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15 Yr. Old Son Wants to Quit School.

15 year old son wants to quit school. I've tried talking to him and all he says is that he doesn't like school. Help! Any suggestions or advice welcomed...

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow. Got 74 replies! Thank you so very much to all of you who replied and gave your heart-felt advice. I e-mailed several people at his school and we will be getting together with his school counselor and behavioral correspondent before the new year starts to figure out why he feels this way and what options (most of which you all advised me on) we have but graduating is not an option. I will not give up on him - he's too smart! Thanks again to all of you.

Featured Answers


My old standby, no school, no car, no license.

You can dangle that over him tell he finishes. He may also need tutoring, counseling, and Dad.

I raise 4 boys vertually alone.

Good Luck ~ F.

I didn't enjoy school myself, but it was the education part (luckily I outgrew that later down the road) that I disliked; I always looked forward to hanging out with my friends. Could there be a reason why he doesn't like it, like he's being harassed by other students as to why he wants to quit?

Try getting him home schooled and see if they will work with the highschool so that he can walk and graduate. I would definitely try home school.

More Answers

My post is coming from the perspective of someone who left highschool at 15 by taking the California High School Proficiency Test. I went to junior college and worked right away. This was 15 years ago and I have since graduated from college and had a corporate career that took me to the executive level.

My advice is to not discount him right away. Find out the root of the issue. Is he bored? Does he see it as pointless? Or is he just rebelling? Does he plan to go to junior college? Or is he just blowing school off? Does he even have a plan?

I went to my parents with my request to leave highschool and go to community college fully expecting them to blow me off and say no way. I told them I thought highschool was pointless when I thought I could be studying stuff that counted for my future. To my complete surprise, they approved of my plan.

I have NEVER regretted my decision. It was the best thing for me.

If your son has a plan and you have confidence in his ability to follow through, I might suggest supporting him. I would give him conditions where he has to graduate (either GED, Highschool proficiency etc), maintain a job and take a minimum number of units in college. In my experience it was a good thing.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


My son also hated school and was not doing well. Instead of letting him quit he transfered to a continuation school. The hours were much less and he could do alot of his work at home. I was not real thrilled with this but decided it was better than no school. There are lots of different continuation and also virtual schools out there. Maybe you can research them together and find one that will work better for him. Tell your son that my son succeeded in getting his diploma and today says that it is the best thing he ever did. Many of his friends did not and he sees how much they struggle to get a job. If you are interested, I would be happy to have my son talk to your son. Just email me and we can arrange it.

Take care,


2 moms found this helpful

Hi! The previous responses raised some great points regarding the environment at school, so I won't repeat all that. Here's another tack to try, coming from a high school Economics teacher of 15 years experience...

Have your son go through the want ads and find jobs he'd like to do that take applicants without a high school diploma/GED. Have him really think about if this is a type of job he wants to do for the rest of his life. Have him analyze the wages and calculate how much he'll make a week/month/year AFTER TAXES to live on. Then, have him create a grocery list of what he'd want to eat, find an apartment, car payment, gasoline, utilities, the whole "living on your own as an adult" list of expenses. Don't forget things like health insurance, since many jobs don't offer that, particularly retail.

Can he afford to live without a high school diploma?

If you really want to drive the point home, have him research the costs of a baby: formula, diapers, daycare, doctor visits, etc. Can he still afford to live on his drop-out wages?

Have him factor in savings for things like education (he might change his mind), a new car, a vacation, or even a house. Have him factor in things that just happen in life. My family was doing great until my son skiied into a tree and wracked up $21,000 in medical bills in three hours. Insurance wouldn't cover it because it was out of network. Or, just today, my husband's engine just died and we either buy a car or a new engine. Life isn't always kind to us, financially. Can his drop out wages allow him to save enough money to handle life's unexpected events (without relying on "the bank of mom and dad")?

Explain inflation. Can his projected wages absorb increases in the cost of living?

Last but not least, while $10/hour sounds great at 15, it's not always enough at 20 or 30 or 40. The number one thing that translates into more money is education and the skills it provides. Of course, this is just the rule and my students have five bazillion exceptions. But, really, is it realistic to think we are the exception and not the rule?

I spend weeks working on this with my Econ students and you should hear the groans of agony when they discover they cannot live the life they want on minimum wage. I see more grade improvement in those four weeks than at any time during the semester. I know I've done my job when my juniors (16-17 years old) announce they are no longer in a rush to grow up...it's too expensive! Even better is when they announce they have more respect for their parents after learning how hard it is to make all the expenses fit into a budget.

Yes, school can be tough, it can be boring and he may be surrounded by obnoxious people. Is a job really all that different? I love my job, but some days, teenagers are just awful to work with. Or my principal is making unreasonable demands. Or finals week when it's so quiet and so boring, I feel like pulling my hair out. You can't quit every job you hate or leave just because you don't like someone. High school is (or should be) the place where you learn the discipline to suck it up and deal with it...and maybe even find the humor or the irony or the smile in the crummy situation.

