16 Feb How to stop my child from skipping school
How can I stop my child from skipping school?
School is the place where kids develop the skills they need to be successful in life. It’s also where they learn things like communication, sharing, discipline and the list goes on.
As adults, we fully understand the importance of education and how it can open doors for us that just wouldn’t have been there before.
But would you have listened if someone told you that when you were at high school?
To really encourage our kids to engage in school, we first need to understand why they’re exhibiting poor attendance in the first place.
Reasons young people are skipping school
Kids skip school for a whole range of reasons.
Some of the most common reasons kids skip class include:
- Lacking interest – either because course content is too easy or too hard
- Learning difficulties
- Bullying or violence
- Peer pressure and wanting to fit in
- Lack of parental presence
- Mental health
- Unstable home life
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Knowing they can get away with it
Of course, a large number of kids skip school once or twice just to try it out and test whether they can get away with it.
If this is the case, it’s probably not something you need to be alarmed about. On the other hand, if your child is falling into a pattern of recurrent truancy over a period of time, this is likely when you’ll want to get involved.
Find out why your child is skipping school
One of the very first things we, as parents, need to do is discover why they’ve decided to wag school. What is it about school that they just can’t bear to see / do / experience?
If it’s as simple as disinterest, testing the waters or maybe even peer pressure, you can likely help your child work through it in a constructive way.
If, however, they’re having difficulty keeping up, they’re being bullied, they’re struggling with mental health or they’re getting involved with drugs and alcohol, it’s a good idea to reach out to relevant authorities and organisations for additional help.
Start by having a chat with their schoolteacher to get a better idea of what goes on when they are at school.
Treat school as a positive experience
With so much negativity surrounding school from students, parents and even the media, it’s easy to understand why kids might have a negative view about it.
Every time your child is exposed to negative views about schooling, it reinforces this growing belief they have that school is bad or a waste of time.
To help change their perception, you also need to change your own. Speak about classes in an excited, interested and encouraging way. When talking about a teacher, speak about them respectfully and make sure your child does the same.
It might sound a bit silly but the more you enforce positivity in relation to school, the more it will begin to reflect back in your child.
Find ways to help them enjoy school
Another useful technique is to flip the conversation on its head. What does your child really like about school? It might be playing sport, catching up with friends, playing music and the list goes on.
Whatever it is, encourage them to pursue these things and help them to identify other things they might enjoy about school. Maybe you could introduce them to afterschool sport or other extracurricular activities. For them to be a part of these things, they will first have to attend school – making the school grounds a much more attractive place to be to a resistant teen.
Demonstrate the importance of learning
It’s all well and good to tell your child that it’s important for their future to go to school, but why should they believe you if you yourself don’t engage in continual learning?
Yes, you can tell them that they’ll get a bad job, or they’ll have no money if they don’t go to school but will this be effective? Probably not. The future is a far off and abstract concept to youn people, so it probably won’t hold much weight.
Instead, actively involve yourself in the types of learning activities you want them to engage in; leading by example and demonstrating why you enjoy learning is far more effective.
Don’t barter with them or offer incentives
Many parents fall into the trap of bribing their kids to go to school in the hopes that it will get them to stay there.
The issue with this tactic is that they’ll probably do it again to see what else they can get out of you.
At the end of the day, school is something that is required of them, so they don’t deserve to be treated for their attendance.