What can you do if your 16 year old refuses to go to school?
Teenagers tend to resist authority, so what can you do if a 16 year old absolutely refuses to go to school?Unfollow
Here is one more thought to go along with the others. My son tried the same thing and I let him know that I am not required by law to provide him any of life's nice things either, if he didn't want to go to school, which by law he must or I could be responsible for it. I took away everything in his room, including the door, and left him with his clothes and a bed. When he yelled at me I told him to call the Police. He did not last long and I asked him to get a better attitude or his school clothes were coming from the Goodwill instead of the mall. I didn't like showing that tough love but I needed to get through to him about how serious I could be. I hope it helps.
Like others, I agree that you need to get at the root of the problem. Are they being bullied, teased, or they just don't "fit in?" I would address those issues and find an alternative. There are a lot of options out there for schooling your children from Home School, to charter schools to virtual academies. But, if they are ready to move on with their lives, support them in that choice also. Two of my children took their GED's at 16 and moved on to college (both working on Master's degrees). They did well socially, but were "bored" in the classroom. Address the problem, not the child.
Take your child on some community visits....your county jail, the welfare office, the unemployment office, the community health care clinic, etc. Show your child what life can be like when they have to struggle to make ends meet. Give your child a chance to investigate a job that he or she wants to do. Find out how much money can be made doing that job and what kind of education is needed. Have them set up a budget for a minimum wage job that includes rent, groceries, car payment or public transportation costs, etc. SHOW him or her that life is about making good choices and some of the choices they make RIGHT NOW affect the rest of their life. It is hard to have a 16 year old think past themselves and the moment though, so good luck to any parent facing this problem. Don't give up!
Honestly at 16 you can get a GED and if my child wanted to move on with his/her life. I would be all for it. Our education system is horrible in our state. Though if it wasnt the case, yes I agree finding out why they wont go is a necessity. Though giving a child options and choices can only better his/her way on dealing with life.
I noticed you guys associate jail with this. Dont know the correlation. My husbands brother is a high school drop out and he is a successful business owner with a GED, He was always smart and just got fed up with the BS of school.
I guess I would find out the root reason for her/him not wanting to go....maybe there is a good reason....Home school them....it is a great alternative for school!!!!
Seriously look at Homeschooling. I don't know what state you live in but Home School Legal Defense Advocates (HSLDA) http://www.hslda.org/ can help you learn about your state laws. Obviously schooling is important but maybe the school system isn't the right place for your child. I noticed a lot of GED suggestions, and that is one viable option. Why doesn't you child want to go to school? Maybe he/she wants to move on with their life and finds High School not their "cup of tea". Maybe a dual enrollment at your local Community College in conjunction with Homeschooling or your local high school is an option. Look beyond the local high school, there are lot's of other options. Also ask what your child wants to do with their life, maybe a trade school not a college is in their future, then see what that type of school requires for entrance. Talk to your child, find out what is going on, don't let anyone get defensive, just get the facts of the situation then talk together about the options. You may find that they need some outside help, vision therapy to help coordinate the brain and eyes so they can learn and not get frustrated and angry or counseling to work through bullying or other issues that may be making them refuse to go to school or some other outside help for some other reason. Be open to the alternatives, you want your child to be a successful adult and the path everyone else is taking is not always the right path for everyone.
i have a 15yr old who refused to go to school and now gets home schooled with books and stuff off the internet, yet his school would not help at all when he told them that he was bored in class and jus kepted threatening me with going to court and taking my son and his sister off me.As a single parent i think more should have been done to help instaed of hinder me!
High school is usually a major social experience that most want to attend aside from it being a learning enviorment. If the social life is not a possitive experience , who cares about the learning. If this child is not depressed or if this child does not have a chemical problem, give your child another way to accomplish what you feel is important, hence the education. Get creative, think outside the box. Value your childs receation, they are reacting for a reason. It may put the parents life for a loop due to the lack of glorified babysitting that the school and it's programs provide, but if you dont take it seriously , Hell will start to errupt..
