WWYD - teen drops out of school edition

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RIZZY
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I almost faced this situation last year with my daughter, except that she does have anxiety, depression, and was smoking a lot of weed. The replies in this group- and almost anyone I talk to about it, honestly- are mostly unhelpful, presumptuous, and clueless.

I did everything I could think of to do, even her team of counselors, psychiatrists, and coaches told me that they had never seen a parent be so steadfast, so willing to do anything it took to help their kid, including all the work I did on myself.

There were two things that seemed to help her. One, her boyfriend dumped her. He was a good kid, not a perfect kid, but even he got tired of her antics.

The other thing that helped was putting all of the control in her hands. That's what this kid wants is control over his own life. I told her that as long as what she was doing was legal for her and for me, and would help her reach her future goals, she had permission to drop out of school. Legal for her and for me, though, meant that she had to look into some sort of GED program or trade school because unless she becomes emancipated, that is what the state requires. She looked into all of the GED programs, trade schools, and future employment she may want and found that none of them would really get her to where she wanted to be- at least not right now. The trade schools required her to be at least 18. The GED programs were either expensive private schools, wouldn't accept her for her previous academic record (skipping, A-school), or weren't accredited/had a bad reputation.

Ultimately, she decided to stay in school and now she's glad she did. She is back to making As and Bs and is no longer "staying high" all the time. I don't believe we would be here if I had tried to force her into going to school or just kept hoping that the therapy, etc., would eventually work. What worked was putting all of the responsibility on her shoulders. She had to figure out the law. She had to look up admission requirements. She had to look up licensing requirements. She was the one who would have had to go face the truancy board with me. She figured out on her own that simply finishing school was her best bet.

But it took a giant leap of faith on my part that she would figure it out now, rather than 10 years from now.
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Anonymous 3 wrote: Wed Nov 15, 2023 2:00 pm I thought everyone was sure that education was a waste of money, no one needs it any more, they can just go into a trade.
I feel like that is the general point of view we are heading to as a society when it comes to higher education. I don't think most people feel that way about high school. In my experience, most people believe you should do anything it takes to keep them in high school.
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Vegaswife2011
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RIZZY wrote: Wed Nov 15, 2023 3:13 pm I almost faced this situation last year with my daughter, except that she does have anxiety, depression, and was smoking a lot of weed. The replies in this group- and almost anyone I talk to about it, honestly- are mostly unhelpful, presumptuous, and clueless.

I did everything I could think of to do, even her team of counselors, psychiatrists, and coaches told me that they had never seen a parent be so steadfast, so willing to do anything it took to help their kid, including all the work I did on myself.

There were two things that seemed to help her. One, her boyfriend dumped her. He was a good kid, not a perfect kid, but even he got tired of her antics.

The other thing that helped was putting all of the control in her hands. That's what this kid wants is control over his own life. I told her that as long as what she was doing was legal for her and for me, and would help her reach her future goals, she had permission to drop out of school. Legal for her and for me, though, meant that she had to look into some sort of GED program or trade school because unless she becomes emancipated, that is what the state requires. She looked into all of the GED programs, trade schools, and future employment she may want and found that none of them would really get her to where she wanted to be- at least not right now. The trade schools required her to be at least 18. The GED programs were either expensive private schools, wouldn't accept her for her previous academic record (skipping, A-school), or weren't accredited/had a bad reputation.

Ultimately, she decided to stay in school and now she's glad she did. She is back to making As and Bs and is no longer "staying high" all the time. I don't believe we would be here if I had tried to force her into going to school or just kept hoping that the therapy, etc., would eventually work. What worked was putting all of the responsibility on her shoulders. She had to figure out the law. She had to look up admission requirements. She had to look up licensing requirements. She was the one who would have had to go face the truancy board with me. She figured out on her own that simply finishing school was her best bet.

But it took a giant leap of faith on my part that she would figure it out now, rather than 10 years from now.
That’s great she’s back in school!
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Rizzy: glad this worked out. My 2 youngest followed their birth parents, dropped out and it has not worked out for them.
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Where I live, a 16 year old can't drop out of school without parental consent.

I wouldn't let it happen, even if I had to walk her to every class myself.
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Sounds like he needed a school that actually challenged him. As for reckless driving, THAT is a huge problem and he needs to fix that before he kills someone.
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High school isn't for everyone.....I'd talk to them about getting their GED or taking the high school equivalency exam as someone else stated. Look into the possibility of trade schools related to their work or an apprenticeship......ultimately though my first goal would be to get my kid to come home or find a living situation with roommates and stop couch surfing. We can look into GED programs/schools later but my kid needs a stable living situation first and foremost. .
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I'm a bit late to this but here it goes.

Mine never was able to acclimate to traditional school. Rarely did her work and when she did, never turned it in. By high school, it was impossible to get her to even go. I'd drop her off on my way to work and find out she bounced and went back home usually after first period.

We had her in therapy. I filed At Risk Youth petitions and the school district filed Becca Bills. I took her phone away. I put a parental monitoring app that allowed me to limit who she could speak to on the phone. There were also significant mental health issues we were struggling to get addressed due to her age. But with everything we tried, nothing seemed to sink in for her.

We tried an alternative HS that had a more flexible schedule (starting at 10:30AM instead of 7:30AM, long lunch breaks, etc). She started out doing okay with this set up and while she stayed at the school building, she was starting to slack off with her work again (not completing it, not turning it in, etc).

At this point, she was a senior with freshmen credits and would have been attending school until she was 21 or 22 at the rate she was going so we (the school district and I) agreed that allowing her to attend a special school that focused on a GED was best. She attends the place a few days a week to study and practice. She's passed 3 out of the 4 modules to get her GED. One more test to go. The school district paid for it.

She also is medicated for bi polar and maintains bi-weekly therapy. It's still a work in progress but she'd made decent progress compared to what it was like just 3 to 4 yrs ago.

A lot of kids just can't jive with traditional schooling. This 16 yr old may fare better in a GED program or alternative school, if one is available to them.
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It depends on the family situation and why they ran away. Personally me and my entire family on both sides would probably line up to give the kid at best an intervention and at worse a butt kicking. That might entail their dearly departed grandparents and father to come down from heaven. Dropping out of high school would be a very serious matter in my family. One at least gets their GED which would be fine with us. College is optional.
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