In order for your teen to take the next successful step into his future he should have it. While some teens feel that they will be okay without it, it is our job as responsible parents to encourage them to receive one – even if they don’t understand the reasons. Here is how to do that if your teen is thinking about not earning one:
1. Talk to your teen and get to the heart of the matter. What are her concerns about school? Have her list, in order of priority, her problems with finishing school. It has been my experience that high school dropouts start off with one or two problems and then they dig themselves a hole that they can’t get out of. But if we address and help with the problems they are facing, we can encourage our teens to move past them and finish school.
2. Take each one of these problems in order and address them with your teen. Do so using a helpful and encouraging tone of voice. When addressing a problem on their list, suggest ways to get outside help. Make this about your teen accomplishing an important task in their life with the help of all of those around him, not just something that can turn into a power struggle between the two of you.
3. Follow through on a daily basis at first, then weekly if things are going well. Each week you and your teen should assess the strategy you are using for each problem. Tweak the strategy when necessary. If things are not improving, seek more outside help buy calling the school guidance office and going in for an appointment together with your teen.
4. Keep on top of this issue. Often parents get caught up in life and problems with our almost independent teens fall to the wayside. Mark it off on your calendar to check-in and talk with your teen as see how it is going. He will notice how much importance you place on an education, so put forth your best effort.
If there are other problems that are keeping your teen from doing his best in school, you’ll need to address them first. Things like depression, stress, school violence, disabilities and disorders, bullying, problems with peers, drug use and gangs can all lead to your teen not wanting to earn their high school diploma. Be sure to assess when following the above steps if earning it is the problem or a symptom of something else.
Learn more about high school and your teen with these resources: