Reasons teens may stop going to schoolThere are several reasons that your teen may have decided to skip classes or skip going to school completely. While motivations can vary between individuals, some common causes may apply to your teen.
- Bullying or feeling unsafe at school
- Peer pressures and influences
- Falling out with friends or romantic partners
- Substance abuse
- Struggling to keep up with the school workload
- Learning disabilities, diagnosed or undiagnosed
- Changes in their circumstances
Bullying or feeling unsafe at schoolStudies have shown that at least 1 in 5 students has reported being bullied at school. Your teen may not be open with you about what he is experiencing at school, so you won’t know there is a concern until he’s outright refusing to go to school. Understandably, your teen doesn’t want to attend a school where he doesn’t feel safe. If his teachers and school counselors haven’t done enough to protect him, he may have too much anxiety about going to school and being harmed.
Peer pressures and influencesTeens are often heavily influenced by their peers. This may be due to wanting to feel like they belong. Sometimes peer pressure and influences take a positive spin, but often, they do not. Your teen’s peers may encourage him to skip out on classes or ditch school entirely. They may choose to engage in vandalism, petty theft, smoking, drinking, or using and abusing drugs. It’s essential to know your teen’s friends, especially if he starts to change the people around him.
Falling out with friends or romantic partnersYour teen’s friends and romantic partners play an important role in their life. If they have had a falling out or a bad breakup, your teen may not feel much like going to school. Parents should be aware of some of the signs of depression, as even a breakup between friends can hold the potential for seeing a teen spiral into depression.
Substance abuseAnyone who has abused drugs and alcohol can tell you that substance abuse becomes the focal point of their day-to-day life. For a teen, the same holds. Your teen may prefer to spend his days abusing his substance of choice, or he may be so entirely under the influence that he’s unable to get up in the morning or stay awake at school. Parents should learn to identify the signs of substance abuse in teens.
Struggling to keep up with the school workloadIt’s a reason as old as education itself. Your teen may not have completed his homework assignments on time or may not yet have completed an important project. Of course, he won’t want to go to school if he’s not only falling behind but struggling to catch up and keep up. What can you do to help him with these types of difficulties? Get in touch with his school counselor and teacher. They are often more than willing to help students get caught up or offer an adjusted schedule so teens can better cope. In some situations, however, it’s best to remove struggling teens from that educational environment entirely so they can be placed in a different type of learning space, such as a boarding school that can focus on helping them find his motivation to learn.
Learning disabilities, whether diagnosed or undiagnosedAttention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are just two learning difficulties that teens could be faced with. Your teen may also have dyslexia or have another learning disability that hasn’t been diagnosed and addressed. These concerns can lead him to feel embarrassed that he’s falling behind. It can also sometimes lead a teen down the road of following that negative peer pressure to avoid spending time in school.
Changes in their personal circumstancesThe teen years can be tumultuous at the best of times. If your teen’s life has seen some significant shifts, it may lead him to be reluctant to go to school. Perhaps there’s been a divorce, or parents have remarried? A move to a new home and a new school can also prove disruptive. Parents should be aware of how major life changes can impact their teens and be willing to offer the correct type of support if their teen appears to be struggling.
Potential legal ramifications for parentsLaws can vary between city, county, and state. But the reality is that parents are responsible for getting their children and teens to attend school. There is the potential for parents to face some serious legal ramifications if their teens are not attending school. Some of these legal concerns could include the following.
- Fines through the court system
- Involvement of child protective services
- Mandatory counseling
- Jail time
- Job loss because of spending so much time dealing with a truant teen
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