Many of us may have had days where we didn’t want to go with school or deal with a project for science class. We still went to school, attended classes, and eventually caught up on assignments.
If your teen doesn’t care about school at all, refuses to attend classes, refuses to study, and would rather spend his days playing video games or goofing off, what steps can you take?
It’s hard enough to get a teen to brush his teeth and tidy up his bedroom some days. Getting him to be accountable for his education can feel like an impossible challenge.
There are several approaches to take. The approach that you select will depend largely on the dynamics of your family. Use our tips when you have teens who don’t care about school!
Find out why they don’t care about school
Your first step should be to find out whether your teen is struggling with the idea of school because there is a factor that you’re not aware of. This factor could include them being nervous about bullies at school, struggling with their workload, or something else entirely.
Some teens struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns may find it difficult to care about school and education. While this is an expected side effect of their mental health struggles, it can also be addressed.
Keep in mind that while there may be something about school that is making it a source of discomfort for your teen, it could also be that his reluctance to care about his education has nothing to do with school itself.
Is mental wellness is a concern?
If your teen is struggling with caring about school, there are good odds of struggling to care about other things in his life.
Perhaps he no longer cares about sports or spending time with friends?
Getting your teen therapy solutions that can address each of his mental health concerns can help to get him back on track in all ways.
Considering home school options
Home school is not the right choice for teens who are just mentally checked out of caring about their education. It can potentially be a good option for a teen who has been struggling with issues specific to his school, peers, and teachers. Sometimes, removing him from the situation causing him stress can help a teen refocus his schoolwork efforts.
Some autonomy will be needed, but your teen will need your guidance to help keep him focused and on track.
Your teen may benefit from additional tutoring if he struggles with his schoolwork. Tutors can be found through his school, home school resources, and even locally via college students or teachers looking to each extra income. The more help you offer your teen, the better he will find himself feeling comfortable with the materials he is learning.
Therapeutic boarding school is another option for teens that don’t care about schooling.
Set boundaries and establish a new schedule
Teens are known for pushing boundaries parents establish. This often means that parents need to either reevaluate the boundaries they’ve set or continue to push back harder when their teens push.
It could be that previously established boundaries are no longer a good option for your teen. As your child grows, so should your boundaries and household rules.
Is your teen is being held to a higher level than what he can keep up with today?
It could be that he no longer is interested in playing soccer and taking part in the chess club. They could be leading him to feel overwhelmed to the point where he checks out completely.
Sit down with your teen to evaluate his schedule and determine whether he still needs to keep up with such a heavy schedule. This will allow you to better set boundaries for him that work with his ability to keep up.
Along with changing boundaries comes a new schedule that will better address his needs. Whether he’s remote learning or attending classes in person, your teen should be getting up at a predetermined time and sticking to a schedule that supports the demands of his school schedule.
His afterschool schedule should be structured to help him focus on his assignments. He should also have a comfortable and distraction-free space that will allow him to focus and get things done.
When video games are a concern
Teens and video games almost seem made for each other. That said, despite your teen’s love for video games, there also comes a time when you need to step in and limit his time playing games.
For some teens, their gaming time is a large part of their social interaction, making it difficult for a parent to put restrictions in place. However, if these online social interactions are causing issues with your teen’s ability to focus on his education, changes need to happen.
How do you accomplish these changes?
- Be prepared for your teen to push back, argue, and possibly get emotional when you start to place restrictions on his gaming time.
- Establish hours of the day for gaming, only if his schoolwork is done and his chores are taken care of. This could be an hour every evening, or it could be not at all during the week. A teen who has struggled extensively with finding it hard to put the controller down may not be able to limit himself to just an hour a day. It can be better to simply go cold turkey in these situations, with gaming time restricted to the weekends.
- Remove the gaming console altogether. This is unlikely to be a welcomed action, but it may be the better choice for some teens who will find a way to keep playing without your knowledge.
- Maintain a strict schedule and chore chart that allows your teen to understand what is expected from him and how he can potentially earn back gaming time.
Parenting a teen who doesn’t care about his school or education can be challenging. Focusing on finding out what is responsible for his lack of interest and helping to get him back on track could be the right option for your teen.
You may need to take what he considers to be harsh steps while establishing boundaries but reassure your teen and yourself that it is in his best interests. We all need an education, even if we don’t see how learning about Shakespeare can help us in the future.