Good luck,
Steph :)

2 moms found this helpful

Hi M.:
You recieved an excellent response from mindy. I agree,that attending continuation is a whole lot better than quitting altogether.I understand,that there are plenty of young people,bored and over-welmed with the public school system today. I will tell you,that My Grandson, who is 15,just began summer school,to make up credits,and he told me,today, that if schooling during the year was more like his summer school class,He felt he'd do alot better academically. I asked him,what the difference was,and why he felt that way,and I was surprised to hear him say,that he was more relaxed,not having to deal with the peer presure,the noise and the hectic running from class to class.He loved having one teacher for all his subjects,in a uncrowded enviroment.He said he was able to listen and it was so much easier for him to concentrate,and grasp things.He may opt to do the same as Mindys son,and I'm going to back his decision. I wish you and your son the very best.J.

2 moms found this helpful

Check out California Virtual Academy - free online public home school option for him. http://www.k12.com/cava/

Great choice and he can work at his own pace so most stuff should be at his level.

1 mom found this helpful

Marybelle, I have a 15 yr old son, too and he has wanted to quit school and work at times this year. He is now in summer school, because he failed a class. I think you should sit down with him on paper and show him how much stuff costs, like if he made minimum wage at a job, he would be getting 7.95 an hour and then figure how many hours he may work, like say 10-15 a week and then less taxes and then show him what is left and how much food is and on and on. My son now knows that he must go to school and college if he wants to make it and any kid in our house that is not going to school has to work. Maybe see if there are any electives he likes or is interested in that he can take for next year. I am a SAHM of 4, ages 15, 13, 2 (will be 3 in July) and 10 months and a 14 year old step daughter who is here for the summer. Good luck! M.

1 mom found this helpful

Ask him why he wants to quit school & please listen to him with an open heart & mind. It seems that his own knowlege & experiences have brought him to the idea that quitting school will solve some sort of problem he has in his young life. At our age & with our wisdom, you & I both know that quitting school won't solve any problem & will create more. I believe that if he trusts that you are able to see the world through his eyes (with out judgement) & understand his needs & wants, he may hear your words with an open heart & mind (as you did for him)& accept your guidance. It has been my experience that at his age, our children will either continue to trust that we have their best interest at heart (according to what they, as individuals, need & want)...or they stop trusting us if they feel we aren't interested in them as individuals but only want to control their choices & actions. Hence, rebellion. Allow him to confirm, in his own way,(through this challenge) his trust in you so that he feels he will always be able to depend on you for support in making his own choices. And at the same, help him understand that it is your priority & interest, as his loving mom, to make sure he has the proper guidance to examine both sides of any crossroads before choosing a direction. At that time, he should be ready to hear your examples of the end of the road of quitting school or the end of the road of completing school. Remember to appreciate the simple fact that he is willing to discuss his dilema with you and give you the opportunity to guide him. That alone is heart warming. On that note, keep in mind the old "if I knew then what I know now" philosophy. You have the chance to fill that gap for him so that he can know now what he will learn later through mistakes & experience. Share your knowledge with him so he can become wise. If he was wise enough to know what you know, would he be considering this question at all? Sometimes we think of our children's ideas (like this one)as ridiculous when they are actually the result of a detailed thought process. I wish you patience, compassion & understanding. Good luck and take care.

1 mom found this helpful

I highly recommend H.E.L.P. (The Hollywood Education and Literacy Project) located here in Hollywood. It is a free program, and they will truly show your son how to study successfully. You can definitely call them for a free tour, or if you don't live around Hollywood they can help you find a H.E.L.P. closer to your home.

Here's their data:

Hollywood Education Literacy Project International
6336 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood CA 90028

Life is magical when you know how to study!

With love,

1 mom found this helpful


It could be that your son has so many things he doesn't understand that he's given up because he may think he can't learn. IF this is the case, then I could help you with that. The easiest thing would be to ask him what the problem is.

Now, please don't take the advice of putting him on meds or anything like that. To think that a pill is going to make you happy and make all your problems disapear is madness. There are just too many people who trust psychiatrists and psychologist when they themselves have said that they don't know the "cause" of mental illness. So if they don't know the cause, then they can't have the "cure".

Email me if you want more information.


1 mom found this helpful

Usually kids at that age dont like school because they are getting picked on by others. If he doesnt "fit in" then school will be miserable. Have you tried finding out more about the kids and if he is being picked on? I know its hard, but changing schools might help if he is an "outcast". None of us want to think that our child is not popular or doesnt fit in, but unless he is good looking, an athlete or in some other way popular, then he will get picked on relentlessly. Next will come the ditching classes and other antisocial type of behavior. Lettin ghim quit is not a solution, but another school might help. Try to get to the route of the reason he wants to quit, and maybe seek a therapist to help him with things like self-esteem. I dont know him so I am not trying to judge. I am a social worker and work with troubled teens and this is usually the #1 reason kids want to quit hight school.

1 mom found this helpful

Don't know what your son's interests or hobbies are, but I would check into a trade/vocational school for him...
There are many availabe...Contact your school district..

Good Luck
A. J.

I didn't enjoy school myself, but it was the education part (luckily I outgrew that later down the road) that I disliked; I always looked forward to hanging out with my friends. Could there be a reason why he doesn't like it, like he's being harassed by other students as to why he wants to quit?

