Truancy affects other people's kids, right? Until the day you find out that your own teenager is regularly bunking off school, and simply shrugs when you confront him or her about it.
It's a shock to find out that your teenager is a truant. And then, even worse, you find out that the school isn't doing much about it... you're on your own.
One Mumsnetter explains: "I had reason to believe my 15-year-old daughter had been skipping school so went in to see what her attendance record looked like and she's missed whole sessions, and even a whole day, in the last few weeks. When I confronted her she told me the head of year had already spoken to her about it! I have now spoken to the school, but I'm furious they didn't tell me in the first place if they were already aware there was a problem. If I hadn't gone into school, I'd still be none the wiser."
What do you do if your child is truanting?
Truancy is a serious issue because it means your child is thinking outside the box - that he or she is questioning authority, big-time. It's a wake-up call because it means that the way you've disciplined him up to now, using authority figures outside your family, eg teachers and the head teacher to back you up, won't work any more.
"Truancy is a serious issue because it means your child is thinking outside the box - that he or she is questioning authority, big-time. It's a wake-up call because it means that the way you've disciplined him up to now, using authority figures outside your family, eg teachers and the head teacher to back you up, won't work any more" Freckle
What you have to do is keep your cool: this isn't a moment to go OTT. On the other hand, you have to make sure your teen gets the message that opting out of school is a serious decision and it can have dire consequences - such as (eventually) being excluded (this may not sound like a sanction!) and not being able to take exams.
This mum advises: "Arrange a meeting with you, your son, head of year, form tutor and the head? Make him realise it's a big deal, and you're entirely on the school's side, to nip it in the bud. Tell him if he ever does it again, you'll remove something he loves (computer games? half his clothes? pocket money?) <grasping at straws>
Talking to other parents who've grappled with the same issues can help arm you with new tactics and a fresh perspective: the Parenting teenagers Talk board is there 24/7 to facilitate just that.
- Visit our Teenagers home page
- Talk to other parents about teenagers
- Talk about secondary education
- Why do children run away? Advice and information from The Railway Children