17 answers

17 Year Old Who Quit School

I have a 17 year old son and I also have a 15 year old son and a 10 year old daughter. Last month my 17 year decided he no longer wants to go to school--"and I can't make him go". He does not work, but says he is looking for a job. He sleeps till around 11 every day doesn't do anything around the house and makes sure he is gone before I get home from work. Basically he sleeps here, takes a shower and communicates with his friends. He stays out all weekend and rarely tells me where he is. I want to send him to his dad's--he says he won't go. I know that he will never amount to anything as long as I allow him to continue this behavior. I don't want the confrontation and feel guilty every time I think about telling him he needs to leave. Then he comes home and gives me a big hug and a kiss and tells me he loves me, and I melt--he is my baby after all. I know I've got to buck and big strong for him. In my opinion he will never learn to make good decisions and become a good man unless he is allowed to fall on his face and have to pick hisself back up. What do I do? HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the responses. It really supported my own thoughts and helped me get a handle on the situation. He is going to his dad's this weekend to go to work. I told him that I love him very much and will always be there if needs someone to talk too, but he can no longer live with me. I know it's going to be hard for him and me and I know he will make bad decisions, but he has to learn to pick hisself back up. I will let ya'll know how it goes. Thanks so much again.

Featured Answers

Take them to homeless shelters, to southeast raleigh, to see the bad parts of town... and ask him if thats what he wants for his life. Then take him to the business and law colleges or any nice colleges in the area, point out the girls.. lol jk... and ask him if thats what he wants for his life....
also, get involved with him at least 3 times a week or more... ask questions...
just a thought

I just want to say I hope everything works out for you and that I agree with everything that everyone else has already said.
Good Luck!

More Answers

Take them to homeless shelters, to southeast raleigh, to see the bad parts of town... and ask him if thats what he wants for his life. Then take him to the business and law colleges or any nice colleges in the area, point out the girls.. lol jk... and ask him if thats what he wants for his life....
also, get involved with him at least 3 times a week or more... ask questions...
just a thought

GO, to God in prayer.He will lead you . Join a church of your choise. Look into a youth session. Never give up don't stop praying

I'm one of 5 children, and the only one to graduate H.S. and pursue a higher education. All of my sisters and my brother struggle as adults because of their lack of education. The ladies here are correct. Give him a week to find a job. Start charging him for food, rent, etc. If he doesn't find a job, tell him to walk. Change your locks if you have to...if you don't do it now, it will haunt you for the rest of your life. You may feel bad about it, but you aren't doing him any favors by coddling him. If he's adult enough to decide he won't go to school, then he's adult enough to support himself. Be strong and don't back down. They can smell weakness!

Love him enough to help him. First, he has suffered if he quit school. I am sure he has no self esteem. You can go a couple dif routes. One is, sit him down and tell him he will have to labor hard the rest of his life without a degree of some kind. He can stay home if he takes classes to get his GED and works part time, giving you 1/2 of what he makes. His probable only option will be fast food, but he needs to get right over to whichever one will take him.
Other option is Job corp- excellent for teaching him what he needs to know about making it in life. He WILL get his GED there, and learn a trade, they pay for everything.
Sounds like he is still sweet, and needs a few weeks but don't let it go on too long. You have to give them ultimatums. Like, if he gets the ged, he can go into the military at 18.

I couldn't begin to tell anyone what to do in this situation. But let me tell you what MY mom did when my sister pulled this. She packed her a bag, changed the locks on the door and pushed my sister out. TOUGH LOVE. I hate to say, it took 20 yrs for my sister to turn her life around. But she is now a responsible working woman raising her boys on her own. She also became a Christian. You are right about enabling him by allowing him to live in your home and manipulate you. Are you certain he is not taking any drugs? I sure hope not. Anyway, all the best in whatever decision you make. I hope it works out.

Kick him out...It's the hardest thing to do but if you do not set the tone now..The others may follow and he is running you not the other way around. I had a son that gave me so many problems and one day 3 weeks before Christmas I did it... I couldn't take another minute of it...Kick him out... Make him deal with the consequences of his own actions...

Don't give him a penny, don't wash his clothes...Basically go ON Strike if he is..

Tough but the only way. He needs to know you are serious.
School or work...I'm not paying for a dead beat and I didn't raise one.


