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I'm posting this on behalf of a non-mumsnetter friend at her request as she is at her wits' end and desperate for any advice from people who have been through this.
Her 16 year old son started college this past autumn. He's already failing to go, staying in bed, even when she goes in to his bedroom and asks him to get up. His general response is, "I'm not a child any more, Mum."
When she has asked if there is any issue or concern keeping him from going, he's said no.
Naturally, she's really worried that he's going to be kicked off his course for poor attendance.
Now, whilst I could give her all the recycled chat about kicking his feckless 16 year old arse out / reading him the riot act / not taking the crap etc, as my eldest son is only just skimming secondary school age, I don't feel I have enough experience in the area to really know what actually might have a chance of getting through to him.
I suppose the ultimate lesson would be for him, in fact, to get chucked out of college and learn the really hard way, but of course that doesn't seem desirable if it can be avoided. He's essentially a lovely and very bright young man. Halp, mumsnet!
Purty, I had this problem with DS for 2-3 years. The most successful tactics were (a) disengaging, as brighter suggests ( "Right, well it's up to you... but if you don't go, X,Y and Z will happen" ) and (b) paying him (£2/day if he attended, no other cash during term-time - it worked for over a year).
Thank you all so much for these responses. There's a lot here; I'm sure she'll want to explore a few.
Like I said, I too played hookey from college, and it wasn't that I didn't like my course, it was that I was feckless, self-regarding, and seeing how far I could push the system, if I'm honest. Thankfully I've done a lot of growing up and plenty of soul-searching since then