Talk to the school. They can offer counseling, and the teachers may have some insights as to what's going on with him. If necessary you can enroll him in a program called independent study where a teacher comes out to your house 2X a week instead of your son going to school.

You don't mention if this is something new, just started, of if it's an long time issue. I'd re write the question giving more background because there are a number of things that may be at play here. One thing for sure, have you asked him why, what the problems are. Have him get a minumum wage job this summer. At 15 he can get one with a work permit, and make sure he understands that these will be his options with a higher education.

Hi M.,
First and most importantly find out the reason why. The real reason. If he says he doesn't like school - ask him why. If he says because he's bored - ask why. Keep asking why to get to the true reason.
You can't help guide the situation if you don't know what's truly going on.
Once you fing out what the true reason is - ask for his suggestions on how to deal with it. Quiting isn't an option. Maybe taking the equivilence test, or maybe his school can offer courses to do from home to graduate. Talk to a counselor. Find out your options. Have him be just as involved.
I hope that it all works out for the best (for the both of you.)

Hi there..
In addition to being supportive and learning why it is that he wants to quit and try to work that problem out, I do have a little advice. If you can't get him to reconsider, try looking into charter schools or even online schools, where he can complete his education via the internet. They are getting more and more mainstream and are acredited, too.

Good luck, and just try everything in your power to continue his education one way or another.


In Nevada there are 2 charter schools! Odessy & K-12.

Also, ever considered a HUGE lifestyle change? Like one of you (whoever makes less , I guess) staying home, maybe transitioning to part time or telecommuting??

Then you could homeschool or charter-school. BTW: these days not only are homeschoolers getting 'real' diplomas, but also they are being searched for by collages! Meaning that most collages are LOOKING for homeschoolers. As a homeschooler he will learn to study independently, which is something that collages (and Employers) are looking for.

It's so hard, especially in this economy, but it CAN be done.... not easily, but I would suggest research A LOT of frugal family websites.....

(P.S. I think someone else mentioned it: something is going on, it might be bullying, peer pressure to do something he doesn't want to, bored with the work, mean teachers, overwhelmed by too much work/ homework, inability to catch up after falling a little bit behind. It really doesn't matter what... the important thing is that he realize that you are there for him, he is more important than everything else! That his feelings are important! There is just so much going on at schools these days. It was hard when I was in school (gangs, and drugs were rampant) but NOTHING compared to what they go through these days.) Yes, I know it is his JOB to finish school. But in reality there are so many options to doing that, and you want to instill a LOVE of learning, not the burden to learn. If that makes sense! )

HTH, good luck,
In Las Vegas, NV

You've gotten a lot of advice and since I didn't read it all, I may be repeating some of what was said. Sorry if that's the case. I think that first off, you need to figure out if it's an academic issue or a social issue. Does he have a handful of good friends? Is he going out places with them? In other words, is he being ostracized socially? Bullied? Or is this just an academic issue where he's struggling with school? Call the school and ask to meet with the school counselor and some if not all of his teachers. Brainstorm with them---they see lots of stuff you'll never know about or hear about otherwise. Most teachers and counselors are still working til the end of June so hopefully you can get this handled. Figure out what it is, and GET HIM SOME HELP. Tutoring, counselling, etc. Find a good family therapist and have a few sessions. Most kids don't like school---is this normal most kids stuff, or more serious?? The therapist can help you with this, as well. If necessary, you can consider an alternative school---many kids thrive there who don't succeed in the traditional environment. I would not recommend or allow homeschooling for a high schooler---IMO, only. I think they need the more social aspect of "school", which is why I personally would advocate for an alternative, non-traditional school vs. home-study program, but again, only as a very last resort. Good luck to you and your family.

Hi M.,
I have a 16 and 14 yrs old boys. My kids have struggled but they are staying in school. I think that if my kids didn't want to go to school I would try getting a friend that worked in the gardening or hard work and have him take him for a week or more so that the teen can see that working hard comes with a price and that with an education they can work too but a more easy pace or in the air conditioner and with some luxuries. Also explain to the teen that working as a gardner or gas attendant or something else is not bad but it does work your body faster than having an inside job. Also I do not know where you live, but they offer independent studies as to which the teen can work at home and go once or twice to school and turn in their work. He might be having trouble with some one and he hasn't told you or your hubby. Also you can have him help an organization that feeds the homeless and lees fortunate than him. I hope this can help you.

D. k.

Try getting him home schooled and see if they will work with the highschool so that he can walk and graduate. I would definitely try home school.

You've got to toe the line on this one! School, especially high school, is a must, must, must! Some day soon, your son is going to be independant. The only way that he is going to make enough money to live off of (especially in California) is to have at least a high school diploma. My brother was the same way and my parents had to do everything in their power to drag him kicking and screaming through highschool. After high school, my parents implemented one of three situations: 1. You got a job and started to pay rent for your room. 2. You went to college and were able to live at the house for free, or 3. You moved out on your own. This list of choices communicated the reality to us children that it was NOT ok to live off of and with Mommy and Daddy for an extended period of time. (Because my brother hated school, he got a job and paid rent but found that he wasn't happy selling cell phones or doing whatever made some cash. So, he went into the Air Force, became a mechanic, is now out and, guess what, he FINALLY wants to go to college and become an engineer.) Everyone is different and your son may never want anything other than a high school diploma but he needs that at least! Try to find out everything about your son's situation and try to help him out in any way, even if it does mean some tough love. Perhaps he is just trying to get your attention and might be experiencing something else at school like bullying...? But, just because you don't like school is not a good reason to quit! Besides, what else is he going to be doing with his time? No one hires 15 year olds if they can help it and sitting around the house when you could be in school is just not ok.... I'm sure if you lean into the problem you will be able to find a way through it. After all, nobody knows your son better than you do. Good luck!!!

