What are you supposed to do if your 16 year old refuses to go to school?

Trudy - posted on 03/06/2010 ( 158 moms have responded )

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I try to get my 16 year old son up to go to school but he rufuses what am i supposed to do? DSS is trying to get me for educational neglect.

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Sally - posted on 10/23/2013

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I have a 15 yr old son who will not in no way get up for school and when he does he gets sent home for threats while he is home he sleeps and eats and never cleans nothing his room oh my i cant see the floor when i get home from work i try and talk to him and he will yell at me and treat me like crap then makes it all about him and if i try to wake him up the words that comes from his mouth it saddens my heart i just dont know what to do anymore i feel like running away

Carolyn - posted on 08/29/2013

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My very talented, smart 17 y.o. daughter began this last year. She does not want to go to school, the "others kids are idiots" is what she tells me daily. Even when we went to pick up her 12th grade schedule she nearly had a melt down at the school. She is in the orchestra, plays violin, has very good grades, in AP classes and has a very light schedule this year because she has most of her credits needed for graduation. But the last two days she has stayed home, not well, stomach issues and school just started on 8/20. I am at my wits end. She told me this morning she wants a GED, I do not know if this is the right thing, need some outside opinions please...

Silka - posted on 03/12/2010

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Trudy, honestly all the advice about calling the cops, dragging your son in (as if you could physically pick up and drag a child that is most likely as big or bigger than you), pouring water, taking away phones and games (tried that about a million times, right?), those are all things that people advise that are not in your situation and they have no idea what you are going through. Those are things that they THINK they would do in that situation, but they obviously are not in that situation because it is unusual to have a kid that doesn't want to go to school. We are in a different boat than most parents, and it has nothing to do with our parenting skills. I have followed all of the advice in the world and none of it worked on my daughter. In fact when she was in middle school and I tried the water, taking her blankets off her bed, taking away her phone, tv and computer priveledges, well she slashed her legs and arms about 50 times with a razor blade and went ballistic with a butcher knife threatening to kill herself because she was such a "bad" kid, etc. That is not normal, and hence she started seeing a psychiatrist who said that school was her trigger and her stressor and I needed to make a change for her health and to save her life. The more I yelled and threatened her the WORSE she got, not better like people who don't have these problems think. She could care less if I called the cops on her, or if she went to Juvi, etc. She just hated school that much. Like I said above, I have a 12 year old son who has grown up in the same public school district that my daughter had, and he is an honor student with a 4.0 and in gifted and talented. Obviously if it were my fault as a mom, wouldn't both of my kids be having problems? I agree that a learning disability could be his problem, and by now it is too late to reverse his hatred for school, and you should help him prepare to be an adult. I also know that in this economy my daughter has been trying to get a job for several months to no avail. She desperately WANTS a job, she is not being lazy, she simply hates school, but is willing to give this night school her best shot for now because she does realize that it is her job to go to school right now, and that she does in fact get paid to go to school by me in the form of a roof over her head and a hot meal every night and a cell phone so I can locate her at all times, etc. If your son had the opportunity to get a job and finds an employer willing to hire him (extremely difficult right now as our teens are competing with 40 year olds for jobs at Wal Mart in this economy, it is not the way it was when we were 16 by any stretch!) then do it! Get him working if you can!

Lisa - posted on 03/25/2013

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In most school systems, if a child is registered in a school district, he or she is eligible for homebound instruction, which means having a teacher (or teachers) come to the house to give the student instruction. Have you looked into this? Maybe it's the stress of going to school. Also, like I mentioned below, my son just took the GED and passed with flying colors. His scores were so high that he is already eligible for Promise scholarships, which are for any of the state universities. His depression has dropped incredibly, and he is much happier. These kids who won't go to school could be just manipulating the parents, or they might really be something behind it.

Theresa - posted on 03/06/2010

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Threaten to call the police and report him as truant. If the threat isn't enough actually call the police and explain the situation to them. Maybe if a cop shows up it will scare him into going.