I was in grade 11 when I emotionally could not handle going to school anymore. My mom knew I was serious but she gave me two choices Correspondance or a job, I choose Correspondance, I got A's and B's for the first time, school pressures where too much I also got a job, I felt in control of things it was a changing experience. thanks Mom
My child was the same last year. Turns out she cannot listen to a teacher go on and on all day and starts to day dream. She has a short attention span. I got her into an Alt Ed class where the students work at their own pace from a booklet in a class, they have one on one with the teacher and she did great. She received 1.5 credits in over a month. Good luck!
My son is 17 and while he has never refused to go to school he did suffer from some major anxiety issues when he was 12 which meant he didn't want to go and didn't feel safe outside of the house. My point being that while teenagers have a reputation for being difficult they are just people with all the fragilities and insecurities that adults have. Your teenager may be being difficult but I have found there are usually underlying reasons for most things. The school environment and teaching methods don't suit all children but that doesn't mean they get to opt out! I discovered all of them need an advocate, they need to know there's someone in their corner regardless of what's going on. In my sons case it turned out he has a mild learning problem which caused the anxieties. We can't fix that but strategies have helped and he is primarily an A & B student at a school with very high standards. If I had not forced him to school back at age 12, listened to him cry and put up with his behaviour none of this would have come about. He is nearly finished his Year 12 year now and is well adjusted, socially adept and overall a happy person. Try and find out what motivations there are behind your child's behaviour. Not sure visiting the local jail is the best thing! To me that is a negative and isn't dealing with the root of the issue.
Determine if it is a mental health problem versus a behavior issue. Social phobias, OCD, or generalized Anxiety could peak at different ages and should be sorted out first, as it could result in this behavior. Allowing kids to remain home could make this issue worse. Work with mental health professionals and school teams once the anti-school attendance behaviors commence. Good luck. This is a difficult issue.
I quit school when I was 16. I told my mother if she didn't let me drop out I would simply stop going until I was kicked out. What she didn't ask, or at least wasn't persistent, was why. I didn't want to talk about it but would have if pressured. I was uncomfortable at school. There were fights, drugs, and because we were poor my clothes were never stylish. I didn't want to be in that environment anymore.
Please hear me on this one.
I had a stepson, he also hated school. HIs biological mother insisted, and insisted on his attending, which is natural. My stepson, ending up taking his own life.
I'm not saying it was because he was forced to attend school, only that it added to the black thoughts he must have been having.
In the big picture, he not attending, though important, was not earth-shattering.
Let him quit, but do so only with the understanding that he get a G.E.D. And help him do it.
Insist that if he quit and after he aquires his GED he MUST get a job.
Being in the work world, seeing what his opportunities will be, could just be the key to his deciding that and education is of great value.
He can still attend a community college, and with hard work go on to a 4 year school.
Try homeschooling her. I am going to be homeschooling my kids starting this year. Public schools are getting worse anyway.
I personally homeschool and have since our now 16 yr. old son was 9 and it was because of his being so bored in school that he was getting in trouble ALL the time and was starting to get labeled a trouble maker. The teachers that recognized this and were willing to work with him gave him extra, above grade level work and he was their devoted fan but the ones that weren't willing to do this just made things worse.
I agree with the ones to find out why your 16yr. old really doesn't want to go to school. If is it legitimate reasons then either start homeschooling them or since they are already 16 let them get their GED but make sure they know that those are the options. (Just staying around doing nothing all day or doing nothing but the fun things they want to do all day are not on the option list). When they get their GED, if that is what they choose to do, then they will be required to go to work and contribute to the household and they also need to be deciding what they are wanting to do with their future lives and checking into what they need to do themselves to get headed in that direction.
Hope this helps some.
I went through this with my daughter when she was 16. She dropped out, only to struggle to return to school later on. She is still struggling to finish college at 25.