My advice is to Kick him out. I moved out when i was 16. I had a job and i found a place to live. I even dropped out of school. Well 2 months later i came back home went back to school Finished with my class because i went to summer school and then moved back out on my own. Kids have to learn Responsibility these days.

Hi S.,

My sister went through some of this with my niece. First, make him get up and go at the samae time you do every day. Second, have hi go out and find out what it will cost to get a place to live, pay for utilities, food, gas, and insurance, and anything else he thinks he *needs*. Then, tell him to figure out where he's going to get a job to make that kind of money. It's not as easy as they think. My niece is 20 with a high school diploma and some college. She's working non-stop to make enough money to live. She doesn't have the money to go out with her friends and works at a restaurant, so she gets a discount on food.

He needs to be held responsible for his decisions. He's using you and free-loading. If he's going to stay, he needs to pay rent (even if you set the money aside for when he actually moves out to help pay his deposits). You aren't doing him any favors by letting him do this to you. If he's old enough to decide to drop out of school, he's old enough to take on his responsibilities. If he's going to mess up, better to do it now than when he's older and can really mess up his credit.

Also, look at the exaample *you* are allowing him to set for your other children. If it's that easy for him, it will be that easy for them, too. How long were you planning to support all of them?

Good luck!!

Hi S..
I had problems when I was in high school, mostly just laziness. I transferred to an alternative school, a few hours a day, and could work at my own pace.. This could've been a godsend to me, had I not blown it. It was really easy for me to just not show up, and when my mom found out, she kicked my butt to the curb. She gave me 2 weeks to get out, which gave me enough time to get a job and move in with my boyfriend (big mistake). My job required me to get my GED, which I did, but I regret dropping out everyday. I'm a stay at home mom now, because any job I may get now will not even cover child care costs. Luckily, I was not on drugs at the time, but because I had messed up pretty bad, I did get into them later on. Luckily I was strong enough to get away from them, and have been clean for 3 years. His sleeping in all day and being gone before you get home could definatly be due to drugs, or just avoidance. I would definatly recommend you getting a drug test (which you can by at places like CVS) and surprise him with it. Make sure he takes it right away, or he could get someone else to pee for him. I wouldn't recommend kicking him out if he is on drugs, because I'm sure he'd have druggy friends he could stay with that would just make his problem worse. If that's the case, you'll want to look into rehabs. If he's just avoiding you, you must get strong and make an ultimatum. Like the other women said, "if he can't go to school, he must get a job (be strong!!) and if he stays at your house, he must pay rent. My mom kicking me out made me wise up, and finding out how hard it was to take care of myself was a big awakening. If you don't stick with it, he'll know he can take advantage of it.. My favorite saying, "people only do to you, what you allow them to do to you". If you allow him to take advantage of you and disrespect you, he will continue to do it. Be strong.. and Good Luck

Hi S.. As a teacher and mother, I know how important education is. Obviously you do too or you wouldn't be concerned that he quit school and you are right "you can't make me go" is something we hear all the time at school.

Now, I have not had this happen to me, but I have seen it from some students and parents at school. In my opinion, I think you need to give him a little tough love. Personally, I beleive I would take everything out of his room (and I do mean everything except clothes - no bed, no computer, no tv, no nothing) and tell him he only gets free room and board if he is in school. Tell him he has one week to find a job (my 17 year old found one in two days) or go back to school. After that everything is going to goodwill if he has not done one of the other. If he decides to go for the job, instead of school, figure out how much of the bills are his (1/4 of everything) and give him a bill for the month. I am having a flashback to an episode of the Cosby Show when the oldest son decided to do the same thing.

Maybe use some bargaining and tell him if he successfully attends the Adult High School program at the closest community college that you will cut him some slack on the bills. Most 9th graders could pass and get their GED.

As far as going to live with his dad - make sure the two of you are on the same page before you do any of this. I don't know what that situation is like, but hopefully you two have some type of communication going.

As an educator I am glad to see a concerned parent. I hope this helps and good luck.