It's obvious that you realize quitting school is not an option for your son. Since he won't tell you why he doesn't like school, have you tried meeting with his teacher/school counselor/principal? They may have some insight that he is not willing to share. If it turns out that there is something specific at school (a bad teacher, bully kid) you can address it directly. How are his grades? Perhaps he finds school either too structured and difficult, or he's so smart that he's bored. The way our school system is set up (teacher oriented, instead of student oriented) can be very ineffective for students who don't fall exactly in the middle of the spectrum. In any case, there are options if your son cannot continue at his current school. You can check out alternative schools, Montessori schools, magnet schools (if it turns out that he's gifted), home school (tough sell when you work full time, but it can be done) or online high school.

These are critical years for your son. He needs to know that you are on his side and that you take his concerns seriously, while at the same time maintaining your authority to say that quitting school is not one of his options. And I know you said that his dad works a lot of hours, but getting him in this process will be a key element in making it succeed.

Sounds like you really have your hands full. Best of luck with this and please do let us know how it all turned out.

I am thinking there are underlying reasons for your son wanting to quit that he has trouble discussing with you. It may help to bring in a "third party" such as a trusted relative or a counselor. My son who just turned sixteen has struggled with school issues and a lack of interest. We found out last year he was being picked on by some other kids on the bus and have since transferred him to a new school. There are many options for him such as independent study via a charter school. First things first, you need to find someone he can open up to. If you attend church the youth group director may be willing to help.
Hang in there, parenting teens is a tough job.

Just let him know that school is not up for negotiation and dropping out is NOT an option. He is not allowed (or old enough) to make that decision for himself. Be firm and make sure his dad is on the same page as you when you two sit him down to talk to him. Tell him you will work with him on whatever it is needs improvement/change in his school life/days, but quiting is not one of the solutions to any of thenm. Maybe switching schools?

Ohhhhhh! Does he "like" to eat? Sleep inside a house? Wear clothes? Go to the movies? Play video games? ...? Can't have all those without doing what you're supposed to do!

I would give him the option to take the CHSEE (CA high school exit exam)he either has to be 16 or halfway through his sophomore year. You get the equivalent to a h.s. diploma and everything.

There could be many reasons why your son doesn't like school, including social reasons. My daughter, now 17, never did well in school although she's very bright. For some reason, the classroom setting was very stressful for her. This last semester in high school, I enrolled in in an independent study program (at her request) in the Newport-Mesa school district. It's called Monte Vista High School. The kids usually take only one, maybe two, subjects at a time and they go once or twice a week for a few hours, then study and do work at home and get tested each week. It helped her a lot - her grades improved and she just finished. The important thing is that when I spoke to her high school counselor and the independent study counselor, they both pointed out that high school is a very stressful place for many kids and sometimes it's just not the right environment for everyone. It wasn't for my daughter. It's worth it to look into independent study -the kids get a regular high school diploma, not a GED. I met a kid from Monte Vista who was getting a full scholarship to college. I don't know what area you are in -if it's Newport Mesa, call Monte Vista at ###-###-####; even if you're not in the area, maybe they could tell you a bit about independent study and recommend a school in your area - or talk to your son's counselor. Main thing - make sure that he's willing to make the effort in independent studies. Good luck.

uh, no. You need to stand strong. Quitting shouldn't even BE an option! What is he thinking?! Maybe you need to transfer him to a different school. Maybe a smaller (private or charter) school would suit him better. Maybe a school more directed towards his interests - there are "art", "music", "science", "sports" focused schools, etc. You just need to find them. And many high schools offer ROP courses in many interesting subjects, but they vary from school to school. He also needs to get involved in activities that will make being HS worthwhile. Have him join a club, sport, something. I absolutely hated jr hi. and, yet my kids school has so many things going on, they've joined so many clubs, played sports, attended dances, etc. They think it's a blast! Another idea: volunteering to help those who have less will help. Not only will he gain self worth, but he'll see what can happen to a HS drop out. Good luck!

If you can afford it, maybe pay him to go to school... It is his job to finish... Also, sit him down and talk to him. Ask him what he would rather do. Tell him that sitting home is not an option, so he goes to school, or he goes to work, then have him apply this summer and see if anyone will hire him...
good luck

Depending on where you live, a drive by a "not-so-well-todo and/or homeless" (sadly) area might help make the point of how he can end up if he doesn't get a good education.... and then comparing that to a well-todo area might make a point to him. When my daughter complains about school my husband always asks her "Would you rather work smarter or harder" giving the example that education is the key to working with your head not your back.

