My son has given up on school - I don't know what to do :(

@lreddell (172)
United States
May 21, 2007 6:59pm CST
He's had a lot of medical problems this year, and his grades have suffered significantly. He currently has D's, F's with a couple of B's (band/seminar). School is out in 48 hrs. He's talked about moving to different states with family and "starting over". I know that he is trying to run from his problems and it won't do any good - they will follow him. I've told him that. Last Monday, he refused to go to school, stating that there wasn't any way he could catch up now with his school work. Knowing that I couldn't physicially force him to go, I let him stay home. Now I'm hearing from his friends that he wants to quit school all together. I cannot even tell you how much this breaks my heart. Just last year he was going to be a mechanical engineer, with honor roll grades. My quandry is this; if I refuse to sign the papers that will allow him to quit school permanently, and tell him he HAS to continue with school, I'm afraid he just won't attend. I've thought about an alternative school where he can at least earn his GED, with the understanding that he WILL earn his GED, and not drop that too. I am so emotionally torn by this. This is the first time in my life that I don't know how to handle a situation with my kids. Please help me!
4 people like this
10 responses
@Rozie37 (15503)
• Turkmenistan
22 May 07
This hast to be really hard on you. We have dreams for our children and when they get discouraged it is very hard on us. I would pull out all the stops. First, you need to have a new talk with him about his plans for the future. Find out what he wants to do with his life now. Let him know that running away is not the answer. Some times it is easier for a child to open up to someone that they admire, than it would be to open up to their parents. Whom ever he values the opinion of, get them to talk to him. Maybe a coach or an uncle or a friend of the family. I noticed that you did not mention his dad, so I am assuming he will not be helping. You know what, you might even be able to get some of his friends at school to talk to him. You could also sign him up for a big brother. Have you considered the school counselor or an outside one. Maybe even someone at your church. As the saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child." You don't have to do this alone. Let him know that quitting is not an option. He will need to learn to stand and fight, but that he does not have to do it alone. There are lots of resources out there to help him. Ask him who is going to support him if he does not get an education. Sometimes, though love is all we have to work with. You know your sons temperment and what it will take to get him on the right track again. Don't be over-whelmed, you have come a long way already and you can handle this too.
2 people like this
@lreddell (172)
• United States
24 May 07
Yes it has been very difficult. Your post reminded me that I never went to college, and I just don't want my kids to have it as hard as I have in life. Living paycheck to paycheck is not fun, and the sad thing is just about everyone I know lives this way. I do plan on speaking with him about the remainder of his school years. He has been working and hasn't been home much. I have been thinking about who could talk to him about this, instead of me. My parents are thankfully still around, but I dont wish to burden them, as they worry about me too much as it is. His dad is around, we've been married for years, but everytime I try to talk to my husband about this, he gets angry and walks away. He is just as frustrated as I am, but reacts much differently then I. My son has been a big brother last school year. And I have told him that quitting isn't an option. I've talked up going to college through his middle and high school years. Last year he was all for college; and even early in this school year. I can't help to wonder if I have projected the dreams that I had for myself on him, and he never really wanted to go on to college in the first place. Thank you!
1 person likes this
@Rozie37 (15503)
• Turkmenistan
24 May 07
Your husband is going to have to change his attitude about this situation and support you in your efforts to get your son back on the right track.
@lreddell (172)
• United States
25 May 07
My husband and sons relationship has been terribly strained for the past 18 months, and both their attitudes towards each other is very poor. I am stuck in the middle trying to play mediator. Its been really hard. I've tried to stay out of it, but have been put smack-dab in the middle. I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle :(
@Swtrose (3399)
• Canada
22 May 07
First of all, how old is your son? Does the school that he is attending offer Co-operative Education? How many credits does he need to graduate?
1 person likes this
• United States
22 May 07
Try speaking to his pediatrician or minister about his getting counseling to deal with his feelings surrounding your illness. He could be a little overwhelmed right now and it is affecting his thinking and will. Even if he does not verbally express it. He is in high school if he repeats some failed classes the improved grades will follow him too. If his grades can get him to graduation and a community college he can spend 2 years there. If he does even reasonably well he can transfer to a 4 year school on the strength of his college grades. His High School grades are only part of the picture and not as devastating as he thinks. Showing he was able to get back on track will count for a lot in his future. I will hope for the best for both of you. He has to understand everybody makes mistakes in school. He can not give up. A high school diploma is just a step toward all the future options he has open to him.
1 person likes this
@lightningMD (5932)
• United States
22 May 07
Could h take summer school and catch up some of his credits? Maybe letting him move wouldnt be so bad. A new school where no ones knows what went on last year might really help him. I know you would miss him but that would be better than him quitting. Good luck I hope you two can reach a compromise.
1 person likes this
@youdontsay (3503)
• United States
22 May 07
You don't say how old your son is or how far he has progressed in school. If he is sixteen or older, I'd tell him he could quit school next fall if he had a full time job and could save his money for special schooling. Going to a special school can get expensive. I'd not allow him to do nothing. School and/or a job. But that doesn't resolve the problem of his difficulty with school Have you spoken with the school counselor or psychologist about him. There may be something else going on. He may have childhood depression that could be treated and get him back on track. Why not have him repeat a year. That would get him caught up and if he does really well they may be willing to let him move ahead. What about summer school with a tutor? There are options, but I don't know what is or isn't available to you. One of my grandchildren quit school the minute she was sixteen. Three years later she went back to school to get her GED. I think she just wasn't mature enough at sixteen to be motivated by school. She had a lot of adolescent challenges at home and at school and just didn't want to be in school. Once she decided on her own that she wanted her GED, she did fine. I certainly hope you find a solution that benefits everyone.