He sounds a lot like me when I was his age. I dropped out of school when I was 16 and my mom told me if I wasn't going to go to high school, then I needed to get my GED and work. If I wasn't willing to do that, then I couldn't live in her house and she would not help me financially. I wasn't a very tough kid, so I gave in and did both. I also went to college and graduated with honors. My mom also told me I would have to pay rent if I wasn't going to school. You could try that, but I really don't know how you would enforce it - I know my mom couldn't. Just be tough with him and also show him you love him - if he thinks he is adult enough to quit school and go out all weekend, then he is adult enough to support himself financially. I don't think you have to necessarily kick him out of the house (at least until he turns 18), but if you pay for his clothes, car, gas, etc. - then stop. It isn't very easy to go out all weekend with no money!

I just want to say I hope everything works out for you and that I agree with everything that everyone else has already said.
Good Luck!

You are right, he is going to have to fall one good time. As tough as it will be to do this, I think you should change the locks on the door when he is gone. Tell him that if you drop out of school, you are now considered a man. Real men work and help pay bills. Then stay strong and let him decide. Good Luck!

S. - I had a friend who's daugther wouldn't follow the house rules - and she went to court and actually had her on a type of 'house arrest'. She was actually into drugs and stuff - but same deal - didn't want to do what mom wanted her to do... if you'd like I will contact her and see what the process is and if this would apply to something you might be able to do. Without a HS diploma there aren't many job opportunities - my son just turned 18 and had been looking for a job activly for the last year and a half - most places don't even look at you till you are 18 around here. So he may be looking but not finding anything - so basically all you are doing is enabling him - hate to say that - cause I know how you feel - esp. when they are sweet to you and you know that deep down they really do love you!

Let me know if you want me to find out more info for you!

well, I also dropped out when I was 16...I moved out of my moms house...I didint give a rip about the tough love thing. My best friend atthe time was doing night school, so I did that with her. I dont know if they have that here...It had more of real life classes...like balancing your check book...real life things that I needed. And I worked f/t during the days. I would have graduated through there but my mom found this amazing alternative school that completely changed my life. I went to visit it and was all ready to say noooooo, but ended up loving it! What exactly about school does your son hate?
I would laso share stories with him. My hubby dropped out of high school his sophmore year...never got his GED and we pay for it all the time! Once you are out of that loop, its hard to go back and take the test. His opportunites are limited b/c he has no GED or diploma. I know that is really hard to take personally at 17...My brother did the same thing. He also refuses to take part in any of that. He's a brilliant person but school didnt work for him...he had some mental block against it.
It's so hard to go back...its soooo much easier to just finish and move on. Im sureyou have already triedtalking to him...but try again...really see if you can get him to talk about WHY he doesnt want to be there!!
Good luck! Teenagers can be so harsh! I def. was, and I know karma is coming for me with my 3 girls!

I'm not really sure, but here's my thoughts. tell him that he is only 17, which means he is not an adult and he doesn't get ot make decisions like dropping out of school. Try maybe to put your foot down and say "if yo udon't go to school, you don't stay here". If he chooses to leave, he is a runaway -- report him. That might change his mind. I think you need to be a little bit more firm with him. he isn't respecting you because you let him walk all over you. I knwo it has got to be hard, and I have no idea what you are going through or what I would do in the situation. Those are my thoughts. I hope you get it figured out ,and remember he is not an adult yet, eh is still a child -- YOU need to show him that YOU are in control of HIS life, not visa versa!

My husband quit highschool when he was a junior...that was after failing because of attendance. He is smart as whip, almost too much so for his own good. However, after being turned down for a position with Norfolk Southern and Toyota for not having a GED, he did go and get it, at 20 years old. Now, he regrets dropping out. My mother-in-law could do nothing with him, and his dad was in Ohio and couldn't do much either.
So I agree with some of the things everyone else is saying. Tough love. The thing about clearing out his room. That's good, however he does have to have at least a mattress. Quit giving him money, tell him he has to be responsible for his own food, transportation, etc. Flipping burgers may be his only option. If you find yourself wanting to cave, lock yourself in somewhere AWAY from temptation. Give him a grocery bill at the end of the month, or beginning. If, he has a car, and your name is anywhere on it. You can take that away. When he has a job, he can get it back. Whatever you do, don't give up or give in, you are also setting an example for your other kids. If they are watching him take advantage, they will try too also. Good luck and feel free to contact me anytime, my husband would be glad to talk some sense into him. Matt has been in the military for 5 1/2 years!

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