The first thing is to determine why your child doesn't want to go to school - the real reasons. That involves REALLY listening to your child, and also to their siblings, friends, and school authorities. Sometimes we overlook facts that aren't in keeping with the picture we would like to have. I know I did. My daughter was an addict, self medicating to deal with the fact that she was experiencing the first stages of mental illness - which often manifests at this age. I didn't know about the drugs, violence, and severe internal pain she was experiencing because she had hidden it so well and even her sister wasn't telling us what needed to be said out of a misplaced sense of loyalty (and some fear).
Dig for the real answers. The truth will set you, and especially your child, free.
Then realize that the vast majority of people in the Western World NEED an education and qualifications to support themselves at an adequate level. Unfortunately, it is results (i.e. the diploma or degree) rather than intentions that count in this regard. Sorry, but that is the cold, hard truth. My daughter, living on social assistance and struggling to get an education and support her family, experiences this every day. She regrets not finishing school and will tell anyone who will listen to find a way, any way, to finish high school AND obtain some sort of post-secondary qualifications. There is always a creative solution; many have been shared by other posters.
Start early and know your child. Teach them to make decisions from the time they are toddlers (do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt?) and let them learn from their mistakes. They will grow to be self confident and successful. Choose words carefully and be positive. Instead of telling them they HAVE to go to school, tell them they GET to go to school. keep communication lines open. Build their trust in you. Accept them as they are and talk TO them (not At them) Build Communication skills when they are young. Emphasize the positive things in life, Keep communication going all through their school years. Ask them questions. Let them question you. Answer questions honestly. Let them know they can tell you anything and not get a negative reaction. Choose your battles carefully. A messy room in not life threatening nor is hair lenghth or color. Show them that you love them no matter what all the time. Don't give them anything to rebel against. . I'm a mother of 3 and have legal custody of my niece and nephew. My children range in age from 16 to 46. I've helped them and all of their friends by giving them unconditional love. In return they give me unconditional love and respect. They have all finished school and are successful in life except for the 16 and 17 year old who are looking forward to school next month. Let your children be free range kids, don't be a helicopter mom. Don't plan their days and lives for them. Let them make their decisions with just a bit of input from you.
I have a 13 year old, but I'm prepared for this. I have explained what I would do. I would take her to school, I would sit with her through every single class and walk her to her next one. : ) I'm cool like that.
My oldest did not want to go to school her entire Senior year.She was being bullied by a whole group of her ex-boyfriend's friends. My daughter is one tough cookie, but she was outnumbered and felt powerless to stop the bullying.
She took some of her classes by computer at the school, which limited her interaction with the bullies.She ended up graduating early.I am sooo thankful that she did.She just signed up for a full load of college classes.She will be studying culinary arts. She wants to own her own restaurant someday.
I was fortunate that I work for the school district she attended, and that I had a very understanding boss. There were days I was late to work, trying to coax her out the door.It was worth it, though.
I don't believe that teens or any other humans resist authority for no causation. I would say that there is something going on with this person. Have you sat down and listen, truly and open-mindedly listened to this person? I would suggest hearing out everything they have to say without judgement or taking anything personally. Even if it is voiced as a personal attack, the person may feel attacked and in pain.
I would get the book The Teenage Liberation Handbook, and read it. Invite your teen to read it. If they aren't amenable to reading right no (sometimes it might feel to schoolish) you can pull out some of the finer points and share them with your teen. Trust that your teen knows his/her self well enough to know that school isn't the right place for them at this point. If you are not ok with them dropping out of school perhaps you can make it possible for them to have a break. You can contact your SD and let them know that your teen is home schooling for a bit. And then give them a safe place to decompress.
