication. Find out if there is some underlying reason why your teen has dropped out. Is the schoolwork too hard? Does your teen feel like he or she cannot succeed? Is the schoolwork too easy or not challenging enough? Is your teen feeling isolated or out of place in school?
Depending on your teen’s reasons, you can do things to help. If the schoolwork is too difficult, hire a tutor or enlist the help of the school. If the classes are not challenging your teen, talk to the school counselor about getting your teen into classes that are more appropriately challenging, or look at the possibility of enrolling your teen at a local community college.
Seek Help When Needed
If the reasons are not academically related, your challenge as a parent may be more difficult. You may have to work through some emotional issues with your teen. Perhaps your teen had a bad experience with a peer or a teacher. If your teen has had a bad experience, you can help. It is not a good idea to let him or her run away; this is your opportunity to help your teen learn to handle difficult experiences with maturity, working through emotional conflict and confronting issues. Seeking the assistance of a counselor or psychologist may be beneficial.
Make School the Best Choice
If your teen is refusing to go to school, make it less comfortable to be at home. Cancel cable; put a password on the computer to prevent your teen from accessing the Internet; suspend the service on your teen’s cell phone; pack up the video games. Let your teen know that just like you have a job you have to do in order to put a roof over his or her head and food on the table, your teen has a job, too, and his or her job is to go to school and learn and become a contributing member of society. Stand firm and be clear with your teen the choice is his or hers to make, but that every choice has consequences.