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Tuesday, August 28, 2012 - Page updated at 05:00 a.m.
Carolyn Hax: Find out what's driving a child's desire to drop out
By Carolyn Hax
While Caroline's away, readers give the advice.
ON HELPING A CHILD WHO WANTS TO DROP OUT OF SCHOOL: Talk to your kid about why. To get to the point of dropping out, which is a pretty extreme step for most kids, they might have found the whole or part of the experience really miserable. In addition to any substance-abuse issues: Do they hate the social scene? Do they feel the social scene hates them? Are they being harassed? Do they have learning-skill issues, like ADHD? Do they feel the subjects taught have no relation to what concerns them most? How long have they felt this way? Was there an event that was pivotal?
Their answers to your respectful, concerned questioning, over the course of one or more conversations, will help you figure out whether and how you can help.
I dropped out after spring break during my senior year in high school. I ended up getting my GED. I probably could have dropped out junior year and successfully completed my GED, and I'm no Einstein. I hated the high-school social scene, had always felt like an outsider and couldn't relate the subjects taught to my turbulent inner world. I had undiagnosed ADHD and was probably clinically depressed to boot. My parents were completely flummoxed by my behavior and didn't know what to do.
You can outline for your kid why schooling will help him control what happens to him in life, why it's really important to learn self-discipline and how to work hard, and why it's useful to know how to survive socially, but there are other places than a high school where one can learn those things.
Most important, let him know you're in his corner; you love him; and you just want to see him able to create a happy, productive and fulfilling life, no matter the path.
— A.ON USING FAMILY MEMBERS VS. ENJOYING THEIR COMPANY: When I saw the live-chat post June 22, 2012, about the woman who was asked to hold a dog at a wedding, I blew milk out my nose. Last winter, my son and his wife drove 1,000 miles with their baby and dog to visit her parents, who live 60 miles from me. They stopped at my house long enough to drop off the dog and then spent the next two weeks very busy — oh, so much going on; oh, all her family is in town and there is so much company to see; oh, we were up so late last night and are so tired today ...
I saw them again on their way home when they came back through town to pick up the dog. One letter-writer saw taking care of a dog at a wedding as a great honor, and in fact, I do like this dog and took good care of him. But I've had trouble coming to grips with what I've perceived as a gross insult. I have tried to shrug this off for six months, but today I was finally able to laugh out loud.
Find her columns daily at www.seattletimes.com
Copyright 2012 Washington Post Writers Group
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