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My Son Has Given Up On School. Now What?

It isn’t uncommon for teens to hit snags in their education, particularly teenage boys who are high-energy and have a tough time sitting through 7-8 hours of school a day. A few bad grades and failed tests can be overcome with study and make-up work.

But, if your son has given up on school entirely, there are other steps you need to take aside from just encouraging your son to try harder.

Talk With Your Son About Why He’s Given Up

While you may think you know why your son has given up on school, it is important that you discuss why he gave up. For one thing, it is important that your son knows that you understand why he wants to give up on school permanently. Also, your teenage son’s reasons might surprise you.

For instance, you may believe that it is due to falling behind in school. But, it may turn out that your son started falling behind in school because he was being bullied, and to avoid being bullied, he started to skip classes with his bullies, sometimes skipping school altogether. As his grades fell behind and the bullying continued, your son may feel more hopeless and rather give up, as it is likely he doesn’t know how to fix his issues.

Until you know the full story of why your son has given up on school, you can’t effectively help him move forward and change his mind.

Discuss His Future With Him Without School

Once you understand your son’s motivations and mindset, talk about his potential future with him. For one thing, the earning potential for someone who hasn’t graduated high school is very low. According to research done by the US Bureau Of Labor Statistics, men without even a high school diploma often earn an average of $520 a week, for a monthly average of $2,080.

Even if money isn’t the main motivator for your son, his future career dreams can be. Depending on what kind of future he wants, finishing at least high school is often a prerequisite.

Focusing on the future has helped many of our students at Sundance Canyon Academy, as it gives them something to work towards that is meaningful. So, this tactic can help your son become more receptive to the idea of not giving up on school.

Meet With His Teachers

After you have your son on board with trying to get back on track with school, it’s time to bring in his teachers. Many teachers are willing to help students who want to try and catch up and already have make-up systems in place. You may have to set up individual conferences with each subject matter teacher and develop individual plans to help get your son back on track.

As you go into these meetings, remember to be kind to the teachers, who have often taken the brunt of poor behavior from both students and parents. The more flexible and kind you are, the more likely your son’s teachers will be happy to work with you and him.

Get Involved With His Homework

Getting a load of make-up work can be the first step to your son trying in school again. However, since the teacher has already covered this material, it can be tough for your son to catch up on his own again. If you are able to, try and offer your help in explaining tough subjects and help him research questions you aren’t sure how to answer.

Another aspect of being involved in your son’s homework is to ensure he is actually doing it. Set up a dedicated quiet time for homework, and check-in when your son says he is done.

Hire A Tutor

Not all of us are able to effectively tutor our children. Whether it’s a lack of subject matter knowledge or difficulty teaching in general, there is no shame in bringing in someone who can specifically tutor your child.

Also, with a tutor, your son may be less inclined to get sassy or be afraid of looking dumb when he doesn’t know how to do something. You can also check to see if there are free after-school tutoring programs at your son’s school.

Have Your Son Attend Therapy

Feeling so defeated by school that they want to give up is not a usual teenage reaction. Even if it is just for a few sessions, your teen son may benefit from attending therapy.

In therapy, he can work with a therapist to develop better coping methods than simply giving up when faced with difficult problems. While in therapy, if there are other emotional or behavioral issues associated with wanting to give up on school, these can also be addressed.

Consider A Residential Treatment Center For Troubled Teens

For teenage boys that struggle with extreme behavioral or emotional issues along with academic failure, a residential treatment center for troubled teen boys is an option. These facilities combine therapy, academic recovery, and structure to help struggling teenage boys get their lives back on track when all other options fail.

While your son may never become a scholar or even a straight A’s student, with your help, he can make his way through his high school education and find future success.

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