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Maureen - posted on 07/06/2014

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Hi to one and all. I'm no different with the problems we are enduring with our teenagers I have one myself. my daughter 15 has been through a lot of bullying years at the same school. The bully and their entourage are in her year. (year 10). one morning she couldn't face them anymore after having stood up to most of them. She wanted to move schools. I was devastated after all the years and friendships she had built up. there was a management move (change of schools on a trial). My daughter loved the school, she was bright, keen, and was being recognised in maths and science for being so. Then the truancy started within the trial period, I begged her to go to school and she did but walked out. !!!. I now have parental support officers, school support officers and the police always looking for her. In the past 3-4 weeks my daughter has been reported missing at least all of that. No-one seems to be getting through to her. I know she is with older kids who have all left school, but at this moment in time she has 2 wks left to find a school, get to it before the break up for summer. I know a lot may be thinking well let her go and start early, but, she has yr11 to do and I feel has no interest. I have done everything possible to get through to her to no avail. There are no bodies around that can make her do anything. in fact it will be me getting the letters and fines and believe you me i would rather go to jail as pay fines for her. I am very serious about that. now I'm bubbling. sorry. HELP

Jean - posted on 05/27/2014

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Just an update on my 14 year old son. He went back to school 3-1/2 weeks before school is to end this Thursday. They put him on a computer-based program where he stayed in one room all day with the exception of lunch and gym. He completed a whole year of geometry in 3 days, whole year of algebra in 2 days, whole year of science in 2 days. He now has 2 credits left to complete in summer school to pass the 9th grade. They have him set up now on the computer for finance, which would be one of those credits, but he doesn't think he can complete that in 1-1/2 days so he may leave that for summer school.

It seems as though working at his own pace is the way to go. One of his complaints was that the teachers do to much repetition and he gets bored when he is ready to move on. We may need to look at alternatives to main stream classes.

Paloma - posted on 05/20/2014

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Barbara - posted on 05/19/2014

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My son is 16 and highly gifted. He did virtual school and regular classes (AP) this year. He doesn't attend any of his classes at the school and it is a fight to get him to complete his virtual school classes. As far as GED he can only get an underaged GED in our state until 18. We fight constantly over his schooling. He just got kicked out of his Virtual School English class tonight for not submitting any work. He hates English but it is a requirement for a diploma. He has been a problem with school off and on since he was put into gifted. A counselor suggested his Sophomore year we let him flunk a class to learn natural consequences. We let it happen and he even got kicked out of his Engineering class. Now he fails all of his classes at school and most of his classes on line and tells us it doesn't matter. It seemed like after he got over the initial shock of failing a class and getting kicked out of one he found it to be no big deal. I am a teacher and my husband is a cop. Where we live there is no rules about 16 year olds not going to school except for getting your licensee. He doesn't drive yet so he doesn't care and when I told him it might effect him not getting a licensee to he is 18 he said he will be 18 soon enough. Also 16 year olds are allowed to drop out of school year as long as they sign a waiver saying it may hurt their income in the future.

Amanda - posted on 05/18/2014

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My son was put out of school 2012 he had no education for over 6 months due to county hall not being very helpful. Social services were absolutely hopeless.
My point is if I kept my son off school I would without a doubt be in court. Nothing happens when the local authorities do nothing to get the child back into education.
Now in 2014 my son has passed exams at levels higher than he should be doing. He has grown into a lovely young man. So in a way being put out of school was the best thing that happened. He is so much further qualified than he would of been if still in school.
Stick with it your child will prove school wrong. There is a reason they dont want to attend school fight it. See if theres a pattern with behavior I.e will go school certain days of the week but wont go on others. Wot lesson is he/she avoiding whos the teacher. All boils down to how the child is treat at school by the teacher. Not always the childs fault.

Alice - posted on 04/04/2014

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I have the same issue all these parents do. I am a widow with 6 children and have never had this problem until now- my 6th child. She is 15. I have been to the school. There is no truancy officer. They said call the police I called and went there- no response. No help. My daughter was home schooled until 8th grade. She did great until 10th grade. Now she refuses to get up or if she does she is late. How am i supposed to get her there? She doesnt have a cell to take away. The school gives them use ipads for schoolwork. cant take that. And she is taller and bigger than I am, so i cant carry her. I am ready to just remove her and say I am home schooling even if i cant due to her lack of cooperation.

