Tips for When Your Teen Doesn’t Want to Go to School

by on September 26, 2010

in School Days

Teens can be full of drama and angst, and that is often just part of being a teen. However, when that affects their education, it is important for you to step in. So, what do you do when your teenager does not want to go to school?

Most parents get frustrated and either try to force the kid to school, or will yell, or threaten to get them out the door and on the bus, or into the classroom. This is not a good idea. This may treat the symptom, but not the cause, which means you will get a repeat of the problem.

Instead, employ the following three steps:

Step one: Find out why your teenager doesn’t want to be at school. If you ask them, they may start out with something like, “Because, school is dumb.” Instead of dumb, they might say pointless, or any other variable of the two terms. As a parent these non-answer answers can be frustrating, but you must persevere. Ask about their previous day, ask about their friends, ask about their classes and schoolwork. Eventually you will hit on the topic that leads to why they don’t want to be at school.

Too many pressures on your teen can stress her out.Too many pressures on your teen can stress her out.

Generally it is for a couple of reasons, one it has something to do with their friends. Teens are often mean to each other, and if your child is feeling embarrassed, singled out, or picked on, they may choose to solve the problem by avoidance. Two, it has something to do with someone that is a love interest. It could be as simple as they have a zit on their chin, and are too embarrassed to be seen at school with it because the girl/guy they like is there. Three, it usually has something to do with academics. If your child did not study for a test, if they didn’t do their homework, if they don’t understand the material, feel stupid, etc. they may want to skip school.

You can’t solve the problem if you don’t identify it.

Step two: Give them options. Teens want to be responsible and make their own choices, so here is the time to let them. Make staying home not an option. Give them choices like, 1. You can go to school as you should. 2. I can go to school with you. 3. I can write you a note to miss, but you will spend the day doing math homework, and cleaning the attic. You get the idea, make going to school of their own volition the most attractive offer.

Step three: Help them overcome problems. Yes, you are kind of forcing them to go to school. You might let them miss once, and write a note, but it has to be on the condition that they don’t let it happen again. For example, if they had a football game the night before so they did not finish their homework, you will make allowances once, but in the future they need to be better prepared. However, the best thing to do is hit at the root of the problem. Help them work it out with friends, buy them face wash, or whatever you need to do to rid them of the problem.

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