Problems with Skipping School
The majority of parents recognize the fact that children cannot learn effectively without going to school. Skipping school or some classes hinders students from gaining academic success which in turn may limit their capability to become financially successful in the future. Parents, being the primary authority figures responsible for their children, definitely play a big role in reducing juvenile truancy.
What are effective consequences and punishments for skipping school? There are several traditionally accepted means of imposing discipline to children who purposefully and regularly skip classes.
Parents may choose to withhold privileges as a form of discipline. Withholding privileges may also reduce the distractions to teens’ studies. Restricting your teen’s access to the internet, phone privileges, or use of a family vehicle may be helpful. It may also help to impose a stricter curfew or shortening/curtailing time spent outside the house during weekends. As with any kind of punishment or consequences, what is more important is being consistent about imposing them in order to effectively communicate the seriousness of your stand on the matter.
It’s also important to communicate with your child what the school’s policies are regarding truancy and reiterate that you will not protect them from these consequences. Many schools impose detention and in cases of regular teen truancy, even suspension or community service. There are also some states where school attendance is mandatory and habitual truancy can result in parents and their children getting into some trouble with the law. The worst thing that a parent can do is shielding their children from the consequences of their mistakes by making false excuses for them.
Beyond the Punishment
The best kinds of consequences imposed for bad behavior are those that lead young people to learn valuable lessons. For example, parents who deal with teens constantly skipping school may opt to address the issue a different way. They may try to set reasonable academic goals for their children. If they meet this goal, they receive a reward. If they don’t meet this goal, some of their privileges will be restricted until the goals are met.
This way, children focus on the real goal rather than just on school attendance. They also learn for themselves that when they don’t stay in school, they most probably can’t meet their academic goals. After all, parents want their children to stay in school not just for the sake of school attendance but for the sake of learning what they need to learn in order to advance to the next stages of their academic life.
When a teen consistently skips school, it’s a good idea for parents to take extra measures in order to keep their teens in line. Here are a few suggestions that may be helpful.
- Keep track – Parents can request the school to notify them if their teen is absent, regardless of whether the absence is excused or not. If possible, have your own system to track the attendance of your teen in school (like an attendance log signed by their teacher).
- Investigate – Ask your teen if there are any specific reasons why he doesn’t want to go to school. Is he being bullied? Are there classes that he’s scared to attend because he’s not confident about his performance in it? Are there gang problems in the area? Talk to your child’s guidance counselor and teachers to find out if he has begun hanging out with a bad crowd.
- Explore alternative solutions – For parents who continuously have a hard time keeping their teens in school, it may be best to explore other alternatives. Depending on the reason your child is skipping school, possible solutions may include homeschooling, encouraging your child to see a therapist, transferring your child to a different school in order to avoid bad crowds, and others. In some cases, sending teens to therapeutic boarding schools may help stabilize them emotionally before reintegrating them to mainstream schools.
There are many possible reasons why teens skip school, and while consequences and punishments for skipping school is an important means of behavior modification, it is not enough. Finding out the underlying reasons why your child is unmotivated to go to school (or motivated not to go to school) is the best way to help them get back on the right track.
According to NCJRS (National Criminal Justice Reference Service), teens skipping school will cause them to lose interest in school activities as well as lowers their confidence and ability to complete their schoolwork. Statistically speaking, juvenile truancy causes many students to get left behind or prevents them from graduating from high school. Researchers also show that children and teens that constantly skip school are also more likely to participate in daytime crimes such as vandalism, shoplifting, drug use and others.
The most common reasons for teen truancy are oversleeping, rebelliousness, or wanting to spend more time with friends outside of school. However, there may be other reasons for wanting to skip school such as health issues, academic failure, school environment, bullying, substance & drug abuse, and their home environment.
Finding the underlying reasons for skipping school habitually is an essential part of reducing truancy among teens. Truant teens will only stop skipping classes and begin giving their best in school when they are convinced personally that this is the right decision to make.