If you're concerned they may have problems with school it's very important you listen to them and let them know that you're there to support them. But if you feel that they're trying it on start to take away perks - don't let them go out with their friends, take their mobile phone away, don't allow them on the computer or to watch TV.
Check up on themHowever embarrassing it is for your child, check every day that they've gone to school. Kids can be devious, they may have told the school a lie: that they had a doctor's appointment, or rung in sick.
If you can physically take them there, do so. Otherwise, ring the school to make sure, or ask the school to let you know if they haven't turned up by a certain time.
What if your child hates school?It may be because the work is too hard, or maybe they're finding secondary school daunting or are being bullied. Try to find out why they hate school so much.
Talk to the school.
If you feel you're getting nowhere with the school and your child is still very unhappy, it may be worth looking at moving them to another school, especially if you feel they have a valid reason for doing so.
Get help for themIt may help for your child to talk through any problems about school with someone else. Does the school have a counsellor? Most secondary schools do.
Find a good role modelIf you're worried they've fallen in with the 'wrong crowd' and they may be truanting because of peer pressure, try to get your child to sever the links with the other children that are skipping school.
Show them examples of 'cool' people who've done well in life because they didn't skip school. Try to encourage them into new friendships with children you know don't truant.
Is there a teacher your child gets on well with? Make an appointment to go and talk to them. Explain that your child needs a good role model, can they help out?
Your school will help youRemember, you're not in this alone. Although you do have a legal responsibility to make sure your child does attend school regularly, your child's school and the local education authority (LEA) will understand that sometimes it can be a battle to enforce that and are there to help you get over this problem. They want your child to attend school as much as you.
What if they keep missing school?You'll probably be contacted by your child's head of year or the head of your child's school. They may ask you to sign up to a Parenting Contract, a voluntary agreement between you and the local education authority or the school's governing body. You'll be given support to help make sure your child attends school.
- Next: what does the law say?
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