my 16 year old daughter does not want to go to school. How can I convince her to finish school??

Stacy - posted on 01/07/2011 ( 15 moms have responded )

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she wants to transfer schools to be with her friends and is refusing to go to her "home" school anymore. Part of me wants her to be happy, the other doesnt want her to think its ok to run away from her problems when things get tough and stick it out where she's at. I'm afraid that whatever she ends up doing, she won't end up graduating and it scares me to my core. She has so much potential and I dont want her giving it all up. Help?!

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Essie - posted on 08/05/2013

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My son wants to quit school for a girl. He has been smoking pot, running away, smoking cigars. We ask him not to smoke anything in his room but he does what he wants. I thank he is trying to get kicked out so he can be with his friends but what kind of friends are they when they are talking him in to bad things? When I take him to school he just walks out after I leave the school calls me an hour later looking for him.

Theresa - posted on 01/07/2011

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I think Shawnn has some really good advice. Does she have any friends at the school she's at now. Having friends is very important at her age, people she can count on. If she has no friends at her current school it can set her up to be a prime target for bullying. And as we've seen with a rise in teen suicide as a direct result of bullying. that'sd nothing to mess with. If it's not a huge inconvenience and you can make it work, then I would think moving her to the other school is a much better option than having her hate where she's at so much che drops out. Being in a school you enjoy with people you enjoy makes the school experience much better. It's easier to do better in school when you're happy too.

As far as "running away from problems" we all do that to some degree. If we start a book club and don't enjoy it, we stop going or try to jooin a different one. We take different shifts at work, or transfer to other departments to get away from toxic coworkers. As long as the "running away" doesn't majorly interfere with life then I don't think it's a big deal. However she has to learn that there are also times in life when you just have to suck it up do the best you can with the situation you're put in. I guess only you can decide which type of situation this is. Good luck.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/07/2011

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My questions would be "why does she want to transfer, if she can hang out with these kids already" Is she having problems at her current school? I ask because you mention her running when things get tough. I wouldn't consider having friends at a different school "tough". Actually, if I'd wanted to do the same, I'd have had to change towns too! What does she think she'll be missing?

Now the other side: What would it take to let her do this? is the other school that much different academically? Would she potentially be in a lower achievement situation?

At this age, she's going to have fairly strong opinions. I wouldn't fight with her, I would discuss. You need to make a list of your pros/cons, and she needs to do the same, then sit down and have a discussion. If it won't take a lot (you transporting her at inconvenient hours, or not receiving certain school services) then I would probably let her. However, if it will create a huge inconvenience on your part, explain that, and how you need her to stay where she is.

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Tina - posted on 01/21/2011

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that taunting you are speaking of is actually bullying which is becoming illegal in a lot of states. I would quietly speak to the school guidance counselor or principal and let them know what is going on with your daughter. The problems she is encountering with the other girls and let them step in. Not only is this damaging to her grades, it is affecting how she has to live on a daily basis. Things like this are the reason some teens commit suicide. I would take this very seriously adn speak with someone at the schools immediately. (sssshhhh--- if it was me, I would find out who the girls were and speak to them personally and their parents.-- I think a lot of parents would have your back if they knew what damage their children were doing to another kid)

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/21/2011

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Oh, Stacy, hang in there! My initial reaction to the taunting would be to tell her "run with it". Meaning, they say something about her being lesbian, she comes right back with something like "maybe, but I'd never consider YOU for a partner", or "what, jealous?". However, that would probably get her in trouble. Having gone thru much of the same when I was her age, the only thing I can say is give her as much love and support as you can. Counseling is a good idea. Maybe she'd open up to a counselor with something that she may feel you would be uncomfortable or unhappy with, but I hope that would not be the case. Let her know she's a strong young lady, that YOU have every confidence in her. I'll be praying for you all.

