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My teen hates school

Molly Cerreta Smith has enjoyed a career in the publishing industry for more than 10 years. As an editor of several regional magazines, she has had the opportunity throughout her career to meet many local celebrities, businesspeople, ent...

"Mom! School sucks"

Tired of hearing your teen complain about how much she hates school? Maybe she's not just whining because she doesn't want to do the homework. Get to the root of your teen's school hatred.
Getting to the root of the problem
Teen girl hates school

Communicate with your child’s teacher

Elaine Sigal, president of Stizzil, encourages parents of kids who are complaining about school to talk with their child’s teacher.

Via email communication or a brief meeting, parents can obtain a lot of information that can help them help their child. Sigal suggests asking “if the teacher recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of the child. Find out what they are.”

She also suggests finding out about the teacher’s homework and behavioral policies as well as how your child is stacking up in class so far.

Sigal stresses, “Find out what you can do to help the teacher help your child: Ask this question!”

Communicate with your child

Sigal also suggests talking to your child to try to narrow down what it is about school that he or she “hates.”

Sigal suggests, “Ask your child open ended questions [like] who has been friendly, who gets into trouble, who is getting good grades... respond to his/her answers.”

Be sure bullying isn’t the problem

Walter G. Meyer, public speaker and author of Rounding Third, says, “Finding out why a child doesn't want to go to school is crucial to solving the problem.”

He adds, “Often children are reluctant to tell their parents that they are being bullied and the first signs can be feigned illnesses — the child makes excuses to stay home or [there's] a sudden drop in grades from an otherwise good student.“

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Meyer says, “If a bully is the reason the child doesn't want to go to school, working with the school to ensure the child's safety is the solution.”

Encourage your child to get involved

Perhaps the reason your child “hates” school is that he’s having a hard time fitting in or finding something that interests him. Deborah Gilboa, MD, board certified family physician, mom of four and founder of AskDoctorG.com advises, “Suggest that your student do one thing at school (an extracurricular or team or lesson) that holds their interest, and accept that it may be the only part of school that is fun for a while.”

Help your child hone an extracurricular activity >>

She adds, “Ask them to identify something they love to do after school, and encourage them to hold it as a ’carrot’ for themselves. This builds their own resilience and planning skills.”

Get involved

Rebecca Thiegs, co-founder and VP of education for StageofLife.com, encourages parents of unhappy students to get involved in their kids’ lives. As a teacher for the past 15 years, Thiegs has found some common denominators when it comes to parents who are concerned about their teen students saying, the parents:

  • get involved in their sons’ and daughters’ lives
  • talk to both the guidance office and the classroom teacher in a collaborative manner
  • communicate regularly with their kids at home
  • most importantly, spend time with their teens

Don't forget the importance of praising your kids >>

Thiegs continues, "Using these characteristics as a template, I would encourage any parent having a problem with their child in high school to engage [in] those four activities."

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