Strategies for When Your Teen Son Hates School

man in black jacket sitting on couch talking to teenage boy wearing a black hoodie

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What do you do with a teen son who hates school?

First: Know you’re not alone. One of the biggest challenges many parents of teen boys face is the school issue. Although many teens can hate school for many reasons, it does seem to be a bit more common with boys, and it can be difficult to know how to deal with it.

Obviously, you want your child to get a good education, but if he hates school, he is hardly going to engage with it and get the most out of it as he could. The good news is, there are numerous strategies you can employ to turn things around…

Don’t dismiss him

It’s easy to assume your son is just being a defiant teen when he says he hates school, but that may not be the case. He could be being bullied, under pressure from the workload, or a million other things. So, in the first instance, take him seriously, find out if he has any issues, and if that’s the case, do whatever you can to resolve the problem together.

Check your own behavior

Sometimes, you can be your own worst enemy when it comes to getting your child to be okay with school. If you nag him, talk constantly about school and grades or compare them unfavorably with peers, all of those things can put them off school and it isn’t entirely his fault! although school is important, you shouldn’t make it the be-all and end-all for your teen or they may start to struggle under the strain. When you do discuss school, do so as positively as possible and make sure it’s not all you ever talk about – have some fun.

Consider that his school may not be the best environment for him

Some kids, particularly those with conditions like ADHD and autism, just aren’t suited to the school system and they may genuinely hate it because it simply isn’t the right environment for them. If that’s the case, you may want to look at alternatives schools or home school programs that could be closer to what they need and turn their attitude around.

Find a positive role model

If you have any friends or family members who have done really well for themselves, it can often be beneficial to have them spend time with your son. Have them occasionally drop in a little info about their own struggles, how they overcame them, and how their education helped them to live the great life they’re living now, and it might just rub off on them. Of course, you can’t make it obvious that’s what you’re doing, and the role model should talk about other stuff and have fun with your son too, but it can be very effective when done right.

Praise him

Praising your son for any effort he does make to go to school and work hard, no matter how small is something you should absolutely be doing if you want to change the situation, Positive reinforcement works far better than negativity, and it will ensure that you have a healthier relationship too.

Good luck!

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The Building Boys Bulletin Newsletter gives you the facts, encouragement, and inspiration you need to help boys thrive. Written by Jennifer L.W. Fink, mom of four sons and author of Building Boys: Raising Great Guys in a World That Misunderstands Males, Building Boys Bulletin includes:

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