Stacy - posted on 01/21/2011

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Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to respond. A big part of the problem is that she is very athletic. She has always been involved in sports. Softball especially. Now, this year for some reason, random people will just call her nasty names insinuating that she is homosexual as she walks past. I don't know why this started, nor do I know what to do about it. I try telling her that she knows it's not true so if these strangers want to call her names, just let it slide off her back and shrug it off. It doesn't matter what these people think! It's really affecting her and I can see that it is breaking her spirit. She's failing 3 classes since she's missing so much school. One benefit of switching schools is that she will need 2 less credits to graduate if she goes there. I just don't want her to get into the habit of running away whenever things get tough. She just doesnt have the skills needed to stick up for herself, nor do I have them to teach her. Most of her close friends from her current school graduated last year so I know she's lonely. My husband and I are not on the same page concerning this. I'm leaning towards allowing her to transfer, at least for this last semester of this year. Kindof on a "trial basis" to see how it works out. He thinks she needs to toughen up and stick it out. I'm just afraid that she's going to become so depressed that she's just going to give it all up and stop going to school altogether. I've made an appointment to talk with her counselor on Monday. I also think I should take her to a psychiatrist as well.
She has always been soooo strong willed, at least where her dad and I are concerned. You can't make her do anything she doesn't want to do, nor can you stop her from doing someting once she sets her mind to it. That's why it confuses me so that she's allowing these kids' taunts to affect her as much as she is. She is so beautiful and has always had so many friends and has always been extremely social. I don't know what's going on and she wont open up to me except to tell me the little bit that she has. As I said at the beginning, I really appreciate everything that has been said in reference to this dilema. Please keep the advice coming. Thank you, thank you.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/21/2011

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Tina, sounds like you parent the same way I do! And I agree on every point! My eldest has been my trial...I'm (don't take this wrong) glad other parents have been there! You know, the thing that gets me is he's bright, he's attractive, he's not into drugs or anything like that, but he's STUBBORN!!! And, to top it off, the schools didn't help by facilitating his desire to not do homework, etc. It really came back to bite him this year. He was in and out of the hospital at the beginning of the year. Because he's a good kid, respectful, etc, the school allowed him to make up the work in his own time. Worked GREAT...until the writing assignments :( No matter how hard I pushed, dad pushed, etc, no matter what we took away, the kid just wouldn't do the work. I took his gaming computer, left him with only the word processing one, didn't matter. What hit home was when he was at the end of the semester and his mythology teacher told him he'd failed and there was no way to fix it. He immediately signed up for the summer session for that class to make it up so he can graduate on time. He's also been doing homework on a daily basis since. I'm still appalled at the F on his record, but I guess I can live with one bad grade...LOL...after all, I got one when I was his age. I am very thankful that my kids are pretty easy going, and well behaved, but I also know that's partially because my hubby and I are very involved with them. I wish we could save the world, but we can't...All I can do is the best I can with the limited resources we have in this area and PRAY a lot!

Tina - posted on 01/21/2011

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Shawn, thanks for that lengthy reply. That is really sad that no one in authority will help out until it is too late. The truancy laws will only go into place at a point where it is going to hurt the parents then? That is really too bad.
My own kids... well my oldest is now 18 and in college but i do have 16, 11, 7, and 5 yr old as well. So did go through and am still
The 18 yr old, when he was 13 decided to be a complete butthole of a kid. My son, who was always a great person, and still is, when through????? at 13. we lived in a bad area (unbenownst to me) and gangs and drugs were influencing him I now understand. Not that he was into drugs but I think it was right there, ya know... anyway he just turned into a completly different kid. School started going downhill as well as home, attitude. Very disrespectful. I was thinking that this was it, my kids was on drugs and i have met the teen years. I ended up taking EVERYTHING away from him. The only thing he had left in his room was a bed and had I had room in the garage I would have put that in there as well. no rug, desk, lamp, not even posters on the wall. It looked like a prison cell. He had No tv, computer, phone, nothing. he could read all the books he desired or draw adn that was all we allowed him. He came home and llived in his room for the next 8 months. that was his choice. We told him that when HE was ready to be respectful and do well in school he could start to earn back some things and priveledges. HE is the one who held out that long. That attitude was by his choice. He finally came around. It took him that long to act like a civilized kid again but i have NEVER had another problem with him again. Ever. I believe inprivacy, up to a point but they are my kids and I have no problem snooping if I feel they are doign something wrong. It is my job as a parent to be there, no what they are doing and intervene when needed. I do my job to the best of my ability and so far have done very well.
My 16 yr old, then 12, was havign major problems at school. I was at the school several days a week for several weeks. She was suspended 2 times and was in a lot of trouble at home. I took away all of her priveledges as well. I took her room away and made her stay in the living room with us all day, as that is what she least desired. I also made her sleep in there. She hated her life at home more that at school and that is what worked for her. My 11 yr old is no problem but if he or the others do become that way, I will find what will affect them the most and take that away from them. They can choose when to earn back what I have taken with the proper behavior or whatever it is i am dealing with.
Consequences to actions are a must adn I think it is something that we as parents do not do enough of. Part of the reason some kids walk all over their parents and do as they please, such as dropping out of school.
If kids are not going to school, there must be consequences to that action. Find what ever will work for your kid and change the behavior. Not say that it will work but it is worth a shot. Take away everything from them. Lack of communication with friends is harsh and has worked in my house. Phones, Itouches, computers, video games, tv. Anything they love, take it away. Hell, I think that takign away everything they have in their rooms, like i did with my son was a huge tool. I also forgot to mention that i took away his cool clothes and shoes and hats. That was a BIG DEAL as well. If he could not sag his pants and had clothes that FIT his body, he was not quite as cool. Also, a haircut of your choosing works wonders in his/her coolness factor with friends as well. No makeup? another good one. All things that you take away, you put that CHILD back in their place... AS A CHILD!
Just my own experiences but they have worked for me.
I hope that more communities can help out with unruly kids but ideally, it starts at home. Got to nip it in the bud when they are young so they know who is boss. And if they are so outrageous they cant live by the rules... well, let them live by someone elses rules (juvy, if possible) until they can figure it out!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 01/21/2011

