Understanding Kids and Truancy–2Dr. Rich Patterson

  1. Once the child has begun to see that by setting goals they can accomplish that which they only dreamed of, then rather than getting angry and having an argument, discuss the alignment of day-to-day behavior which support those goals.  When something happens where they are off course or make a poor choice, rather than those moments of sermon, ask they how a certain behavior supports their goals.
  2. Help students to see that our behaviors always support our beliefs. That by changing what we believe about something, we automatically can change our behavior.  I have much more of this explained in my book, Making Sense of Life: A Guidebook for Teens and Parents.
  3. So often as I worked with kids I would ask them what their goals were, and they would reply that they didn’t have any. No wonder that school doesn’t make sense to them, or that they can’t see the application of it to the life.  Setting goals that are attainable, short term reachable in a matter of days and then stretching out to some longer-term goals with short term steps become more of value to kids.
  4. Once truancy is a habit for kids, then to change it you are working on changing a bad habit. What worked for you?  Maybe you wanted to stop smoking, or to cut down on eating sugar.  What did you do that worked for you?  Choose something where you had success and share that with your child, helping them to see that with a little self-discipline you can make your life better.
  5. I like to remind kids that they are going to be 18 one day. They can be 18 without a diploma or they can be 18 with a diploma.  Why not choose to be 18 with a diploma?  But it doesn’t come free or without effort.  If you see a fine athlete, like in the Olympics, you know that it took them years to develop their craft.  It took time, effort, practicing when they would rather be doing something else, daily effort. It took a certain amount of risk to push themselves to higher levels.  It is the same with regards to going to school.

    Group of young adults (18-20 years) hanging out in city, telling stories.