Even though your child may have loved going to school when he was younger, one day he woke up as a teenager and declared he didn’t want to go. Different factors can make teenagers dread school or have trouble succeeding at it. Getting as good an education as he can is important for your teen’s future career and success. Talk to him to determine a way to work through his school problems.
Your teenager may be facing several types of school problems. He may have to deal with other students constantly picking on, or bullying, him. He may struggle to understand and complete his assignments, either because they are too difficult for him or because he does not have the drive to pay attention. Your teenager may also be going through a rebellious phase, where he wants to find himself and will resist being told what to do by teachers and principals.
Talk with your teenager to find out what is causing his problems. For instance, if your teenager develops a sudden wish stay home or cut class, ask him how his classes are going and if the work is difficult. Also ask him if he is having any problems with his peers. According to the Merck Manual, if a student feels threatened by a peer or by the idea of going to a certain class, such as math or gym, he will come up with ways to avoid the thing he fears.
For some teenagers, moving to a new school or transitioning from middle school to high school can upset their academic life. Help your teenager adjust by teaching her time management and organization skills. Have her write down all her assignments and the date they are due and arrange her homework by how large the assignment is and its due date. Dedicate a special area for her to do her homework, either in her bedroom or in a part of your home office. Tell her to focus on completing one assignment at a time. During homework time, block access to the phone or television.
Solving the Bully Problem
If your teenager is the victim of bullying, it may be difficult to get him to talk to you about it. He may be scared that the bully will come after him more if he tattles. Since bullying can have negative long-term effects on your teen, you need to do something to stop it. Focus Adolescent Services, based in Salisbury, Md., recommends that you tell your teenager’s teachers about the bullying and hold them accountable for punishing the bully. You may need to get the police involved if the bullying does not stop or if your teen is physically injured by a bully.
Some school problems are a result of your teenager partaking in dangerous behavior. If you notice a sudden drop in your teenager’s grades, school attendance and general attitude, and he is not the victim of a bully or struggling with assignments, he may be abusing drugs or alcohol. Have an open conversation with your teenager about drug abuse. Explain to him the dangers involved and ask him outright if he has used drugs. If it is drug use that is causing his school problems, you may need to take him to a counselor or a rehabilitation program.