Dr. Rich Patterson


Understanding Kids and Truancy–2

  1. Once the child has begun to see that by setting goals, they can accomplish what they only dreamed of, then rather than getting angry and having an argument, discuss the alignment of day-to-day behavior that supports those goals.  When something happens where they are off course or make a poor choice, rather than those moments of a sermon, ask them how a particular behavior supports their goals.
  2. Help students to see that our behaviors always support our beliefs. We can automatically change our behavior by changing what we believe about something.  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 its application to life.  Attainable setting goals, 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 see that you can make your life better with a bit of self-discipline.
  5. I like to remind kids that they will 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, and practice when they would be doing something else instead.  It assumes that 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 the city, telling stories.

    In case you missed it, here is the link to Part 1 of this three-part series on Truancy, Understanding Kids and Truancy–Part 1 – Dr. Rich Patterson (pattersonphd.com)

    Here is the link to Part 3 of this series, Understanding Kids and Truancy – Part 3 – Dr. Rich Patterson (pattersonphd.com)

I recommend that you look up School Truancy Laws for your state and become familiar with them.  Here is the link to Colorado laws, where the author lives, CRS 22-33-104 – School Truancy Laws in Colorado (shouselaw.com)

Yours for Better Parenting,