My Teen Refuses To Go To School

How can parents deal with a teen that refuses to go to school? Especially if you have a high school student that is only credits away from graduating, how can you convince them the importance of a diploma?

This has become a quite problem with parents around the country and extremely challenging. Some teenagers today, with the explosion of social media, believe they will become the next influencer that will make millions. Why do they need school?

Image courtesy of Pexels, Eren Li.

Does your teen:

-Refuse to get out of bed?
-Say they do not need school?
-Go into a rage when you force them to go?
-Skip classes when they go to school?
-Fail when they are capable of passing?

“My teenager refuses to go to school, what can I do?” 

As a parent, it is normal to become extremely frustrated, worried, and even angry with this situation. Your teen is telling you how stupid school is — they will never use algebra; history is stupid or they hate their teachers.

Although most parents are upset and have feelings of anger, it’s important to stay calm to determine how to best address this issue. Lecturing, threatening, or yelling at your teenager about school attendance will likely create more anxiety and animosity.

3 Common Reason Teens Refuse to Go To School

Although there could be legitimate reasons, it is important to explore why your teen is avoiding school and how you can resolve this problem.

1. Mental health. Do you suspect your teen is struggling with depression, anxiety, stress or an emotional issue that could be preventing them from wanting to be in crowds or with others?

Like an adult battling depression or any mental disorder, interacting with peers and teachers, doing schoolwork, or participating in their extracurricular activities can be paralyzing to them. It is crucial you seek help either from the school counselor or a local adolescent therapist.

2. Bullying and cyberbullying. Today, cyberbullying is more prevalent than bullying since it’s far-reaching and the emotional impact can be extremely devastating. Sexting scandals are spreading throughout the country as teens quickly are becoming victims of inappropriate images they sent unknowingly that have spread online.

Whether your teen is a target of verbal bullying or cyberbullying, it can make it exceedingly difficult for them to attend class, let alone school in general.

3. Home life. Is there family conflict or stress in your home right now? Although we never intend it to impact the kids, unfortunately these situations — whether it’s an impending divorce or possibly a family member is seriously ill, can affect our children.

Family therapy (or possibly someone your teen respects) can sometimes help your teenager better understand that by them not going to school, is only adding more stress to an already stressful situation. Having an objective person mediate can be helpful.

In conclusion

These are some of the reasons that teens refuse to go to school, and a great place for parents to start in opening their conversations. Communicate calmly and sincerely, your expectations and help your teen work through any concerns one step at a time. Giving your teen the appropriate tools, support, and resources for overcoming the root of the problem, attending school should be expected.

When your teen recognizes you are being supportive and acknowledging their feelings, (without anger), they are more likely to succeed in school.

Is your teen still refusing to attend school? Remote learning is not working? Are they refusing therapy? Outpatient treatment has failed. You have considered other school settings (such as switching schools) – that didn’t work? Maybe had an evaluation in a short-term hospital stay that was unsuccessful?

It may be time to learn more about therapeutic boarding schools and why they work when home programs fail.

Also read:

5 Benefits of Boarding Schools for Troubled Teens.

How Behavior Modification Helps Troubled Teens.

 The Effects of Cyberbullying On Teenager Mental Health.


Are you considering an educational therapeutic boarding school for your troubled teen? Contact us for a free consultation to learn more about quality boarding schools.


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