Chrissy - posted on 03/17/2014

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I'm having a similar issue to many described here (especially Cody who replied as a teenager in this situation.) I'm currently "unschooling/homeschooling" where my DD gets credit for any projects she is interested in, physical exercise or culturally enriching events. But, because she is now so far behind I am considering the http://www.chspe.net/ which is like the GED (but can be taken at 16 instead of 18) and similar to the CA high school exit exam but you don't have to continue school. It gives the status of "completed" rather than "graduated" high school. Not sure if this is best for her but it could work and I'm researching it now. Best of luck to all of you and parents, do take care of yourselves, as that is number one to keeping the household moving forward in a positive way. Hugs.

Jean - posted on 03/07/2014

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To Shawnn: I appreciate the comment. He has been in the gifted program where the entire class is advanced in grades 3-5. He was in honors classes all through middle school. He did well when he did the work. He eventually stopped doing the work even though he could. There aren't any higher classes that he can take. Two more weeks until court.

Sherry - posted on 03/07/2014

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My son is 17 always tired in am excuse after excuse goes in late so now school is involved go in front of judge 1st fime prior to meeting with judge I tell school dont give him a slap on the wrist tell him I could be arrested or let him go to juvinile hAll to take a tour to see what its like we get to judge he walks out to us in lobby I'm short of time probation. So a month went by again we see judge 2 time another 30 days probation my son is looking at this as a joke what else

Shawnn - posted on 02/28/2014

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To Jean: If he's got this feeling ' bored, school work is stupid, not necessary, etc. ', have you checked into possibly moving him into an advanced track of study?

This is a child that sound to me to be bored because he's not being challenged. And, if he's not being challenged, he doesn't see any reason in doing what (to him) is too easy...Just a thought...

Jean - posted on 02/28/2014

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My 14 year old is refusing to go to school. He has had problems since kindergarten. He would get to the school and wouldn't won't to go in. Eventually he would go in but not want to go in to class. He was diagnosed with anxiety and mood disorder. One of his brothers who is younger by 18 months had aspergers. We had our 14 year old tested years ago for that and they said he may have some of the
Asperger tendencies but not enough for diagnosis.
He is extremely intelligent, high IQ. He has lots of friends, likes lots if activities, and had assured us he has never been bullied or abused at school. He has a psychiatrist, counselor, day treatment worker at school, has had 2 different intensive in home counselors. He has told us over the years the following reasons for not going to school:
Tired, not feeling well, bored, school work is stupid, not necessary, etc. We have done the following:
Taken away privileges, returned privileges and given extra for attending, had meeting after meeting at the schools for years, etc. This year, his first in high school has been the worst. The school system offered him the opportunity to choose his regular high school or an alternative school that is much smaller and quieter. He choose the latter which I figured he would because I think he has always had some sensory issues. He had only attended a total of about 3-4 weeks sporadically out of six months of school to date.

After years of trying to figure out something he may not be able to express, ranting, having doubts about my own parenting abilities, feeling like throwing my hands up, etc. The school system finally decided to take him before a judge. We go next month. I have considered paying for on line schooling but I'm not sure he would stick with it. He doesn't sound too excited about doing ANY school work. This child wanted to be a geologist, archaeologist, or paleontologist, he knows what he has to do to get there but he doesn't want to work for it now. One year he scored 600 across the board on his SOL tests.

He has such a great personality. He's fun, funny, outgoing, friendly, etc. but would rather stay at home with no priveledges than go to school.

Ideas?

Zoe Marie - posted on 02/21/2014

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To build on what Cody said i'm 17 only on this site as a full time nanny for advice) and I had such anxiety and stress surrounding school my entire sophomore year I pretty much didn't go at all. I'd cut school then answer the phone calls when I got home so my parents wouldn't know. Eventually they found out when they got a note in the mail from truancy (here if you're in high school and dont go YOU get punished not the parents) after seeing a therapist and trying everything I got placed on independent studies and things have been WONDERFUL. I can handle teaching myself, I can be motivated to get 100% of my work done. So this was the solution for me.

