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ds (16) wants to drop out of school

(33 Posts)
ErnesttheBavarian Sat 23-Jul-16 22:18:53

He has 2 years left, about to start the German equivalent of A Levels. Says he finds studying hard, though he is very bright but he cannot concentrate and he is bored by school.

He wants to be off, out there, travelling, running his own business. sigh. I think his fantasies and reality are so far apart. He seems to think he can do ad hoc translating work which will find his lifestyle.

He is incredibly stubborn and determined and really digs his heals in. he has always been like this. if you tell him to do something he will totally rebel. Definitely need to convince him subtly of what to do before he'll do it.

So, Tuesday, all set for the big talk. In a way, I think it might be the wake up call he needs, and a way for him to see for himself. on the other hand, what the hell will he do, where will he go, etc I feel ill at the thought of it. He has started drinking a lot. after big incident a couple of weeks ago he said he would stop drinking, but says he has been drinking because he is so bored and fed up with school.

Both dh and I would love all the dc to go to university, not just for the higher education, but also the amazing life experience. I could accept though if they said they didn't want to go to uni, but not doing A levels seems utterly disastrous. He has no plan other than doing translating work, seeing up his own business and travelling.

what do we say on Tuesday? Apart from telling him he's deluded and we won't be buying him ice creams and paying his mobile phone bill, he chooses to be an adult, then the world of paying your way beckons. sad

LaurieFairyCake Sat 23-Jul-16 22:22:15

If he's allowed to in Germany let him.

Stop funding his drinking (obviously) and tell him you fully support him finding a job.

Don't give him any more money. After the holidays there's more chance of him going back to school if you've said yes since you say he's a contrary little sod.

JennyOnAPlate Sat 23-Jul-16 22:28:12

What laurie said.

Call his bluff. Tell him to feel free to leave school but that you won't be funding him if he does, so he will need to get a full time job and pay X amount of rent to live in your house.

Clutteredmess Sat 23-Jul-16 22:30:04

I would agree and hope he changes his mind over the summer. My DS has come up with lots of hair-brained schemes over the last couple of years. I learnt not to react and to say the choice was his. IME this seems to be a tricky age for boys - fed up with studying and wanting to be independent. Even if he has a year or so out, he can go back

EveryoneElsesMumSaidYes Sat 23-Jul-16 22:34:19

A Levels aren't for everyone would he be more suited to an apprenticeship of vocational course?
Don't go too hard on him, listen to his side too. His plan my seem a bit pie in the sky, but there may be the seeds of a real career opportunity if given the right direction.
Let him know his happiness and success are important to you but that this is the start of a big change in his life he needs to reign in the drinking and thinking about how he will be funding his proposed lifestyle.
My DS is at exactly the same stage as yours so I <kind of> know what you're going through

chocolateworshipper Sat 23-Jul-16 22:36:31

Is there a German equivalent of BTEC (i.e. more vocational than A levels) - if so, would that feel less like a continuation of school for him? Otherwise - as the others have said - make sure he realises that he needs to pay his way

antimatter Sat 23-Jul-16 22:41:45

What is the legal requirement for kids in Germany? Do they have to stay in education until they are 18?

If he is alowed to I would also call his bluff and expect him to find a job.

PettsWoodParadise Sat 23-Jul-16 23:34:12

Can you come to some compromise and ask if he can prove he can achieve his goal even to a particular degree during the summer holidays then he has his option as a choice. Make clear boundaries about how much rent might cost etc explaining that covering costs and to have a lifestyle worthy of his hardwork will equal X amount. You don't expect full business potential from the outset but need to see evidence of his commitment to work towards it, say a very small 20% of full business projections as a startup which is going on an upward trajectory. You may need to agree a funding arrangement to support this if you can afford it such as equipment or online tools which may or may not have to be paid back depending on your agreement.

Haggisfish Sat 23-Jul-16 23:39:04

Look into an advanced or degree apprenticeship. Do a job and get a degree paid for you with no fees. Win win.

ErnesttheBavarian Sun 24-Jul-16 07:16:17

Thanks for your ideas. I am erring towards letting him do it. The trouble is, he is so stubborn, even if he realises it was a mistake he might not be able to bring himself to admit it and return to education.

A big part of me thinks saying yes is the only way for him to choose to do it iyswim, but i am sad and scared for him. We have 2 very clear examples on both dh's and on my side of the family, where 1 sibling has worked hard and done well at school, and have gone on to have pretty fun jobs, comfortable lives and a rewarding and well off retirement. while the other sibling did badly at school, left at the first opportunity, worked in low paid menial jobs, with hard work and little security, had fewer choices in life and still having to work now in their 70's cos they can't afford not too sad

Education brings choices.


I don't know what on earth to say or expect. I mean, if he wants to stay at home (doubt it) do we charge him rent? But we can't if he's not earning. omg. feel so pressured into getting this right, but I don't know what right is!

