On this week’s ‘Parenting’ segment, one mother doesn’t know what to do with her son who wants to drop out of school.
“We have a teenage son who is due to start third year [but] all summer he has been pleading with us to drop out of school after this year,” she told Moncrieff.
“He keeps telling us that he has no interest and he's only going back in September because he has to.
“I know that it must be hard for him, but I don't think it's right for him to drop out. I want him to finish secondary school and follow whatever career path that he wants.”
The parent said things are getting “tense at home” and the son keeps telling his parents he “just won’t show up” to school.
“I just fear if I let him drop out now that he will end up mixing with the wrong crowd and miss out on life experiences.”
'Hear him out'
Child psychotherapist Joanna Fortune said the parent cannot tell her son to “just do the Leaving Cert”.
“You may as well say 'just the PhD',” she said. “It's really anxiety provoking."
The son might not be old enough to legally drop out of school yet, but when he is, his parents should be ready to deal with his decision.
“I think it's really important that you do sit down with him, hear him out uninterrupted,” Joanna said.
“Let him speak his fears, his anxieties, his worries about all of this and then present him with options.”
'He has to be an active part of the plan'
Joanna said education isn’t the be-all and end-all, but if the son drops out of school, he can’t just “sit in his bed all day”.
“He keeps telling you he has no interest in school – what are his interests?” Joanna said.
“It's really important that he understand if he is leaving school the next year or whenever it is, he is leaving to something and that he has to be an active part of the plan.”
'Work and explore'
Joanna suggested the son has his own form of transition year “to work and explore” his options beyond the education system.
“If he loves it, then you can make choices,” she said. “And if he really is like ‘No it's not for me’, he can go back to fifth year.
“It's about your choices and options and to put something in place before he's just saying, ‘I'm not going now’.”
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