Questions from Concerned Parents: My Teenage Son Hates School, What Do I Do?
Even the best students hit a point where they say that they hate school. However, a common early sign of troubled teen behavior is academic struggles. It is so common that our school for troubled teens often have parents ask how we handle schooling to help their teenage sons get back on track.
So, if it has become a routine theme for your teenage son to express how much he hates school, here are some steps you can take.
Start By Talking With Your Son About School
While your teen son may be open about the fact that he hates school, it is likely he hasn’t given much of a reason why he hates it. Start by opening the dialogue with your son and ask them about why he dislikes his school. Be sure to keep your questions specific rather than vague and broad.
For instance, a question like, “Why do you hate school?” may be too broad for your son to really find the words to explain. Narrowing the question down with a yes or no answer can help you work from there.
So, instead of asking an overarching question about school, ask if your son is having a hard time with any of his classes. Yes is the likely answer in this case, and from there, you can ask what classes he is having difficulty in and work from there.
Check For Problems Between Teacher And Teen Son
Sometimes, the reason why your teenage son hates school is friction with one or more of his teachers. This friction can create significant academic problems as many teenage boys will often skip classes where they don’t get along with the teacher or refuse to do their homework.
Many teachers are willing to work with their students and the parents of their students to get teens back on track academically. So, after talking to your son about their issues with their teacher, it is time to start working with the teacher in question.
It is also possible that the teacher is the problem, but even if they are, it is best that you approach the teacher with openness and understanding. You are far more likely to have a positive outcome for your parent-teacher conference with that kind of attitude.
Should the teacher be resistant to working with you and your son, then it’s time to go up the ladder to the school administration and work with them for a resolution.
Have Son Tested For Learning Delays
Many students manage to skate by academically all while struggling with learning delays or other learning handicaps. However, high school can be more challenging, and the cracks can start to show in your teen’s usual coping methods.
Some parents believe that having their teen diagnosed with a learning delay or disability will just label their teen and set their already struggling teen up for failure. However, a proper diagnosis can help unlock needed strategies to help your teen succeed again.
Also, proof that your teenage son needs further considerations academically means that you can ensure he receives an Individual Educational Plan (IEP). With an IEP, your son can receive accommodations from extra time for tests, quiet rooms for increased concentration, and other considerations that can help him thrive academically rather than hate school.
Consider Mental Health
Mental health issues can also cause learning issues, and it is not uncommon for teens with learning delays to also struggle with issues like depression and anxiety. As you are having your son tested for learning delays, it can help for your teen to see a mental health specialist to be sure that there aren’t other hidden issues.
Find Out If Your Son Is Being Bullied
Bullying can be another significant reason why your son hates school. Some parents dismiss bullying as something that all children go through, like a rite-of-passage into adulthood. However, bullying can have severe consequences for the bully’s target.
The target of bullying can suffer from depression, social isolation, anxiety, academic struggles, and in some severe cases, commit suicide. All you have to do a quick internet search for suicide after bullying, and you will find an unnerving amount of news stories about young children and teens who have committed suicide due to unrelenting bullying.
Cyberbullying is on the rise with social media becoming the new battlefront. In these cases, teens can’t escape the harassment. Even though there may not be physical altercations happening at school, there could be gossip and isolation caused from classmates taking part in cyberbullying.
If your son is being bullied, it is time for you to step in. First, reassure your son that you support him and make it clear that home is his safe space. Next, talk to your son about his bullying encounters. If he has any concrete evidence such as social media messages or texts, have him share them with you. That way, when you go to confront his school about the bullying situation—as that is likely the source of the bullying—you can back up your concerns and get help for your son.
Help Son Address Low Grades
Should your teenage son be struggling academically and fall behind his peers, he may believe there is no way to catch up again. Seeing low grades can add to that discouragement, and your teenage son may want to just give up and fail out.
Often, teens require active support from their parents to get their grades back up, especially if there is more than one class where their grades are poor. You and your son can work one-on-one with your son’s teachers on plans to help bring his grades back up. Also, a tutor can be an invaluable resource.
While you may have understood algebra 2, chemistry, and other subjects well enough when you took the classes, it has likely been years since you looked at any of the information. Instead of frustrating yourself and your son, bringing in a professional tutor who has a background in the needed subjects can be one of the best ways to catch your teen back up to his peers’ academic level.
Consider More Supportive Schooling Options
There are many different learning styles, but the public school education system tends to just utilize one and push all students through. If your son is struggling with mental health issues, learning delays, low academic performance, or a combination of issues, this method is not likely to help him thrive.
Rather than have your son flounder without the assistance he needs, a boarding school for troubled teens may be the solution. At a school like Sundance Canyon Academy, your teenage son will have smaller class sizes, tutors, remedial classes, as well as a personalized care plan that incorporates immersive therapy. With greater support, your son can receive the needed support to succeed.
If you would like to learn more about our boarding school for troubled teens and if it is a good fit for your teen son, feel free to contact us. We are ready to answer any questions you have and help you make the best decision for your son.