I have read most of the post and would like to coment. I had 2 kids not wanting to go to school. The first a 16 year old daughter. I packed a bag for her and told her to go live her life and she did. She finished high school, went to collage and now her and her husband have 4 beautiful kids. She and I have a great relationship today. She has told me it was the best thing I could of done. I have a son that just had a hard time in school. He attended 3 different high schools and just was not interested. I put him in an alternitive school, in 6 weeks at 18 working at his own pace he graduated and even walked across the stage and is in collage now. My son just had a hard time sitting still all day. If i had not of stepped in and had a fight with the school I am afraid he would of never finished. Some things I was told by my grandmother. 1-make sure your kids respect you not fear you 2-never tell your kids this is my house, do what I say 3- never ever say because I said so, always give them a reason. I have 4 grown, well educated, well ajusted, very loving children.
here is what my mom told me.... " go to school or get a job and pay rent for your room" School sounded better than actually working so I went to school!!!!
Here in NZ, the school leaving age is 16.
However, decent qualifications are needed to get into tertiary education.
When we got to this stage last year with my son (now 17), we wrote up a list of what it costs to keep him... rent, power, food, clothes, transport, medications, Dr's visits, phone, etc.
Then we told him that if he didn't want to stay at school, he had to get a job that would earn him enough to live on, as his child support from his father stops if he finishes school and we couldn't afford to cover the difference.
He soon discovered that there weren't any jobs going that would employ him without any qualifications, and he had to have a set number of credits and show commitment to get into his career choice, so had to stay on at school and has put in more effort this year with having to repeat English.
He's now 17, and has just gone flatting and has a part-time job and has 10 weeks of school left for the year, then final exams. He's discovering it's very difficult in the outside world and that he doesn't actually know everything!! lol.
Maybe try to find out what she hates about school. My 16 year old HATED high school!He was and still is a great guy. He did great all the others years.It was so extreme that he developed food intorences and became very ill so his stomach was sick all day. He hated the clicks, hated the games the other kids played and hated the drama. He was enrolled in online school and was extremly responsible with it.
I haven't read too many of the responses here, but I guess I'm not as nice as some of the parents on here. My kids (both teenagers) know it's their job to go to school and get an education, should they fail to do their job, I have no problem reporting them to the local police. In our community, if the police aren't busy, they will physically take the child to school and drop them off, monitor their attendance and if that child leaves the school once they are dropped off, they then are taken to juvie and unfortunately let the court system take over.
I was a very rebellious teenager and know what teens are capable of, in looking back my parents should have put me into the juvie system, I may have straightened out a lot sooner than I did. Good Luck and God Bless!
Sometime, depending on the circumstances, a year homeschooling with lots of love and no peer pressure can allow a teen to grow up enough to handle the stresses of school. Supportive love and a safe haven at home can make those years tolerable. Some may need more time at home, then off to a community college as a duel enrolled student at 16 can make a huge difference in attitude and hope for a better future.
If a person sits back and recognizes what is going on in the "life" of a 16 year old, you will find more than just surface situations that would create the "need" to not go to school. I have found after many years of being a parent of three (oldest 26, youngest 18) that all too often, they are struggling with relational issues and really do not want to discuss at home . They feel, "we" are too old to understand. I have found that letting the child know that you are there and they can discuss anything with you, that you will not "judge", but try to help. Many homes are different, and I understand that this may not be the same in all households. However, I truly believe that when this topic is brought into the home, there is something that is lying down behind the scenes. Carefully, remove the walls that are there to find out the real source. This will bring a closer relationship to you and your children.
At 16, hopefully your child has the capacity for rational thought. Talk with your child AND REALLY LISTEN. I've found when I listen to my children and let them know I an listening, they open up. So many times my instinct is to nag when I really should shut the nagging and listen. I like the ideas of the community visits, but maybe as a volunteer thing. Work in a soup kitchen together.. not to show your teen their stupidity but to open their eyes lovingly to some of lifes more horrible realities. I found that talking to my teenager was not good... So I started facebooking, instant messaging, texting, and going for long drives... Here's the killer... Listening to his music on the car cd as well as my own. In two years your child will be an adult. You want to have established your love for your child regardless of their choices. You could also start an incentive scheme tying in life's luxuries to school attendance. We all remember the easy part if school but some of it is hard work... Reward it. Maybe a full day at school can be redeemed by fifteen minute driving lesson...or money towards an item your child has chosen on layby.
