Posted by: Concerned Dad | 2004/09/26

15-year-old son want to leave school to go and work

Dear Cybershrink

I am a single dad with a 15-year-old son. My son is currently in grade 9, but he wants to leave school and go and find work because there are teachers at the school that give him a lot of trouble. I think he gave up on school because he failed 5 subjects in his last exam, and he believes he is going to fail this year because he cannot pass maths. I sorted the teacher out that make his life hell, but he still doesn’t want to go back. Please, can you help me here? How can I convince my son that it isn’t a good idea to leave school with only a grade 8 certificate? He says that he will find work on the mine, and that might be true, but I still don’t think it is a good idea. We’ve decided that he can start home schooling (brainline) next year, and last week he was OK with it. Now he want to go and work. Pleas advise me here. I am trying my best to be there for him, but he constantly locks me out of his life. I know he is very hurt inside, and I am very worried about it. I know he has a lot of issues, but I don’t know what, because he wouldn’t tell me. He constantly lies to me about everything. How can I get him to talk to me about what is bothering him? Please help me, I am desperate, as I love my son to death and I can’t stand the thought that he is hurting inside. I want to help him and I want to be there for him. How can I make him see that? Thank you for your time.

Concerned Dad

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear CD,
Well, you know, as we do, that in these days especially, leaving school at 15 and at grade 8, is to condemn oneself to a life of disappointment and underachievement, maybe chronic unemployment, and to build a low ceiling against which he will keep bumping his head until he goes back to his studies and works for a better qualification.
In talking with your son, have you found out why he is, for instance, so set on going to WORK ? Does he feel he needs to start earning money to help with family expenses ? Does he feel that he'll be independent with much money to spend on himself, if he goes to work ? Does he realize that just as at school you may run into a sour teacher, so at work you may come across sour bosses and supervisors, and they're harder to sort out ?
What is his problem with home schooling for a time ? Have you explored options of transfer to a different school ? Maybe checked if you can discuss the problem with his headmaster, with even the local Dept of Education ?
Remind him of how much you love him, worry about him, want the best for him, and hurt when he hurts. Is there an option ( again, maybe through the school ? ) for him to see a counsellor for a few sessions to clarify what the problem is and to encourage him to seek other solutions to it ?
And as Q says, there are many programs available to help with math skills, and extra math tutors available.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Concerned Dad | 2004/09/28

Thank you for your trouble. I will do my best for him and we will discuss this matter when he returns from his holiday.

God Bless!


Reply to Concerned Dad
Posted by: Grade8er | 2004/09/27

Just saying something, not that it would be of any use. :) Just for thought, I was like your son, having trouble in school, oh even with math but soon I changed the subject to something else...then back again...just like your son's having trouble with teachers (and even his peers) I had the same problems, I wasn't a rebel, but I knew where to stand my ground. I had alot of problems and not one was academic. I wasn't driven to that part of school where the pressure was so high that I had problems in failing... I talked to my dad, he didn't listen, my dad never listens although he wanted the world for me, he believed he knew best, but he didn't. I had alot of dreams, still have them and in the process of getting what I always wanted. One day I just had enough, and only being 60 minutes in school, phoned my mom to come pick me up or she can pick me up on the sidewalk where I will be somewhere between school and our house because I'VE HAD ENOUGH! I finished the term, just to be sure that I wanted to drop out and my parents wished I would go back. In the next 4 years I had a degree and I was all kinds of qualified. I decided to work hard to get where I am regarding my education.

My point to you sir, is that there is alot of things going on inside your son that he let's you see. Just listen to him, but, keep him on the right track. I can't tell you how you must feel, but I can tell you how I felt because my dad never listened, and I can tell you that in my away from school years, I left the road many times, and through many tears and me not understanding life, my father kept me on the right track, letting me study and keeping myself goaled.

CyberShrink also has a point, but I do know that when I left school, I wanted to work, it felt like the right thing to do, as I wanted to be grown up, and also another fact I though was true was that if I left school, and work, that my freedom score would go up, today, I am very happy that even if my father still doesn't listen to me like I want him to, he never let me work, he never let me have that grown up freedom, and now that I am grown up, I realise that everything I believed in when I thought freedom and working was my ticket to betterness, was just something getting me ready, but not for the time I thought it was right.

Good Luck.

Reply to Grade8er
Posted by: Q | 2004/09/27


If maths is his problem it is easy to sort, there are so many math programs out there that can help as well as people that are willing to give extra classes!!! the problem to day is that teachers are very demorilized and that they are not willing to put in the extra effort to help. Lets say it it is not all of them but some!!! The fact off the matter is your son needs to put in the effort and work to make it and it is not easy, if he goes to the mines with a grade 8 he will at best become a miner and that is harder than getting his matric once his there is he going to give up that as well??? I think you should keep him in school if he does not study now once home he will not study on brain line ithere!!!!!! His attetude nees a justing that is it, if he thinks its freedom to be a low payed person let him go!!! Not to bring race into it but if he is white even with a matric he will not get a desont job out there in fact not even with a degree so going outside of africa is the answer and with grd 8 he will bestuk in africa with no or very little money and that is like going to jail self imposed jail for the rest of his life!!! YOU AS HIS FATHER MUST PULL BACK HIS RAINS AND GET IS ATTETUDE AJUSTED FOR SUCCESS, HE WILL THANK YOU IN FUTURE WHEN HE MAKES N GOOD LIVING, NOW HE MAY BE ANGRY BUT YOU WILL FORSAKE YOU FATHERLY DUTY IF YOU JUST LET IT GO!!! Good luck hope i could help!!!

Reply to Q

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