@lreddell (172)
• United States
25 May 07
My son is 16. He has a full time job, and told me last night he wants to finish school, but doesn't want to live here anymore. Its complicated and I won't go into the gory detail. Suffice to say, if he lived somewhere else, and finished school, I would be thankful he would at least earn his diploma.
@Debs_place (10525)
• United States
22 May 07
How old is he? WOUld he have graduated this year? Can he go to a community college...get his GED and earn some college credit? He maybe ready to move on and his health just held him back. Trust me..I can tell you about educational problems with kids..about this time 2 years ago, I got a call stating my son may not graduate high school, he was failing 1/2 of the classes he needed to graduate. He did graduate - with a lot of threatening and arguing and everything from me. He is now in the Navy, has some college credit and is on track. Good luck!
22 May 07
hi ireddell, i just think you should try and stay positive I have twin daughters who are in 5th year of Secondary school, one more year and they'll be leaving. I had a problem which seems very minor now about a teacher of there's who is not really doing the curriculum set. could your son go to a different college and study, would he be happier? has something happened at school, that he doesn't want to attend school any more, if so couldn't the teachers help out, after all that is what they are there for, is to help your child, in his/her hour of need? why has he lost all his confidence? you must try and find that out first, which I know is very hard as most teenagers clam up ahen there parents talk to them about problems. is there an older sibling or aunt/uncle or even his grandparents he could talk to and then they could let you know what the problem is, he may bit a bit embarassed to talk to his parents. One of my daughters is very close to her nanny (grandmother) and she'll talk to her, my older daughter will talk to my niece, who is only 10 years older than her, so she finds it easier to talk to her. try and get your lovely son to talk to anyone even his best friend as friends are great when he needs them, well what about you I know you are worried about your son, but you must also talk it over with your best friend. let me know how you get on. thanks sandy (1234)
@maehan (1445)
• United States
22 May 07
Hi Ireddell, Stay cool, you have mentioned that he had lot medical problems this year. Ok, he must had real stress out and yet he had to catch up his school work. I believe that he must doing is degree or higher as he gonna to be a mechanical engineer. Well, going through all the module and project are tough when he is sick. Why not let him rest for a while and catch up the credit during the summer vacation. Most of all, talk to him as a friend and understand what really happen to him. My brother nearly drop-out from his 2nd year degree, he told my mom that he wanted to stop his education and get out to work in the society with no reason. After we talk to him for several months, we get to understand that the stress he get it from his classmate, lecturers, himself and the competition in his faculty He wanted to get better result and in the end, he stress out.
@wachit14 (3600)
• United States
22 May 07
First of all, he needs to see a doctor to get a complete medical check-up. A sign of depression is a sudden lack of interest and a drop in grades. He needs to be evaluated for that first because if that's the problem, medication can take care of that so he can re-focus. However, if depression is not the problem, then get in touch with his guidance counselor and set up a meeting about forming a plan to get him to graduation. Since I don't know what state you live in, it's hard to say what qualifications he would have to achieve for a regular diploma versus a GED. In my state, a child has to be out of school for at least one year before applying for a GED. The fact that you son has had medical problems may be a sign that he is also depressed though so I would address that issue first. Good luck.
@toe_ster (771)
• United States
22 May 07
I am sorry to hear what you are going through. It hits kinda close to home. Except for me the tables would be turned. I was at this point once. I was a 4.0 student really good grades, and one day (personaly reasons) I gave up all together. My grades slid tothe point of no return and I wanted to move to another state or another school and eventually just quit. Instead of addresing the issues behind it my mother took me to the school counselor. She told us that the only way to catch up would be to co to a continuation school, where it was left up to me. I would be roesponsible for my own life. I could catch up and come back to school, I could finish early, or work on getting my GED. I was not mature enough to handle all of that on my own, but at the time in my life I thought I was. Long story short, it wasn't what I wanted so I dropped out after a half assed attempt. WhenI was ready on my own I went and got my GED. A fresh start was all I wanted and to this day I still think it was what I needed. What are the underlying issues of why he wants to quit? IS it because he is behind all his peers? Nobody wants to be that kid who has to be held back a year or can't participate in schol activities with everyone else. If it truely is medical reasons you need to get his school counselors and administration involved. There could and should be more options for him. Is there anything in your community where he can be a trainee or an intern or some type of job where it would get his attention enough to know that education is required to pursue it? Do not sign any papers to let him quit. If he is running from his problems, later on in life this will be thrown back in your face. Us as parents know better, but sometimes kids have to learn the hard way. Quitting school will benefit nobody. A fresh start at a different school district maybe instead of out of state. Summerschool even. Is there any programs at your local community college for high school kids? like taking college courses that could apply to both high school credits as well as college? It could be a motivator. I hope some of this helps. Hang in there.