Why Do Teenagers Lose Interest in School?

Do you have a teenager who has lost all interest in school and seems to be on the verge of dropping out? If so, you have probably  found yourself dealing with other issues as well that can also include anger, defiant behavior, aggressiveness and disrespect. Much of those behaviors could be a direct response to something that is out of their control.

Dropping out of school can be one of the worst mistakes your child can make. As a parent, you will want to try and identify the reasons WHY your child is no longer interested in school, and then come up with a plan to help them choose to stay in school. Identifying what is causing the problem may even help to alleviate some of the other behaviors that are causing a problem. If not, then additional help will be required. But for now, start with step 1 – identifying the underlying problem.

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

  • Struggling socially
  • Depression (they are probably losing interest in other things as well)
  • Struggling academically, or has a learning disability
  • Facing a problem with other kids at school (being bullied)
  • Substance Abuse (drugs or alcohol)
  • A family situation has distracted them from caring about school
  • A boyfriend or girlfriend that are distracting them
  • Peer Pressure
  • An overall lack of interest

As a parent, you will want to sit down with this list and talk with your teenager. You do not have to share the list with them, but rather use it as a guide to help you uncover what the problem or problems may be.   I would choose a neutral, casual place that is not threatening to them in anyway. Your goal is to have an honest and open communication with your teenager that does not result in them feeling defensive or attacked. This is an information seeking time, without anger, judgment or penalties coming to the surface.  

Casually begin chatting with your teen, finding out about what is going on in their day-to-day life. Ask them open-ended questions, and then simply listen. This is not the time to point out problems or things you would like to see change. Rather, it is a time to really listen to your teen and show them that you care.

During the conversation, your goal is to see if you can identify one of the above reasons as to why they are no longer interested in school.   Once you have identified the problem, you can then move towards a solution to dealing with that problem. Until this step has been reached, you won’t make any progress in helping your child find a reason to stay in school. Start at the beginning and take it step by step. If you can identify the underlying problem, then you will most likely be able to help them choose to stay in school. Overall behavior should improve as well. If it doesn’t, further help will most likely be needed.