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Tina,

I can't comment much, but I can say that where we live, even if you BEG the court system to intervene before it gets out of hand, they won't. My brother found that out. His kid started hanging with the wrong crowd. (mind you, the parents in this situation had a lot to do with the whole deal). Rather than mom and dad being parents and handing down some discipline, they went to Juvie. They initially asked for a "scare 'em straight" intervention, where a police officer will visit your house, "arrest" your kid, and show them what life could be like. Our area doesn't have that program, so they didn't get that. Next they asked for him to be admitted to the youth center, which is completely supervised and regulated. He wasn't "bad" enough for that. (mind you, had the parents at any time used some good old fashioned discipline...) To make a long story short, my nephew ended up stealing money from my husband and son, lying about it, and eventually confessing. His parents begged us to call the police. I did, and was told, it's a family situation, we'd rather let you handle it. All of this because people are crying that we are "too hard" on juvenile offenders. He ended up in the local boys school/work camp for a year, so now has a record. Bottom line? the courts won't help you unless your kid is a real threat to society.
And, you can't hold the school accountable for letting the students leave if they do so before school hours begin. If the kid is dropped off at 7:30 by parents, and school doesn't start till 7:45, then the school is not responsible for locking the kids in until school starts, and it's not fair to expect them to baby sit that way.
It sounds like you may not have experienced any of these types of problems with your own kids, or they may not be old enough yet, but trust me when I say that MOST parents try our darndest to keep our kids in school, to make sure they are taking care of their responsibilities, etc. However, we can't be with them 24/7, and even my kids, who were the sweetest angels before they hit puberty, are now struggling with responsibilities, no matter HOW hard I try to get it into their heads. Right now, I am fighting the grades war...which is hard because my eldest spent the first 2 months of school in and out of hospitals for a medical condition. He's done fairly well getting caught up, but at one point he refused to do any more. Now, he's a foot taller and 100 lbs heavier than I am, so...the physical side is not an option, and our law enforcement would just laugh at me if I asked them to intervene.
I know I didn't fully address your question, but that's part of the reason that your suggestion would not be a practical one, at least around these parts...

