Be Alert for Signs That Your Teen May Drop Out
Experts warn that pandemic challenges have significantly increased the number of students at risk of dropping out of school. In many states, students are legally able to drop out at age 16. But students who drop out usually disconnect emotionally from school well before they actually quit. Even if your teen is still attending classes, be alert for these drop-out warning signs:
- Constant complaints about school. Teenagers always have some complaints about some teachers. Your teen doesn't need to like every teacher, but constant complaints about all of them are a sign of trouble. Similarly, if your teen says that every subject is "a waste of time," that may signal a problem.
- Absenteeism. Teens miss learning when they're not in class. Skipping school or being consistently late is a clue that something isn't right.
- Failure to do assignments. Middle and high school teachers assign frequent schoolwork. Students who don't complete it cannot earn good grades.
- Failing or poor grades in core subjects. A teen who has one or more failing grades is at much greater risk of dropping out than a student who is passing everything.
- A constant list of excuses for failure. Students sometimes try to excuse their own failure with statements like, "The teachers don't like me," or "Everyone is failing in that class."
- Separation from school friends and activities. If the pandemic has your teen feeling isolated, encourage safe ways to reconnect.
- New friendships with older teens and young adults, particularly those who are not enrolled in school.
If your teen shows one or more of these signs, contact the school counselor. Work together to get your teen back on track to graduate from high school.
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