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beata
beata asks:
Q:

My son skips classes a lot. Is this normal for a kid who is in grade 9?

He just start a high school this year but has problem to commit staying in classes. I read your paper that the school is not challenging enough but in his situation he has trouble to learn.
In Topics: Motivation and achievement at school, Teen issues, Getting ready for college
> 60 days ago

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Expert

MomSOS
Dec 6, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

While it is certainly normal for kids to skip class occasionally, an ongoing problem might indicate something going on academically, psychologically, socially or more than one of the above. My suggestion is to refrain from overreacting, but do take the behavior seriously if it has become chronic.

You might try these three suggestions.
First, consult with the school, preferably the guidance counselor and a teacher who might know your son. Consider the school a partner in caring for the well being of your child.  See if you can sort out what is going on in the school setting.  If a problem is uncovered, the staff can work to correct it.

Next, put consequences in place. Rather than lecture your son on the importance of an education, in an attempt to get him to see the light, state firmly and lovingly how important school is, and then, your intention to set consistent limits, with consequences, with regard to your son's skipping classes.  Make the limits reasonable for yourself.  In other words, do not ground him for a month if he skips.  If the limits the parents set are too hard to follow up on, and they do not follow up, they lose leverage.  Also, discuss with the school what limits and consequences they are offering to decrease this acting out.

And do consider what stress might be going on in your son's life outside of school.
Sometimes when there is a problem with peers or in the home, the child will act out in school.  Kids do not usually tell you when they are bothered by something.
More often than not, they will act it out in their behavior.

Take heart.  Your son is demonstrating that there is something that needs to be dealt with. There is every reason to hope that you can uncover and resolve the problems with some diligent investigation and some assistance from the school.

Bette J. Freedson, LICSW, LCSW, CGP
Clinical Social Worker
JustAsk Expert

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williamsjohn
Nov 28, 2009
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Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
Is this normal for a kid who's in 9th grade?  Yes and no.  Statistically most students don't skip class, but there are those who do.  

Most of the time, I think students skip class not because it's not challenging enough, but because they don't feel they can succeed in the classroom, they skip.  

If you can tap into his passion - something that he gets excited to do - and tie his doing well in school to his ability to follow his passion, then you'll find it easy to get him motivated.  

Here's what I've also found helps:

1. Determine your child's learning style.  Most students, even those who are getting the A's and B's don't know their learning style and spend a lot of time studying in ways that are good, but not the best.  

2. Find out your child's motivation style.  We are all not motivated the same way.  Here's a personality tool that helps students realize their core motivation: http://www.toptenskills.com/downloads/numbertyping_toptenskills.pdf

3. Have clear consequences and rewards based on his grades, attendance, and getting homework accomplished.  Having both negative and positive consequences is key.  

Hope this helps.  I think you'll find the personality tool fun - and useful.

John
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Additional Answers (2)

Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
I would say "no" it is not normal. If it doesn't sound right, then 98% of the time it is not. I would talk to your son one on one. There is an issue here its up to you to find out why he is not staying in class. This is your parental responsibility and I would not budge on the issue.
> 60 days ago

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washingtonschoolsaas
washingtons... writes:
I experienced that every child entering highschool has a rebelling stage where they feel a certain change that they would like to take control of . Sometimes this is a phase but other times if it is not reconigzed for what it is it could escalate into a future.
> 60 days ago

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