|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Seventh-Graders Who Skip School

Middle School Expert Advice from Connie Collins

Q: I have two seventh-graders. I just found out that they both have been truant from school for three days. I am at my wits' end with them. I work all day and a sitter takes them to school. How do I make sure that they go to class?

A: Truancy can be a major stumbling block in an adolescent's development -- educationally and emotionally. I am not sure if this truancy is a pattern or something the boys just tried for the first time. When you say you are at your wits' end, I am supposing that there are other issues that have caused problems.

So, I first suggest that you contact your children's counselor and teachers and meet with them and your sons to learn exactly what's happening, and what the school's consequences for truancy are. Then, work out a plan to help them succeed. If your school has a student resource officer, enlist his/her assistance. Let the boys experience the consequences of the truancy.

Set up a consequence if and when this happens again: You will have the truant officer pick them up. Tell them calmly that this will happen if they choose to cut classes.

If there is no truant officer, you might try going to school with them and following them through the whole day. This will usually stop the cutting of classes. Teens just get too embarrassed. I also know this means you would have to take off work and that's difficult, but my experience has been that it works and most parents find it worth taking time off.

If you are experiencing many problems with your children, I urge you to enroll in a parenting class through your school. Family service agencies or sometimes juvenile corrections departments have them. These classes offer support and ideas on how to relate to your children. You can also check out some books or videos from your public library on parenting skills. All parents need help sometimes!

More on: Expert Advice

Connie Collins, professional school counselor, worked for 35 years in public education as a teacher and counselor at the middle school and secondary levels. Collins worked daily with the parents of the students in her various schools, and has facilitated several parenting groups.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Top 10 Group Halloween Costumes for Families
These store-bought and Pinterest-inspired Halloween costume ideas for groups are the perfect way to show off your creative side at your Halloween party or while trick-or-treating.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

12 Spine-Tingling Halloween Movies for Teens
Are you looking for a movie with just a little bit of spook-factor for your teen? Check out these 12 spine-tingling Halloween movies!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!