Suzzette asks:

What do you do with a 14 year old who refuses to go to school. The school has no advice

child is ashame because she lives in a shelter.
child has emotional issues.
child needs professional help
In Topics: School and Academics, Teen issues, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 9, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

When a child refuses to do what they are told regardless of their age, we as parent have to first of all determine whether it is lack of skill that prevents them from doing this or lack of motivation.

Has it been thoroughly explored and determined that this child is capable of doing the work? This would involve a school psychologist's assessment and comprehensive report of the findings.

What is motivating this child to attend school? Is it more reinforcing to stay home than it is to go to school? What privileges do they have access to during the school day? Are they required to fill their day with academic tasks or chores, or do they sleep in, and do what they want during the day?

In the evening are they able to be with friends, talk on the phone, and use the computer to communicate with peers or engage in other enjoyable activities?

The goal is to make attending school each day more enjoyable and attractive then staying home all day.

If you are able to stay home to monitor and guide the activities of the day, this will be much easier to manage if not, make sure that privileges are not available.

In nearly every state, youth are required to attend school until age 16. If a parent does not support the law, it could result in charges against the parent. If the school has no suggestions, contact the Department of Education in your school district to ask for support.

There are times that a youth loses the privilege of living at home due to their noncompliant behaviors. There are residential facilities that include mandatory education that could be explored as options.

If you feel that it would help to talk through your situation, please don't hesitate to contact the Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000.  Counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide you with support and encouragement you might need.

Take care,
Pat, Counselor

Boys Town National Hotline

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