Counseling may be helpful too, maybe he's going through something he doesn't want to talk about?

Good luck and pray for him.

What is he good at?
is he bright?
What exactly is the part he hates?
what does he want to be?

you ned a carrot and stick approach here, and must recruit others to educate him on the facts...

OK let him hang out with some down and outs or ex cons that didnt bother to finish school - live in squalor, and have no qualifications or worthwhile work or lifestyle, nothing good to eat, cant get a girlfriend?
it might be safer to find some adults who USED to be like that but are in college NOW that are trying to make up for lost time... he needs to connect with someone that allws him to see sense.Someone other than you, who can show/tell him how they felt what they did and what happened, what the alternatives were...

Then let him meet some amazing successful young people. the cars alone may get him motivated!

You need to do the research to find these people.

if they show motivation and commitment

Did you find out why he wants to quit? If hes bored in school and not stimulated academically see if he can take his GED instead and start college earlier.

I know I enjoyed college way more than I did high school and wished I had taken the GED to get out of high school early to go to college early because college was much more stimulating academically and socially as well.

If he wants to quit due to bullying, then find out whether the school does anything to stop the bullying and find out whether he needs to learn new strategies for handling bullies, even if it means not being afraid to defend himself if hes attacked or pressing charges if he got beat up in school.

Good luck!

He may just be bored of school. Try either home schooling, or a private school that allows the child to leave after all their work is done.


I think Cari hit the nail on the head! Is your son bored? being bullied, is there a lot of peer presure?? Hear him out and his reasons. Give him the options that Cari mentioned, and have him follow through. Good Luck, P.

I also am the mom of 4 kiddo's...15-year-old twins (boy/girl), an 18 year-old just leaving home to work in another state and a 21 year-old married almost two years.

Have you ever thought of your son doing "on-line" school as my twins (15 year olds) are doing. They are at home... can sleep in and their actual "working time" is approximately 1-2 hours a day on the computer instead of the usual 6-7!!! Their first year of high school last year was their first year of on-line school, through our local high school---so no charge, they did well and their schedule was so flexible. They can even WORK outside of school because "on-line" school enables them to do their work ANYTIME of the day or night!

This is just another option for kids who DON'T like school or the whole school atmosphere and yet getting credit just like the kids AT the school!!!

This is just a suggestion and I know you will get plenty!

Maybe schedule a special "date" with him to try to get him talking, and really try to convince him that you will LISTEN. Ask him why he doesn't like school, and to tell you 3 things he doesn't like about it (if there seem to be more, ask for 3 more). If you have a good rapport with him, simply tell him that quiting school is not an option so you want to help him find a way to get through this. There may be a solution that he could live with, like transferring to another school, or maybe it is something else. My husband went to a Catholic boys' school for 3 years of high school, this was back east. He was on the small side then, and was horribly picked on (I think he has lasting emotional scars from that experience even though he is anything but small and vulnerable now). His mom didn't listen to him when he told her he didn't want to go there anymore (she was a working single parent and doing the best she could with 3 teenagers). Since he couldn't get her attention, he failed his junior year and they kicked him out of the school. He went to a different school for a second junior year, then senior year. He did great. He even went to college (a few years later) and got a degree.
Communicating with a teenager can be so hard, but I hope you find a way to get him to open up to you and find a solution he can live with.

Check out the CHSPE. It's the California High School Proficiency Exam. For those who want to exit school early it's an exam that will exempt them from the compulsory attendance laws so that they can get on to what they really want to do. Either work or college. Read up on it and see if that's an option. Sometimes high school is not for everyone. Just my 2 cents.

Don't let him quit. Maybe transfer to another school. does he tell you why? I have a 14 year old daughter who struggles with her grades and ATTITUDE!!! Just don't let him quit and find out why he hates it so much.

As you know, a high school diploma is very important. Even if he doesn't like school, make sure he stays in until after HS graduation, then help him find his niche. What does he enjoy doing? working on cars (many community colleges have auto motive courses), carpentry, plumbing, electrician? (start hunting for someone who will take him under his "wing" and train him...he could do this during the summer), computers ( tell him he can go to a specialty school after HS and get a technical degree in computers). Discuss with him the necessity of having a diploma as a base in our society, but help him see where it is leading to. It is important he understands that it is going to help him with an ultimate goal so he won't have to do stocking in grocery stores or waiting on tables the rest of his life.

Also, make sure that you help him organize his school work. I had a folder for each class my sons were in inside a larger binder. They also had a day-to-day calendar to keep homework assignments in. Be aware of long term assignments and do help him organize them and set specific dates to finish part of them by. Check each night that he has completed his homework before bed. Give him compliments and possibly rewards if he has it done every day for a week (you can keep track). Many children really do not like going to school, but feel overwhelmed by the home assignments and then don't do it so there is repercussions at school with teachers. Make sure you are in contact with the teachers and have them contact you if your son is having problems in their class. Then you can know which subjects you need to help him with. No, at 15 he is not too old to need help. Does he have a good reading base, math base....if not something like Syllavan or other tutoring during the summer might increase his self esteem level in his abilities to do the work. That often is the problem.

