Tuesday, July 7, 2015
by Carol Nalin, CPET
Parent Support Services, Paradigm Malibu
If you discover at some point that your child is not attending school, you’re probably upset and wondering exactly why he or she is not going to school. At first glance, you might think that your child is avoiding school because most children don’t want to go to school or to rebel or to avoid what he or she doesn’t like.
However, there might be a significant reason that you don’t yet know. For instance, there might be some bullying happening or your child might be having feelings of depression and feel left out from peer groups at school. Furthermore, your child might be experiencing a form of a mental illness, such as anxiety, and he or she doesn’t want you or friends to know.
So, the first step in trying to get your child to return to school is to uncover the source of the problem rather than jumping to conclusions. Furthermore, your child might be hiding report cards, throwing away letters from teachers, or avoiding discussions about classes. If grades are declining, children might be fearful of punishment or embarrassed to admit their failures. For this reason, get in touch with teachers. Email or call the school to be clear about how your child is doing academically. This will provide you with the information you need to support your child and to have a better understanding of what’s really going on.
Once you gather information, perhaps you’ll discover that it’s a social concern that is affecting his or her grades and attendance. Perhaps it’s apparent that it is a bullying problem, and not so much that your child doesn’t understand math. If it’s a social concern seek support through administration at school, other parents, or friends of your child who might have information about the social situations at school. Resources abound, such as the services Paradigm Malibu offers, to help you and your adolescent kid deal with teen social anxiety disorders.
If it is an academic issue, celebrate what is going right before diving into the problems. Make a list of the classes and assignments in which your child was successful. Having this as a spotlight first will be an easier platform from which to dive into addressing the problems.
Offer your child a helping hand with those subjects that are more complex. Sometimes getting out the textbooks on the dining room table can facilitate the start of getting work done. Even if you don’t know the complexities of the subject matter, working through problems with your teen is more effective than simply telling them how to do it.
Once you and your child are working together or at least you’ve discussed the root of the problem, set realistic goals. It’s easy for children to feel overwhelmed with work and in the end avoid the entire pile of tasks. Help them by breaking work down into bite size pieces so that it feels more and more manageable.
You might also want to have a discussion about school responsibilities, how it relates to his or her future, and the influence it can have on getting into college. In this conversation, you can get a sense of the authentic motivation of your child to do well in school. If that motivation is absent, perhaps finding alternative ways for your teen to child an education is the next step. If there is motivation to do well, your conversation can include what levels of support are needed to improve grades, such spending time doing homework together, tutoring, creating a daily structure that includes homework time, or even attending a different school that is more suitable for your child.
Furthermore, this discussion is an opportunity for you as the parent to encourage your child to exhibit his or her intellectual strengths. It’s also a time to share your belief in your child and to assist him or her in feeling good about who he or she is. One of the most essential needs of a child is to know that parents are there for support, structure, and love. These tips are only a few of many that might be useful in getting your child back on the academic track. Of course, sometimes, the only thing that works is putting your foot down. However, if the issue is a sensitive one where your child feels embarrassed or shameful of the problem, the better course of action might be one of the above.
About the Author
Carol Nalin, CPET, oversees Parent Support Services at Paradigm Malibu. For much of the last ten years she has veen providing Parent Effective Training and parent support services to families in a teen rehab setting. She is a certified PET trainer as well as founder and creator of The Parenting Pros, a Certified Anger Resolution Therapist and a Child Custody Mediator.
About Paradigm Malibu
Paradigm Malibu is a treatment program for teen depression, anxiety, substance abuse and any other mental health issues. For the latest news and commentary on issues relating to adolescent mental health, substance abuse and addiction recovery, please visit Paradigm
Malibu's blog and follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
FTC Disclosure: Paradigm Malibu and Carol Nalin provided all the content and images for this story, unless noted otherwise. However, no payment or other compensation was exchanged in connection with this post. Note that the information in this post is not a substitute professional advice and you should seek medical and/or mental professionals if you notice any unusual symptoms with your child. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's home page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.