When ditching school becomes a consistent problem, you must intervene. Talk to your teen to ensure he isn't being bullied or harassed at school. If he's skipping because school is boring, he wants to watch television and surf the Internet or he just wants to prove he's the boss, punishments are likely in order.
Revoke Driving Privileges
An effective punishment for older teens who ditch school is to take away their driving privileges. It's much easier for a teen driver to skip school when he has transportation to off-campus locations. In some states, authorities in the justice system can officially revoke driving privileges for truant students, according to a 2012 article in "U.S. News and World Report." As a parent, you can punish your teenager by taking away his car keys, forcing him to ride the bus or insisting that you take him to school every day.
Keep Child's Possessions
Take your child's personal possessions -- temporarily -- to show her that you're still an authority figure in the home. Take items that you purchased, so your child or teenager can't argue that she bought the items with her own money. Your child might stop ditching school if her material possessions are “pawned,” says licensed clinical social worker Scott Sells, on his website StrugglingTeens.com. Explain to your child why you took the items and let her know that she has to attend school every day that quarter to get the items back.
Talk to community organizers such as librarians, recycling facility managers or animal shelter coordinators to see whether your child can participate in community events. By forcing your child to participate in philanthropic activities, you give him positive alternatives for his free time. He's less likely to get involved with the wrong crowd, engage in substance abuse or exhibit poor behavior when he has positive role models. Some community service organizations, especially those with a religious affiliation, might even help your child address deeper issues behind his truancy.
The goal is to help your child correct her truant behavior, so you don't want to do something that could make matters worse. As a result, consider contacting your child's teacher if you think the teacher has your child's best interests in mind and your child won't suffer the consequences of your call. Your child might see the phone call as a punishment because of the embarrassment factor. Remind your child that you're not trying to badmouth, criticize or humiliate her, but you want the teacher to know that you don't approve of the delinquent behavior and want to help.
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