Hello, I know this is a tough one. I too have a 15 year old that is not interested in school. I see you are in Nevada. I found a charter shcool in the Los Angeles area called Opportunites for Learning. They only go a couple of times a week, and do the rest of the work from home. It is good because they can work at an accelerated pace and take community college classes at the same time. The credits are transferable to regular school in case they want to go back. Maybe there is something like that in your area. Good Luck!!!

Hey... I ditto the economics teacher... (Stephanie F) she hit it on the spot!!

Be supportive, be a parent (not his friend), and most of all be there to guide his path.
That is the jist of all your advice so far.

Best of luck to you... be strong and also, get your husband's help. This is too important to do alone.

Have your husband take your son to work with him. Maybe an hour before his lunch time.
It will place him in reality...

M. G.


Hi Mary,
My son also wanted to quit school at 15. His problem was a combination of just not fitting in with other students and boredom with classes. He was a "square peg" in a round hole, and needed more freedom in creative expression. He quit, got his GED right away and then went right into Community College. Unfortunately, he was not ready for the freedom that college allows their students and found the teachers to be uninteresting and in fact, not quite as bright as he was. He is now 25, has been back to University and plans on doing more, including working his way into a college that offers degrees in his interest ... music. He must pay for classes on his own though, to make up for the shortfall in credits in CC. This "boy" is so intelligent. His vocabulary is greater than most adults. He has written screenplays and is a wonderful musician/composer. He can do practically anything on a computer and is basically self taught. On his own has read War & Peace, books on the laws of physics and even the encyclopedia! My older son also dropped out of school at 17. He was skipping and going out with his friends. I decided that I would rather know where he was and, he too, got his GED and although not in college, is doing well. My daughter had problems in high-school also, but wanted very much to "walk the line" and with a LOT of work with the school, we managed to get them to allow her to do "home study" and still be involved in school sports. They did not think she would be able to do it, but she proved them wrong and graduated with her class.

My advice, find out why your son is so unhappy with school. Is it problems with peers, boredom with studies, teachers who lump him into the "norm"? See if he could and would be able to do home study for at least a few classes. Get him a copy of SATs ... maybe he is too bright for regular high school classes and is just bored. If he wants to go to college, make sure he knows that freedom doesn't necessarily mean you don't have to go if you don't feel like it and still have to complete assignments. For some, school just does not feed their interests and therefore they "shut down" and cannot benefit. Individual instruction is not usually an option in classrooms ... all must fit into the mold.

Be understanding, listen to your son's concerns and support his interests as much as you possibly can. See if there is a possibility of home study or home schooling for him. If you do let him quit, make sure he does something and not just sit around at home all day.

Say sorry too bad. All kids have to go to school. End of disscussion! If he skips school you escort him to all his classes till hr gets the point. If there is a serious problem at school, fix it or change school.

Wow, is that what he really wants or is there another reason that would mean he can't continue school?

Does he want to help out?

I would suggest that you require a better reason for the discussion to go forward. It is common knowledge that more school does not mean a better educated person for all of us. Does he have a plan? Go at it with an idea of casting the vision for what he would do instead. Treat him like an adult and see if you can get some info out of him regarding his plans. He may see your situation as something he could help fix. He may need some attention from Dad. This is a critical time for a child. If you are both working do your children entertain themselves? Is he responsible for his siblings?

Take some time to look at your family. Get Dad involved. Don't lose him.

My daughter and I home school with a Virtual home school program! We love it! Most of the lessons are on the computer and it is hands on for her and that is how she learns. I am lucky enough to stay home with her, but if I had to work I would find someone to stay with her so we could still home school!
I don't know if you could trust your son to stay home and do the work with out help but it may just work!
If you would like more info on the school we use just send me a message!


Have you asked him what it is he does'nt like about school? if it's just school he does'nt like, you can put him in an Independent school program, where he will still be getting an education, just not having to deal with the whole school atmosphere. Contact me if you want more info


I'm dealing with a son who doesn't like school right now (hey! 15 as well!). The best advice I can give is to tell him that you agree-- there are subjects that suck. There are teachers that aren't too cool. But that it's temporary and that it goes towards a future that he would like a lot better then what he could try to do without a diploma.

What would he like to do as his future? Talk to him about the necessity of staying in school because of that. Or, if he really isn't thinking that far ahead, have him start researching how much an apartment will be per month, car payments (and insurance), utilities... and when he figures out how much it's gong to cost, have him see if he's going to be able to find a job that'll pay for all that. That helped my son-- he still hates school, but he seems to know it's a "necessary evil".

Good luck. I'm pulling for you.

Adolescence is a tough time for everyone and maybe he doesn't realize that a lot of kids go through mixed feelings about school. He says he doesn't like school but you need to find out why he doesn't like it or what about school he doesn't like. Are there social reasons or is it just the classes that he's choosing that he doesn't like. If there are social reasons then possibly speaking with a counselor would help. They may also help with class selection. Try to find something that interests him within the school, whether it's a skateboarding group or something else that he finds interesting.

