Mum shares her battle trying to get her teenager to attend school every day.
Oh boy, I know this feeling!
The concerned mum shared, “My teenager is not getting up in the mornings to go to school. He has his alarm set, we wake him up and his friend comes over to pick him up.
“But so far this year he has had more days off than what he has been to school.
“He is a good kid and is at the top of all his classes but he just doesn’t see the relevance in going to school because he isn’t learning anything. Any ideas on how to get him motivated?”
My first question is always, do they play computer games? Are they getting enough sleep?
Lots of mums have also suggested maybe something is going on at school? Is the child being bullied? Maybe you need to look at extension classes if the child is bored? Others suggested a trip to the doctor wouldn’t hurt to check iron levels and maybe Vitamin D.
There is always so much to consider when a child refuses to attend school. My 10 year old has had quite a few “my tummy is sore” days this term and I know he is having some issues at school so I try to limit giving in to his anxiety and explain to him why he might be feeling “unwell” and that yes it is a real feeling, but sometimes going to school is the best thing you can do.
What the experts say
Marjory Phillips, a clinical psychologist at the Child Development Institute in Toronto told Today parents, “Don’t say, ‘Here we go, I’m going to be late for work again,’” because that just locks you into a power struggle with your kid. “Instead, say, ‘It looks like you’re having a hard time this morning. Are you worried about something at school?’”
“It could be that academic expectations are hard. Or your kid might be having difficulty with a friend or is feeling bullied,” says Phillips.
Social worker, James Lehman, says it’s important to correctly identify the problem.
Problem-solving skills require problem-identifying skills.
Parents who are not equipped to do this should seek cognitive-behavioral oriented help.
Secondly, parents need to decide what motivational tools they can use to reward kids who get out of bed on time consistently, which to me says that they solved the problem of getting out of bed successfully.
And third, don’t be afraid to use and enforce consequences and limits.
There are consequences to not meeting responsibilities in the world, and that should start when you’re a child.
Don’t make it fun for them to stay home. Limit what they can do and restrict screen time and outdoor play etc.
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