Very few teenagers enjoy going to school; however, most realize this daily task is non-negotiable and go anyway. But what do you do if your teen refuses to go to school? Here are 6 actions you can take to improve the situation.
Get help from your village.
Help in this area comes in many forms. Work with teachers, school counselors, therapists, neighbors, and family to get your hands on expert advice, an extra set of eyes, or whatever else your community can offer to help you repair the situation.
Look for underlying issues.
Dive deeper into your teen’s point of view. One thing is clear, they don’t want to go to school. Figuring out why they don’t want to be there is crucial to helping them overcome their reasons for staying home. Bullies, peer pressure, anxiety, self-doubt, and depression are all common reasons teens dread going to school. This conversation is best had when you both are calm, relaxed, and open to talking about the issue.
Be kind, but firm.
Yelling, screaming, and threatening are common “solutions” when we can’t get our teens to do something we’ve asked them to do. They may temporarily yield the results we’re looking for, but they will never solve the problem. They actually cause more problems that bury the solution beneath a heap of self-doubt and mistrust. Though your teen is truly testing the boundaries of your patience, be kind. The more you face them with kindness, they more they will learn to trust that they can talk to you without risking your temper. That being said, kindness does not mean giving in to what they’re asking for. You can kindly say “I hear that you don’t want to go to school, but you must.”
Create clear expectations for days spent at home.
A common way to do this is by explaining your child’s responsibility to attend school. Mom and dad go to work to earn money for the family. Your teen’s job, for the time being, is to attend school. If they are home sick, it isn’t a day to watch tv and eat junk food. They must rest, eat well, and help their bodies to get better so they can go back to school. Allowing your teen to miss school, then treating them to lunch out, a day of mindless tv, and perhaps even allowing them to go to a previously scheduled after school event sends the message that school doesn’t matter. When school (their number one responsibility) is skipped, “extra” activities (phones, tv, activities, etc) will be skipped as well.
Spread the word.
When you have a plan in place for getting your teen to improve their school attendance, spread the word. Let teachers and school administrators know your plans. They can help to enforce the routine you’ve created while your teen is at school. And you can be the (kind) enforcer at home, after school.
Contact Help Your Teen Now.
We realize that there are parents out there who’ve tried all of this, and then some, and they still can’t seem to help their teen choose to attend school. Even when harsh discipline is applied, teens can be stubborn and unwilling to cooperate. This inability to get through to a child leaves the parent feeling hopeless and worried. At Help Your Teen Now, we work with parents who are looking to place their teen in a residential treatment center for behavior modification, grade repair, emotional help, and therapeutic interventions. If you feel your teen may be in need of a bit more help than you, as the parent, can offer them, please call us.