That said, we all have to do things we don't like...I don't like cleaning, but I have to do it. You probably don't like arguing over school with your son, but you have to do it. You need to show him how limited his choices will be if he quits school. What are his plans if he quits school? Does he have a job lined up? What happens when he decides he doesn't like working? Are you planning on supporting him through adulthood? You are both setting an example for the younger siblings and if he drops out of school the chances are even greater for your other kids.

Good luck.

Something is going on that he isn't comfortable talking to you about. If I were you I would find him a therapist and explain to him that you understand that his feelings are valid and you want him to be able to discuss them with someone if he doesn't feel comfortable discussing them with you but you can't just let him drop out without exploring other options because you love him and want the best for him. Even when your parents are open and willing to talk you don't feel comfortable talking to them. My mom always told me I could go to her and talk about anything but I was afraid at times because I didn't want her to be disappointed in me.

Dear Marybelle,
Tell him he is out of the house the second he turns 18.
And furthermore, he will absolutely ave to either join the
military or have a 40 hour a week job to share in the expensive life he is accustomed to.
After all a home is a very expensive thing to have, much less
And keeping his tummy full??? Well, I don't need to tell anybody how expensive it is.
A car??
He has no grip on realty!
Go to a web site:
see the World Clock and The Food Clock.
That scares Grownups!
Good Luck To You...This is a tough one!!

C. S.

I don't know where you live, but in our city we have "alternative" schools for kids who aren't into regular schools. They focus on things that kids like as well as careers that they may want to pursue in the future. You may want to look into something like that in your community. Good luck. :)


Let your son talk to a therapist. There may be something going on at school that upsets him and he doesn't want to talk to you about it. Maybe he and the therapist can work through it. There may be bullies, he may be being teased, he may have a learning disability, he may have difficulty with peer relationships, etc.


Hi M. ~ My youngest daughter wanted to quit school when she was that age too. Her friends were being homeschooled and she thought it would be better for her. I said no way! You don't have a choice "to go or not to go". School is non-negotiable. You must go. She cried, said she hated it, said it was boring, people are rude and she would do much better at home. I stood my ground. I am the middle of five children. My sister and 2 of my brothers dropped out of school in high school. My sister has only had 2 jobs in her lifetime. She is now 48, my brother 45 could only work laborous jobs and went back to school when he was in his 30's to get his GED and set an example for his 3 kids he was raising on his own. My other brother is 40 and lives at my mother's home because he cannot find a job and even if he could, he is too lazy to work! No way would I let this happen to my kids. This is life. It's hard, it's boring, sometimes you hate your situation but running away from difficult things is never the answer.

My daughter has always wanted to be a doctor. Since she was about 4 years old, she has nevcer wanted to be or do anything else. I told her, Doctor's don't quit. They can't. Our lives depend on it. You could be something amazing if you work hard and stick it out. The world would miss out on something wonderful if you quit. So, My daughter graduated high school, was the Student Body President, gave a speech at graduation, is now getting ready to start her second year of college (year 1 she got straight A's) and still wants to be a doctor.

I too suggest supporting your son. But put that support towards his education, not his natural desire to have an easy life wthout hard work.

Godd luck to you and your family. We are very fortunate in this day and age to get advice through the internet from many wise women. Take advantage of that and remember, our "jobs" as mothers is to raise our children to be ready and equiped to handle the world outside our home. Sometimes that means teaching our children to do the things they don't want to do in order to get the results they ultimately want.

Hi Marybelle,
I was homeschooled from 3rd grade all the way through. In high school my parents gave me the option to go back but by then I felt that sitting in a classroom was a waste of time. At home I could learn at my own pace and concentrate more on the areas that interested me. I finished a semester early and took some classes at a local college. It's possible that school is going either too fast or he's bored waiting for the others to catch up. Depending on his diligence maybe he could just finish up high school at home. Of course it's totally a family decision if you want him home alone all day, but it's an option!

Dear Marybelle,

Do I ever know what you are saying! My son, who's 18 now and just got out of high school was the same way. He has been this way since 1st grade. He absolutely hated school. The subjects he liked such as art, PE, etc. he passed. The subjects he didn't, history, english, economics he didn't pass. But,he did pass both of his high school exit eaxams in his sophomore/junior years. He is now taking the GED pre-tests which he has passed all and signing up for the GED Test.

There are so many teachers out there that have forgotten why they started teaching. They are overworked, stressed out and treated like dirt by students that just don't care and they are becoming unattached to the passion they had for teaching when they first began. They don't make it fun to learn anymore!

Is there any way you can homeschool your son? I know I threatened to do it, but then I would think about how that would affect him and having friends. I now wish I had stuck to my guns and just did it.

Don't give up on your son, there has to be a solution. With my son...classes were just too long (they had block scheduling and so each class was 2 hours long). He passed all the night classes or summer school classes that he had to take because they were accelerated. He is very smart and could have passed every class he had in H.S. but he was just plain BORED to death at school.

I hope some of this has helped you. Talk to your son's counselor at school, maybe they have a solution. Here, we also have a tech school that kids who aren't doing well in H.S. gets sent to. It is smaller and more one on one with the kids and my nephew did very well there and he said liked it better than H.S.


My heart goes out to you......

Maybe he is having some peer issues. Many bright children want to quit school because the peer pressure and teasing or bullying become too much. Maybe it is this school in particular. Talk to him and really listen without trying to solve the problem at first. when we really tune in we can often hear what is not being said.