Tina - posted on 01/21/2011

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I have a question to the moms who let their kids drop out. In no way is this to start a fight or be disrespectful. Just very curious and wondering. I understand that you can not be there to make sure kids are going to school. Even if you take them, that doesn't mean they will stay there. However, arent there truancy laws that could help you? What about the courts, judges? A little jail time might persuade them different. Tough love? We know our kids need school. They will get nowhere fast without an education. I don't understand how a child can be allowed to make a decision like dropping out of school. That just should not be an option. Personally, if it was me, I would talk to the school board about what to do with a child that wont stay in school. The school should be held accountable to a degree for allowing the child to leave. Another option would be to contact the courts yourself and find out what can be done with an unruly child who refuses to go to school. I read one post here that said the parent would not go to jail cause the child refused to go to school. I would not either. I woudl personally hand my kid over to the authorities and let them sit in a cell for a few days. Hmmm what is worse, going to school via juvy or a regular public school. I think kids who walk all over their parents and do what they want because they know their parents have no consequences are headed for HUGE trouble as adults. A good slap in the face of juvinile detention could be a brilliant option. I do not think school is a choice. It is a childs job. Something they must know that have to do. There is just no choice in the matter. Once they turn legal age and feel they no longer need to respect the parent and their authority, then fine, they can move out and take care of themselves at that point. But not before. Kids need rules and boundries adn going to school is part of that.
So to the parents that let your kids leave school or havinga hard time keeping them there, would the court system be an option for you to use? why or why not?
Again, no fighting here. Really want to know

Jenni - posted on 01/21/2011

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I went through this with my daughter at 14. She refused to go, and since I was working and couldn't be there to make sure she went, it was tough. She ended up dropping out. So I told her if she wasn't going to school she would have to get a job, or go the night classes they had at a sort of alternative type of school. She went and got a job, didn't like it so she quit the next day. So I enrolled her in the night classes, and drove her and picked her up so I knew she was going. I also phoned them every couple of weeks to check in and make sure she was going. It was good for a little while, but then I found out she hadn't been going, even though I was driving her. She just waited for me to leave.
It took her a year or so and then she realised that she isn't going to get anywhere in life doing this, and all her friends are graduating this year, and she felt left out, so now she is back in school, and she has ALOT hard work and catching up to do, but so far, she on track to graduate with her friends. So it worked out in the end. Well almost in the end we haven't seen graduation day yet!
Good luck... I guess all you can do is make her get a full time job if she's not in school. Give her a taste of the real world, she will probably come around.

Tina - posted on 01/20/2011

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Wow that is a tough one. Friends are important but then at the same time, friends will come and go through out life. She needs to stay where she is and learn to deal with the loss of her best friend and make new ones. Finishing school is not an option. It is a requirement. Let her know no different. There is no choice in the matter. Do not allow her to drop out. Can a kid even do that? Also, let her know about trying to get a job without a diploma. My 16 yr old just applied at Petco yesterday adn if you are not in school you are required to have a diploma just to fill out the application. I know McDonalds is the same way and the military will not accept you either. If you cant even finish HS, what will you finish??? Pose that to her? Life is not easy, she needs to grow up, finish school and not let her friends choices influence her life. good luck to you both

Iona - posted on 01/12/2011

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well i'm having this problem with my sons now the oldest is 15 n the youngest is 12 the oldest is a freshman n the youngest is in 7th i thought it was a stage at least that is what i was told.I was told make them go but how u make a child go to skool when ur a single parent n have to work cause ur the only one supporting them.I keep telling them they have to go or i can get into trouble I've got the school board on my back now about the youngest.I keep telling the skool what else can i do i do my best to get them to skool n it seems i get no where.I got my sister n brother inlaw that told me they would take them to live with them but then they live a nice distdents from me i wouldn't get to see them all the time n they my life.They think im stressed n depreesed now what would happen when they gone.I tell my boys everyday I love them n do anything for them but i'm not going to jail.

Amanda - posted on 01/09/2011

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I had to ask for an administrative transfer for my son when we moved out of his school zone. It was the best decision I made, I had to drive him to school every morning and pick him up. But in the end he was happy and he graduated just fine. Some sacrifices are worth it in the end!!

Louise - posted on 01/09/2011

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I would talk to the school and see what they suggest. If she is truly unhappy she will not learn any thing in this school. But, saying that moving schools at this age is very stressful. She will not be in classes with her friends and she will have to make new ones and we all know how cruel kids are. I think you need to sit her down and have a heart to heart. Express your concerns and state that this is the most important decision she will have to make. Let her talk things through with you and listen to what she is saying do not dismiss her feelings. This chat is probably best had away from the house on neutral grounds. Take her out for a meal on her own and try and get to the bottom of all this.

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