Marilyn - posted on 02/13/2014

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I had my stepson staying in bed this morning.He don't want to get up to go to school .I asked him and he just says he is tired and they only have French.I threatened him with pouring cold water on his sheets and taking away his laptop .He still stayed there .i went by his door and switched his light off and on , tapping on his way , telling him that I was calling his school (which I did) but no one answered. I then called his Mom and no answer there either. I pulled his blankets and tugged on them and told him that I won't let him rest in bed .He would have to be up and do work .He finally got up and put on his clothes and just stepped on the school bus .Very hard when it's not my own child .He could be depressed , his dad died 4 months ago but I can't let him control his own education.He will never make it without help.He also has aspergers , so I have to try my best to help him not fall in the cracks. Can anyone help me , maybe guide me or did I do the right thing for him today by being strict and getting him off to school. He is 6 ft 2 in and I'm only 4 10 ...just hope he don't see that :)
Worried Mom

Lynne - posted on 02/12/2014

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Can we force our high school student sins and daughters to do well in school?No!It's a power struggle and it's as if they think that they are getting even by not passing in school it's as if they feel in control and they reuse to comply. If the grades go up I win as the parent who has a child with good achievment etc.Th we dilemma is if the child thinks there winning the autonomy struggle by flunking out.We need to motivate the child to want to succeed intrinsically of their own fruition.

Cody - posted on 02/12/2014

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I'm hoping that this may help some people understand, as I'm one of these kids. I'm going to say something bold here, and admit that I honestly don't know why I hate school so much. It makes me so depressed and stressed out being there, and even when it comes to doing something little, I just shut down. Anxiety? Yes. But to say that it's just school we have this issue with is incorrect. It's something more than that, and not even I can figure it out. I've had been through 5 therapists, a physiologist, a phyciatrist, and a family therapist, and nothing has worked. I could tell you anything there is to know about stress relief and prevention, but I've never successfully applied it like I can to other things. In fact, my dread is so strong, on a real note, it makes me feel ill, though I'm usually not. It's possible that you may have a child that is just bored of it, is too lazy, or other things preoccupied them, but if nothing works, we're just as lost as you are. The best bet for you is to let them go for a G.E.D, because it's not gonna go away. I've had it progressively get worse since 7th grade, to the point that I don't know what to do. I hope that if you're reading this, it may help you with your own child,

Kathy - posted on 01/15/2014

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We have been trying to sort out our daughters behavior. She was first ADHD then anxiety and now depression. She is almost 16.

Donna - posted on 01/14/2014

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Chet I could not have said it better. It was exactly as if I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Thanks for ur response.

Donna - posted on 01/14/2014

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Jeri. I totally understand ur frustration. I also tried to physically get my child out to school and he also fought me on this. Getting into a physical altercation with ur child is a lose/lose situation. Partially because u can't win and then appear weak in ur child's eyes. Since ur daughter was doing well in school and her not wanting to go is a new phenomenon, perhaps there is something specific going on with her. I would work that avenue first. However if u get nowhere with that, talk with her about alternatives. I for one could not home school my child. My patience at that time was at an all-time low and I don't think he would have concentrated nor worked with me on that. Ged was the right move for my son and the peace in our household is restored.

Jeri - posted on 01/14/2014

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My 16 year old daughter is 1 year from graduation! She has been doing great! Now she will not go to school! I am a single mom and if I try to bodily make her go she fights back! Have thought of suspending all privileges. She states she does not like the school. I am considering either home school or GED. Frustrated beyond belief!

Chet - posted on 01/14/2014

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I completely agree with Donna McDonough. Your child is nearly an adult. You need to really connect with them, and find a solution that works. For some kids, getting up every morning and going to high school is just trying to put a square peg in a round hole.

Donna - posted on 01/13/2014

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I Have replied to this post before and I explained how I couldn't get my 15 year old to go to school and that every morning was a fight to get him up and out to school. He had so many missed days. I was spending more time at the school than he was. I had offered my son some alternatives such as a different school perhaps online schools or getting his ged. Well one day early this September (now a junior) when he had missed more time in his junior year than he attended, he said mom I can't do this anymore. I thought you can't do this. I was going crazy. Then I looked at my kid and he said how unhappy he was in high school and didn't I say there were alternatives. I said yes I said that and I realized that my once sweet loving very happy child was so unhappy. I listed the alternatives and together we decided ged. He just got his ged in December. Some people may disagree with me but the way I see it, my son has his high school diploma (95 percent of colleges accept a ged) at 16. The chaos in the house is over and he is a much happier teenager. I now believe all children are different and what works for one won't work for another. Keep an open mind. Something I never did before.