Your child may have severe anxiety issues. There is no miracle cure, but these are some things that got my teenager to leave his room and get to school:
1. We found a doctor who would prescribe anti-anxiety medication to our son. It's not a miracle cure, but it helped get his emotions closer to normal
2. We gave him time. We home schooled (very UNsuccessfully) for over a year. He didn't learn anything, but it gave him the time he needed to mature emotionally to the point where he wanted to attend school again.
3. We kept in close touch with our public school system, so they knew he was taking classes at home, and so they were ready for him when he was ready to return to school, one class at a time.
Remember, most states will keep a child in the public school system until they're 21. Our son is 16, and he would be entering his Junior year had he been in school on a normal schedule. Because he took so much time off, this Fall, he'll really be a second-term Freshman and will, hopefully, graduate when he's 20. That's OK! There's no rush.
He obviously is motivated to go. I talk with him about what he wants to do with his life, what his goals and dreams are. Tell you you want to help him reach his goals and together map out what he needs to do to get there. Many teenagers cannot see ahead to the consquences of their actions, and many don't realize how much education is needed to reach their goals. Just focus on helping him map that out. Once he has a goal and a vision and a demonstration from you that you are supportive, help him get going by making awesome breakfasts and taking him personally to school. He may be depressed, using substances that you are not aware of, or avoiding something bad at at at school. It could be bullying, but it also could be feeling too unattractive to get a date, not being able to do well in his classes, feeling he is not well dressed enough, or any number of things. Start taking him out for snacks and sitting across from him to get him talking. Gain his trust to get him communicating and trusting you.
I had the same problem with my daughter at that age.
When I found out she was skipping all the time, I started to bring her there myself, only to find out later that she was leaving out the opposite entrance or exit just as soon as she was dropped off.
So I realized I couldn`t force her to go unless I sat there with her.
I had a talk with her , found out a few things, Having her quit school was NOT an option, no way.
So I found an alternative school, where the teens can come and go ,pickup credits for doing extra things like volunteering , quilting....along of course with the regular school subjects.
They had to show up so many hours a week , submit assignments...and take responsibility.
It worked out better for my girl because she could do most of the assignments through an online affiliation with her school at home.
It wasn`t that easy at first, but if she didn`t submit her homework or do any homework for that matter, she simply wasn`t allowed out.
A year and half later she is still doing the work and is eager to finish, and she decided to get a job to, she works full time at a Walmart. She likes that, and the school really makes it easy for teens to make some choices about their lives . At least it gave my girl a chance to act a little more like an adult. lol
Maybe that`s why it`s working so well.
I wish they had that in my highschool years. And the best of all this school is free of charge, and it is there to help teens that are bullied in highschool. So they can learn in a calm stress free environment.
I found out about this type of program from her highschool.
If children could make good choices they wouldn't need parents!
does getting good grades guarentee you a good job in america cause it doesn't in the UK. i got the grades and still ended up in a supermarket cause i left school depressed and shattered from all the torment i got whilst at school. if your child just can't be bothered then i'd take them myself and hand them to a teacher but if its cause your child is unhappy then i'd try a different school and give them as much encouragement as possible and take a interest in their school day and homework,maybe they just needed a little extra help.it all depends on the individual circumstances.good luck x
Show them the life of people who don't finish school. I was friends with a lot of older people (mid twenties / early 30's) when I was a teenager and I saw first hand what happens when you don't finish school, they all regretted it and lived really crappy lives. Now, I quit school anyway when I was 15 (Yes, 15!) but I then got a GED as soon as I turned 16 and went straight to college, was the youngest in all my classes and also made it in to advanced classes. I suppose it was different for me, having above average intelligence really helped.
