My teenager is skipping school

Your Question

Hi, I just found out that my teenager has been skipping classes during the week and has recently skipped two full days of school. I tried to talk to them about it and they shouted back with the usual “you know I hate school!” I don’t know what to do.. How can I make this stop?


Hi there,

Many thanks for reaching out. It is really hard to know how to handle situations such as a teenager skipping school but it is really positive that you have tried to have an open conversation with them about this.

Young people may skip or avoid school for many reasons which can be hard to understand. School can seem like an overwhelming place, with lots of people, lots of noise and lots of demands placed on students. We understand that you have tried to approach this conversation with them before. It may help to reflect on a different approach to the conversation. Maybe focus on validating those thoughts or feelings they are having such as “I know you don’t like school and it can seem stressful..” or “I know school can seem lonely..” Approaching conversations in this way allows for opportunities for your teen to respond with either agreeing or disagreeing with what you say and is a good first step in the process. Although they may not be ready to speak just yet, letting them know you are there for when they want to speak is also important and it sounds like you have done a great job of this already.

It may also help to have a conversation with school staff around how to support this, maybe track the days or classes your teen misses and this may help to identify the specific classes or situations they need support in. Teachers or year heads may have experience in supporting teenagers through similar situations before and it helps to have open communication around this.

Some teenagers may be avoiding school due to specific emotions arising. There are a lot of resources that can help with understanding this further such as this pack from the National Educational Psychological Service:

Or you can find more information from CYPSC:

We hope you have found this helpful. If you would like to talk more about this, you can contact ISPCC’s Support Line which can be contacted by email to [email protected] or by phone from Monday to Friday 9am – 1pm on 01 522 4300 

Take care,  


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