Rugen - posted on 12/11/2013

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My son and I have been at this refusal to go to school for awhile. I can't afford to sent him to a boot camp or a place that enforces school work, and the courts say I got to pay for his Juvenile detention.
It started in the 6th grade, but it was toward the end of the year. In the 7th grade it escalated. Principles, police, teachers, counselors, and everybody came to my house enforcing that he go to school. Someone even put his pants on him. I must have made 30 court visits, until I became the criminal. The next year I took him out, and he did online high school, which he half did, but it kept me out of trouble, and he learned something. He went back to school in the 9th grade, and was happy until about three months in, and stopped going. I put him back in online school, but he refuses to log in, even with a very light class load. I have three choices now: let him be in juvenile detention, do his school work, which would keep me out of trouble, or send him to live with his father. I am not certain about any of those choices.

Sally - posted on 11/09/2013

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no i can not i had a tutor for him and he never wanted to do the work i tryed that for 3 weeks i am at a loss i have 4 children and none of them ever acted like my 15 yr old

Sally - posted on 11/09/2013

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that is happening to me as we speak the school has said i was going to court and i told my son i was telling the judge everything and the judge can do as he sees fit

Jodie - posted on 11/06/2013

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Now, with yours, I'd definitely take him out of school and do the homeschooling thing. It's really easy for people to be judgmental when it isn't their kid, but for the rest of us, we KNOW how frustrating it is. You provide all you can and then your kid turns on you, like raising a wild raccoon or cub. So sad. And the kid can't see that you're just trying to help them.

Jamie - posted on 11/06/2013

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@Jodie
Signing him up or registering him as a homeschool will at least help protect mom from her ex's vindictive attitude.

No, he might not want to do 'school work' at home either but BELIEVE ME THERE ARE OTHER THINGS HE CAN BE DOING that are just as educational and worthwhile.

I skipped school as a teen and barely graduated. I was overwhelmed. The amount of crap they are trying to cram into these kids' heads is unbelievable. A lot of kids will never set foot in College or University simply because they believe all schooling is stupid. I went to College as a mature student and guess what? No diploma needed! All that stress, all that time wasted!

Have a heart to heart with him when he is calm. ASK HIM what is it he doesn't like about school. He is old enough to have his opinion taken seriously, IMHO.

Jodie - posted on 11/04/2013

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What good would homeschool do? If he's refusing to go to school, most likely he'll refuse at home, too.

Taz - posted on 09/24/2013

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Is there any way you can do online school at home? or home school for this last year.

Nakeema - posted on 08/16/2013

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I live in Nyc and acs Is threatening removal of my kids because my 17 year old refuses school

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I don't know what state you are in, but where I live, you can legally drop out at 16. Just make him "homeschooled" so you don't get in trouble with the state.

TERESA - posted on 05/07/2013

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I HAVE BEEN THERE TO AND PRAYER AND MAYBE ASHORT LETTER TO HIS JUDGE TO PUT A LITTLE SCARE INTO HIM THE NEXT TIME YOU GO TO COURT . GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR CHILD.

Catherine - posted on 04/28/2013

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i am in the same situation and im back at court 14 may to get prosecuted , possible imprisonent ,

Laura - posted on 03/25/2013

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My daughter was just diagnosed with insulin resistant diabetes. I have taken her to counseling, but nothing is working. she likes to smoke pot but it raises her blood sugar.
I am running out of options. We tried independent home studies but it didn't work. I really don't want her to quit, but I don't know what to do to help her.

Deeanne - posted on 01/30/2013

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hi there there is no way of forcein a kid to go to school how ever u could try uping his pocket money no this isnt black male its called prasing him for doing good if he fails tell him he losses the extra money

Lisa - posted on 01/30/2013

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Mei, we are going to have our son take the GED. Not quite as good but it's still a diploma. He just can't handle school, but he will have small classes to get ready for the test. (The GED is a test where they get a General Equivalency Diploma.)

Deeanne - posted on 01/29/2013

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not alot anyone can do i was in the same area teenages are in clined to please them selfs and they do get away with it its always the parents that suffer all because of the new laws my thoughts go out to u and i hope things get sorted it will take time

Mei - posted on 01/29/2013

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Hi Lisa,

I have same your problem. My son suffers from depression that started during grades 8-10, My son is very intelligent, but not the perfect student-often very lazy and not finish homework, than Choice to avoid school, every morning I have a hard time to wake him up to school. Last Semester we try independent study, but not work. I don't know how can I do.?