The idea of taking everything away from them is also a great one, tough love works when you need it. If Kili comes to me and says she's quitting school I will most definitely be taking everything away from her as well as letting her meet some people who decided they were "too cool for school" and see how their lives turned out.
I found out the hard way, some schools don't do enough to support the parent My son didn't have a problem going, he just didn't do any work once he got there- (sat in class and flirted with the girls, joked with the guys. He would also skip classes and go to the library, or once was found in the bathroom) His grades were horrible- this is a kid who is intelligent enough to pass gateway tests without studying- I tried taking privileges games, etc. He acted like he didn't care. Finally I told him he could take the natural consequences- do the work or next year he would still be in 9th grade while his friends went on to 10th and high school, His grades were D's and F's. Would you believe he PASSED!!?? I came off looking like an uncaring parent; my ex was fighting for custody through juvenile (not divorce/family court) This gave him the ammo to get the judge to give him custody as I was "not wanting to be a parent just a friend" since my methods had not worked. He had the typical teenage attitude that just because he didn't want it to happen it wouldn't. Within 6 months he went from no major behavior problems to getting kicked out of 2 schools for drug use, runaway several times, juvenile detention 4 times, now has a juvvie record from breaking in to a store with his drug-using "buddies" and his dad was arrested twice for child abuse, the police were called to his house at least twice a week due to power struggles (he had never had discipline at his dad's house during visitation-when he was younger, dad would call me and say "He won't go to bed" etc. and expect me to enforce his rules from my home or work. He now lives with his uncle, has much improved behavior but still problems skipping classes. Uncle let him quit but he had very restricted movement- no visits or friends at night or if rules broken. He has now voluntarily gone back to school and so far grades are good, effort is being made. I'm hoping and praying he has the maturity now to keep it up.
As a stay at home mom, I was hired one time to help a child get to school. Since I was in an MP unit during my military time. I showed up in military gear with my hand cuffs. School staff was on board. I went to school dressed like that one day. For some reason, the teenager decided it was better for her to go to school then "we" go to school.
Ask why, what's the problem - and do it in a friendly, concerned way, not an accusatory way that declares your way law. If a student was once happy at school and suddenly does a 180, Something's Seriously Wrong, JMO.
Once you find the problem, consider a solution - another school, home school, a private tutor - if it's the school itself, just one other student, a teacher, several students, is it bullying. Finding the problem gets you half way to finding a solution.
Kids do not test so far unless they are completely disrespectful, and no offense to anyone, but that's usually the fault of the people who raised them. Kids get out of control because they are allowed by their parents/guardians. If bad behavior is not nipped at the first sign, it will continue.
I say this as I have seen so many friends "complain" about how their kids are out of control, and turn right around and let their kids do whatever they want, no rules, no consequences for wrong doing, no punishment/discipline what-so-ever. And they wonder why their kids are out of control ?!?
Testing authority is one thing, having problems in school and having those problems cause the student to refuse to go to school is another , and just being disrespectful is yet another completely different matter. This question needs to be much more clarified before anyone can honestly answer it. Is it just testing authority ? Why ? Is there a problem ? What is it ? Disrespectful student ? Change it - give your student the respect they deserve, but demand (and earn) respect in return. JMO
First ,try to talk to your child about what is going on at school for them not to want to go. Then you decide about other options... If you feel it would be in you and your child best interest try online classes. Talk to your school they should give you the information on which online site to use to get credits in case your child would like to go back to high school later ( if they want to graduate with class ,prom etc.)
Good Luck ! :)
At that age there is not a lot you can do. If there are no ongoing bully problems etc., you just need to call the truant office and let them know your child is refusing to go to school.
that should not be an option. but in this case you need to see if they are haveing issue with their work or if someone is picking on them. seek help to see why the child refuse to go to school.