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Suzzette
Suzzette asks:
Q:

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

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Expert

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
1-800-448-3000
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Additional Answers (3)

blainc
blainc writes:
well i have 3 14 year olds and boy will they refuse not to go to school.you should talk to them calm them down and ask the principial if there is anything going bad in her school.if not let her relax with you for a day and then take her to the doctor just in case ok goodbye
> 60 days ago

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Dr.Monika
Dr.Monika , Child Professional writes:
Sounds like the teen is in a tough situation.  Adolescence is stressful as it is when teens try to figure out who they are and where they are headed.  When living in a shelter is added into the equation, the stress level goes up exponentially due to being displaced, having atypical family situation, or experiencing  various life misfortunes.  All that can contribute to feeling different than peers, or even ashamed and depressed.

The teen in question might have emotional disturbances related to her life experiences.  The first step would be to provide her with counseling and evaluation by a mental health professional.

Please read this article about childhood depression:
http://www.pluggedinparents.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=450&Itemid=0
> 60 days ago

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jtran8424
jtran8424 writes:
The teacher needs to work with the  parent or guardian to set up a daily reinforcement and monthly reinforcement system. This will require daily notes home wherein the teacher will determine if the behavior deserves a plus and will mark a plus on the calendar for that day. For a weekend special, the student will require 4 out of 5 daily plusses. A weekend special is an activity with a friend out of the home, and otherwise inhome activities. For 5 plusses every day for the week, the student gets an activity out of the  home, AND has the entire weekend to go out and have activities with his/her friends.

If the student goes to school 3 days, the student will have an indoor weekend but has availability to movies and video game players. If the student goes to school two or only 1 day, the student will have an indoor weekend without movies of game players. If the student manages to have a weekend special every week in the month, the student will be awarded with a second weekend special.

What is a weekend special? This is largely determined by what you think is appealing to your child and is affordable over the long term, such a a video rental, a movie rental, a trip to the mall, a $5/10 spending money,  a trip to McDonalds (with a friend), going to the movies (with a friend), a $5/10 gift card to their favorite store, perhaps admission to a museum (with a  friend). You know your child, so you know what he/she would make it worthwhile for them to go to school.

It is equally as good for the parent to keep a calendar of plusses (no minusses, that's punitive and unnecessary, and will be discouraging) at home as the teacher  keeps a calender at school as visual reminders of success, and the teacher may choose to have a daily reinforcement, such as a piece of candy or a trip to the grade home office after they check in at home room for a congrats and to keep it up.

I'm sure there are other ideas, but this is a positive method which focuses on success and ignores failure as the lack of a plus is evidence enough, and no  harping on the how many plusses the child didn't get, but emphasizing and rewarding the number of plusses the child does get. It makes the whole attendance issue a challenge to reach toward the best the child can achieve, and when the concept is explained to the child, it has to be explained in a positive way (i.e. if you achieve 2 plusses you earn..., if you achieve 4 plusses you earn...). Keeping it all positive makes it a positive challenge that your child will see as an easy way to get something worthwhile.

I hope this helps.
> 60 days ago

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