Gizlotsmum Sun 24-Jul-16 07:20:53

I would tell him he can leave education but leaving means an end to you funding him so he needs to pay X amount rent and bills and if he wishes you to continue to feed him y amount for food. Give him a month to find something ( only funding essentials). Good luck

Clutteredmess Sun 24-Jul-16 10:07:17

Education brings choices

Very true. Can you say that you will support him in his choices, maybe help him do a bit of research to show you are taking him seriously, look at potential earnings (immediate and projected future) and then go through a list of things that he will need to pay for (as you won't be) once he leaves school - rent, phone, transport, clothes, toiletries etc etc

This is what I did with DS last year - surprise, surprise despite my "support" for him leaving school, he finished his A levels and will be heading off to uni in September.

Just to put the other case - my ExH truanted from school from age of 14 years, left without a single qualification and is now very wealthy owning numerous properties over London & south east England - so lack of education is not a barrier to success. ExH was, however, even more exasperated than I was with DS's attitude towards education.

Shortandsweet20 Sun 24-Jul-16 10:24:51

What age does it become non compulsory for them to be in some form of education? Could he look at apprenticeships, they can be a great way to see the world and do different things if you find the right one!

FiveFullFathoms Sun 24-Jul-16 10:29:25

My brother dropped out of school at 16 as he was sick of studying and wanted to earn money. My parents said fine but he needed to get a job. He ended up working in McDonalds. He stuck it for just over a year before he decided he wanted more from his life. He went back to college and then uni. He did an MBA in the US and then came back here and got a job in the City. He always says that leaving school at 16 and getting a minimum wage job was the best thing he could have done as it showed him the reality of the workplace.

ErnesttheBavarian Sun 24-Jul-16 11:42:23

I don't even know the legal ins and outs, whether he's allowed to, I assume so, which authorities if any I need to tell.

I doubt he'd go for an apprenticeship as he seems hello bent on travelling. He is in my eyes still so young and has little real world experience. He doesn't feel it, but I consider him to be very vulnerable, especially in more remote parts of the world (he has talked of Asia and South America)

OurBlanche Sun 24-Jul-16 11:53:31

So on Tuesday you sit down with a laptop and look at the travelling and work with him to make a real plan, starting with how much it will cost and what he can do to earn the necessary money... same with anything else he comes up with.

Ad hoc translating Great idea! let's look at where you can find work, advertise yourself, how much it will bring in.

Not staying on at school? OK! So how will you pay for your food, rent, bills etc? You can't live at home for free, we will subsidise your essential living costs but no cash, no phone, etc... how will you pay for those things?

Basic job? Great. let's see what is available and get some applications in,

What? You want a summer holiday? OK, how will you pay for it? You can't live at home out of school, earning nothing.

Don't get angry or impatient. Be wholly supportive, enthusiastic even... but don't let him sidestep a question... if he wants it how will he pay for it in real life?

Having taught 16 - 19 year olds for years I wish many parents had done this instead of foisting their disinterested child on me!

It really could be the making of him!

OlennasWimple Sun 24-Jul-16 11:54:26

Can he set up his business alongside school work?

Or is it the travel bug that's really fueling this?

Oliversmumsarmy Sun 24-Jul-16 12:07:05

I would be all for it but put in a proviso that for example he doesn't drink. Say he can live rent free and you will pay for his phone etc for the first month to get him going but then he needs to start earning x amount per month. Work out how much he needs to make and work out how he will make that amount

LIZS Sun 24-Jul-16 12:14:28

Is a vocational school/college a possibility. Is this the same Ds who wasn't happy a while back? Would living in UK for a while, taking a college based course here be an option? Does he have sufficient qualifications so far to be employed?

LIZS Sun 24-Jul-16 12:26:31

I guess when his friends return and he is left alone his ideas may change.

lacebell10 Sun 24-Jul-16 14:32:20

Look where he wants to travel, the rules and how is he going to finance it .... In most countries he won't be able to drive as not able to hire car, America he won't be able to drink or in UK .... will he need a locus parentis if so who will it be?

Davros Sun 24-Jul-16 15:01:39

DD announced to me the other day that you can't leave education at 16 in the UK anymore like in my day! Not that she is planning it.
Lots of good advice here, good luck flowers

OurBlanche Sun 24-Jul-16 15:15:21

That's right Davros. The legal leaving age was raised a couple of years ago. Kids must now be in some kind of education, leading to a recognised certificate until they are 18. Including apprenticeships and on the job, proper, qualifications... like day release.

But OP is in Germany!

Davros Sun 24-Jul-16 18:59:58

🇩🇪 Aha!

CMOTDibbler Sun 24-Jul-16 19:09:14

For a bit of balance, one of my nephews started A levels and decided he just didn't want to do them. He did have a degree in mind, and found it didn't need A levels, so he left school and worked at McDonalds for two years (and worked at night with am dram groups to build his show reel). He got into the course he wanted and has just graduated and gone straight into a really fabulous job - so it can work out.

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