Tutor Doctor | Feb 24, 2014

Is Your Child Skipping School? Here's what to Do

Almost every student plays truant from time to time. Perhaps they feign illness or pretend to go to school only to end up skipping class. When this problem becomes chronic, your student could be facing bad grades or failed semesters. The key to dealing effectively with your child not wanting to go to school is to really understand the problem.

Find the cause

There are a number of reasons why your student may not be attending school. Perhaps they are overwhelmed and are not coping in class, or perhaps they have been bullied and are afraid to go to school. Anxiety from these kinds of issues can lead to physiological symptoms like stomach ache, headaches and nausea.

You can also explore other possibilities like not getting along with the teacher or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It’s vital that you understand the underlying causes of your child’s absenteeism if you are to effect a plan of action that can help them to overcome their difficulties.

Getting answers

Of course the first person you should talk to is your student. It’s important to remain calm and patient, even if they seem reticent to tell you. Remember that if they are feeling overwhelmed or if they are being bullied, they may be too embarrassed or afraid to tell you.

Speak with their teachers who have an excellent insight into what happens during school hours. Your child’s teacher and help to unravel the root causes of absenteeism and provide insight as to who may be influencing your student. Educators have excellent ideas or suggestions on how to solve the situation too. You should also speak with friends and other family members to make sure you understand the situation and see the whole picture. Chances are if the absenteeism is chronic, there may be more than one cause.

Plan of action

When formulating a plan of action to overcome the difficulties your student is experiencing, you need to include them in the discussion. When they are part of the planning, they are far more likely to be part of the solution.

Together, you should outline a very clear plan of action so that they feel supported and so that there is a structure in place and they know what’s expected of them. Address the underlying issues directly and get their input on how best to handle the situation. For example, if they are being bullied, they may not want you to get involved. In this case, you should discuss coping strategies and ways to deal with bullies.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Extraordinary circumstances call for strong measures, so don’t be afraid to ask family members for help. You can also rely on the teacher and principal for added support and help with formulating a realistic plan for overcoming difficulties. If your student feels overwhelmed, get a tutor to help them with their studies. If anxiety is an issue, speak with the school councilor about ways in which to offer support or getting counseling that will your student to cope.