Why do teens lose interest in school?

Do you have a teenager who has lost all interest in school and seems on the verge of dropping out? If so, you have probably also run into other issues that can also include anger, defiant behavior, aggressiveness, and disrespect. Many of those behaviors could be a direct response to something that is out of your control.

Dropping out of school can be one of the worst mistakes your child can make. As a parent, you will want to try to identify the reasons why your child is no longer interested in school and then come up with a plan to help him choose to stay in school. Identifying what is causing the problem can even help alleviate some of the other behaviors that are causing it. Otherwise, additional help will be required. But for now, start with Step 1: Identify the underlying problem.

Here is a list of the most common reasons teens lose interest in school:

  • Fighting socially
  • Depression (they are probably losing interest in other things too)
  • Has academic difficulties or has a learning disability
  • Facing a problem with other children at school (being bullied)
  • Substance abuse (drugs or alcohol)
  • A family situation has distracted them from worrying about school.
  • A distracting boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Group pressure
  • A lack of general interest

As a parent, you will want to sit down with this list and talk to your teenager. You do not need to share the list with them, but use it as a guide to discover what the problem (s) may be. I would choose a neutral and informal place that does not threaten them in any way. Your goal is to have honest and open communication with your teen that does not result in him feeling defensive or attacked. It is a time of searching for information, without anger, judgment or penalties arising.

Start chatting with your teenager casually, finding out what is going on in their everyday life. Ask them open-ended questions and then just listen. This is not the time to point out problems or things that you would like to see changed. Rather, it’s a time to really listen to your teen and show that you care.

During the conversation, your goal is to see if you can identify one of the reasons above why they are no longer interested in school. Once you have identified the problem, you can move on to a solution to address that problem. Until this step is reached, you will not make any progress in helping your child find a reason to stay in school. Start at the beginning and go step by step. If you can identify the underlying problem, you can most likely help them choose to stay in school. General behavior should also improve. If not, you most likely need more help.