Most children will skip a class or two during their time as a student, but if a pattern begins to develop where more classes are skipped than attended you are facing a truancy problem. Did you know a lot of your child’s choices and attitudes about truancy could be affected by you? Here are three ways you may not even realize you are contributing to your child’s truancy problem:
Indifference or not valuing attendance or education
If you repeatedly excuse absences for your child knowing they are simply skipping a class, you are in effect telling them that it’s okay to skip. If you blow off their attendance record without issue, you are contributing to a truancy problem. As a parent, you are the most influential person in your child’s life. While peers may have a greater influence on your child as they grow older, it is still you they will turn to for approval in their actions. If you are not making your child aware of how important attendance is in their education they are less likely to value it.
Ignoring child’s concerns with classes
It has been proven that one of the reasons a student will skip class is because of a specific issue with that class. First, consider if the class is too easy. A class that does not challenge your child is not one they will want to attend. On the other hand, a class that is too hard is also one they won’t want to attend. This is when you, as the parent, need to be aware of what is happening for your child in each class and each situation. If you are aware of a learning concern you can determine whether you child needs tutoring, or additional after school support with extended opportunities for learning. In fact, if you find that classes appear to be too easy for your child you can consider switching to advanced placement or more challenging classes. If a class continues to be too hard for your child, consider working with a counselor or administrator to determine if there are other options or classes that will work best for your child’s needs. Making classes a success is as much about your support as it is your child’s hard work.
Failing to communicate with your child
Failing to communicate with your child can lead to many problems, not just truancy. You must begin early in creating a trusting relationship where both you and your child can ask open questions and discuss concerns. If you notice your child is skipping one class repeatedly, this line of communication allows you to interact with them, ask about reasons they are not going to class, then create a plan to change. If you don’t have an open line of communication, this same discussion could turn into an argument where you are insisting they go to class, yet you don’t understand what their concerns with the class are at all.
It is important to begin early, not only in encouraging your student to make smart educational decisions, but in opening a line of communication. By having communication skills in place before there is a truancy issue you will be much better prepared to deal with the situation together.
A. Lynn Scoresby, founder and president of My Family Track , First Answers , and Achievement Synchrony , and has been a marriage and family psychologist for more than 35 years. He has published more than 20 books and training programs.