Lisa - posted on 01/28/2013

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There may very well be a situation that your son hasn't told you about. My son suffers from depression that started during grades 8-10, when he was in a school that focused on perfection. My son is very intelligent, but not the perfect student-often very lazy. Still not a bad kid. But teachers would make fun of him in front of the class for assignments not done correctly, and would yell at him in the hallway when other kids are around. An online school might be better. Or see if the school has a homebound program, where the teacher comes to the house. There's also the GED, which is the route we are beginning.

JESSIE - posted on 01/28/2013

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I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO I AM FEELING SO SICK ABOUT ALL THIS MY DAUGHTER IS DOING TO HERSELF....I GOT HER A THERAPIST NOW BUT SHE STILL HAVEN'T TRY AT ALL TO GET HER SELF UP TO GO TO SCHOOL NOW I AM PRAYING THAT GET N THE MENTAL HEALTH TO HELP HER ..

Jurist - posted on 01/10/2013

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Trying is the key. But if your son is sixteen years of age; you as a mother has the obligation but not in its entirety. Forcing a child to do something that he dislikes is out the question. He can always have the option to get his GED if he chooses too. As a parent you have that right to home school or he can take the GED if he chooses to do so.

Educational neglect occurs when a parent of a child , age seven through fifteen, interferes with the ability of the child to receive proper care and attention educationally.

Have you interfered by any means? Your response, it shows you have tried. So therefore NO.
Is he fifteen? No. You stated he is sixteen. For DSS to find you neglect they have to prove every single element.

For example; Since he is sixteen, the rule does not apply anymore. So therefore, case failed. Because they have to prove that he is fifteen. And so on, so on.

Hopes this clarifies any issues.

Donna - posted on 01/09/2013

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amanda - your first two sentences hit the nail on the head. if your child refuses to go to school do they expect you to drag him there. chances are he's bigger and stronger than you.. couldn't have said it better myself!

Donna - posted on 01/09/2013

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i am also in this situation. my 15 year old has so many latenesses and days off this year that i am on the verge of getting in trouble for this. looking back over the years, my son never liked school but he had enough respect for me to go. now every morning is a nightmare trying to get him up and out. i drive him to school and during my lunch, i pick him up after school. some days he goes, some days he doesn't. to say nothing of the fact that he is failing three subjects. i offered to put him in private school (not that i can afford it) but he says no. i would say that he will have to repeat the 10th grade but more than likely he will drop out first. this is causing me such anxiety and i have never considered myself a depressed person but i am definitely suffering from it lately. i'm supposed to cook, clean, shop and do the normal things that moms do and yet my son won't do the one job he has. i find myself crying alot. what kind of future can my son have if he doesn't finish high school? i blame myself because if he had respect for me, he would go. when i was in high school, i had very few friends and hated it. but i went everyday because I HAD TO. what has happened to kids doing what they are told?

Frankie - posted on 01/09/2013

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hi my son wont go to school either i think its his age keep trying maybe its pubes or somthing...

Tracey - posted on 12/22/2012

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my 15yr old daughter is being bullied in school, she is 16 on the 11-1-2013, the last time this happened was on the 17-12-2012 she came home from school in tears and shaking uncontrolably i was heartbroken and angry, this bullying has been re-occuring on and off for the last 2yrs and the girl involved is never punished, i have been to the school repeatedly about this and in my honest opion i feel im being fobbed off, my daughter now does not want to return to school and to be honest i dont want her to go back as she feels when she reports this to a teacher they dont listen and think she is the one to blame, she is due to start college in september but has asked me if she could have home tutoring until she finishes school unfortunatley we cant afford home tutoring is there anything we can do as we are at our wits end.

Mary - posted on 12/17/2012

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My son is 17 years he does not want to go to school. we have been through so much. He hanging out with the wrong people. I talk to him try to give him advice he does not listen i want the best for him he so smart and he works but how can you force a child to school.

Angie - posted on 11/07/2012

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Is it possible to look into a tutor something that the local social services offers for low cost or free of charge or any community programs for youth his age until his ITC placement? I wish you the best and I pray everything works out for you and your son.

Amanda - posted on 11/07/2012

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i work full time can't do home schooling he starts college tomorrow , he's doing 2 days a week for his maths and english then he will do ict when a placement comes up, once that comes up he will go to college more.

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