How are his grades? Are you and our husband involved in his education? asking about homework, minding his grades? sometimes they will not think its worth it if we don't take the time to notice.

There is so much here but i would say since summer is approaching, just listen closely and engage him often about his feelings; again, without trying to "change his mind"


Hi Marybelle -

I'm sure this is terrible news to you! I hated school too, but stuck it out until 2nd year of college. I've regretted not finishing college, but why waste time regretting... What I figured out after many years of being an adult is that I learn differently from the way school was taught in the 60's & 70's. The only alternative we knew of was a continuation school for kids who had been expelled (that was too scary for me, for obvious reasons).

After I left college, I learned there were such things as alternative schools & art schools that also taught general ed classes. There are so many more schools like that now than there were when I was growing up. You don't say where you live, but I heard recently of a school in Long Beach. A friend told me about a graduation she attended and how happy the kids were who were graduating, how validated they seemed to be. I'm sorry that I don't know the name of the school.

Another friend recently told me she had hired an educational consultant for a new area she and her family are moving to, so she can get her kids in the place that is best for them. That was completely new to me, as I had never heard of such a thing, but it sounds like a wonderful thing. You don't say how long your son has hated school, whether this is sudden, or if it's that he's just had it and wants out because he can't take it anymore. If it's the latter, consider this - everyone has a different way of processing information, and he may need to learn in an environment that uses a different approach than the norm. I urge you to look for an educational consultant as soon as possible, and also of course find out why he hates school, how long he's felt this way, especially.

I wish you & your family all the best,

Have you contacted his councler they should be able to recommend a program in your area where he can continue his studies. My son didnt like school and i was not going to force him to go because the teachers really dont care if they do the work the will just fail them. so we spoke with is counclor and she recommended IEHP it is a home school program and that has really help. sometimes we need to put ourself in thier shoes. And gently guide them through what we want them to accomplish... i hope this works for you as it has worked for me...

Your son is not alone by any means. Actually my instructor just talked about this not too long ago, she is also a therapist. Children need to know they are in control of their life. Sit down with him and listen to what he has to say. If he tells you he wants to quite school tell him I understand that, "I dont think its a wise choice, but it is YOUR choice. Let me know when you stop going to school. Before quitting at least go find a job (if he doesnt already have one). Tell him he is expected to pay $300 per month in rent, he'll have to figure out how to get to and from work, you dont mind driving but he'll be paying for the gas. Insurance will also be his expense, since he will no longer be in school it will be much higher. Any clothes or extra activities he wishes to participate in will be his doing.

Be firm, strong and stick with it; he'll come around. Have him earn some money by doing things around the house. If he mows the grass, give him $5...tell him you cant give him more. In the real world, that is what he would make without a highschool degree.

Make sure it is his choice, he needs that control. Let us know how it turns out.


My old standby, no school, no car, no license.

You can dangle that over him tell he finishes. He may also need tutoring, counseling, and Dad.

I raise 4 boys vertually alone.

Good Luck ~ F.

Not sure if this will relate to you or not, however my son is 14 and also hates school, which alot of teenagers now a days feel that way. With the pressure of being cool, fitting in, peer pressure can get the best of him. My son who just finished 8th grade confessed some pretty shocking issues he went threw. An issue that I never would of expected, I was one of those parents that thought "not my kid" but I was wrong. I don't want to scare you but open your eyes to things you might not think can happen. Dig deeper but don't be a pest, you don't want to push him away.
My son smoked pot with his (so called friends) Not once but quite a few times before school in the morning after I dropped him off. Not that this is the case with your son, I am only telling you this because there may be something bigger there than you think. My son is a good kid,unfortunately he is a follower and not a leader and it got the best of him...Take care and God bless...After my son and I discussed this he was relieved I figured it out, thankful I knew and that we would get threw this together.

No, no, no...no quiting darling teen! Dad needs to intervene (gently)and school must do somehting as well. Something is going on with your boy, makes me wonder if anyone hurt him in a particular way? Please help your boy in any way you can, but don't let him quit. The quality of his life will go down forever without schooling. May be let him read the answers to your post? Good luck! Ali

I would also recommend a non traditional approach. Not every child fits the mold in a traditional school system and I'm sure he's tired and wants to move on. You don't want him to drop out.
Try charter school with flexible schedules, home school programs where he goes in to classes a couple days a week and the rest is like independent study. His Labs would be completed on sight and you would just be support and assist in his assignments as appropriate. He could also take a test for high school completion, but he wouldn't get a diploma.
Be willing to move "outside the box" to help him succeed.
Good Luck!

My son wasn't doing well in high school due to a lot of medical absences, so we decided to try a nontraditional approach, and pulled him out in 9th grade. He's been in a charter school since then. He is in 1 or 2 classes at a time, does all his work at home, and goes in for tests on these subjects 2 times/week. He's really thriving. There are also internet home schooling, but these require more self-motivation and are more expensive. Since ours is through the school district, it is free. Explore what is available in your area--you'd be surprised. He may really thrive! I'll bet there is something at school he just isn't liking.

good luck!


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