Truancy, or the act of avoiding school without excuse, is a growing problem among school-aged children. As a parent, you may have come across days when your child seems to be absent from school without any valid reason.
While some children may simply skip school occasionally, others could develop a pattern of truancy that may lead to serious consequences. It’s not uncommon for parents to be unaware of a child’s truancy, and that neglect may lead to negative implications in their academics.
In this article, we’ll explore the common signs of truancy and provide parents with helpful tips on how to handle the situation. So, is your child secretly playing truant? Read on to find out.
What Can Cause My Child To Play Truant?
In the context of truancy, the act of skipping school may seem like a simple rebellious act of trying to avoid responsibilities, but the underlying reasons can sometimes stem from a deeper issue. Here are a few common reasons for your child’s misconduct.
Peer pressure / Bullying
Children may feel compelled to skip school in order to impress their peers or avoid being bullied or harassed by them when they do not feel comfortable at school.
Boredom / Learning Difficulties
Some children find school boring and unengaging, which can lead them to skip classes. They may also carry such a mindset from their struggling academics and may feel discouraged and unmotivated to continue.
Family problems / Lack of parental involvement
In addition, parents who are not involved in their children’s education may not prioritize school attendance or may not notice when their child is skipping.
Mental Health Issues
Struggles with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues can also be the primary reason for misconduct. The symptoms may be difficult to recognize, but they are serious deficiencies that need to be addressed before they get worse.
Warning Signs of Truancy
Red flags can be difficult to identify as they may not be obvious or may be mistaken for other issues. Besides the obvious indicator of academic performance, here are 4 common signs that you might have missed of a truant child.
Frequent tardiness can be an indication of truancy. A child who is often a few minutes late to class or consistently arriving after the bell has rung may be already struggling to maintain regular attendance.
2. Excused Absences
“Perfect attendance” records can also be maintained if your child falsely reports illness or manages to secure other legitimate reasons for missing school.
It is important for parents and educators to verify the validity of these excuses and to monitor them closely.
A disconnection from regular attendance can also result in a reclusive mentality. Your child may appear to become disengaged from their academics and social activities, avoiding participation in class, extracurricular activities, and events.
They may also distance themselves and withdraw from social interactions with peers and teachers, generally uninterested in school life.
Disengagement can actually be subtle and hard to notice at first, thus it is important to be mindful of the early signs of mood changes and general secrecy of your child.
4. Increase in Internet or Phone Usage
If your child is out of school or a class that they should be attending, chances are that they’ve occupied their time on their devices.
Truant children may use the internet or their phones as a means of escape, and may spend hours on end online or talking and texting with friends during school hours instead of studying.
How Do I Approach My Child About This?
If you suspect or find signs of your child’s misdeed, take the following approach in order so that you can approach the situation maturely:
Seek Support — Inform and seek support from school authorities. They can get things back on track by providing counseling services or making special arrangements for your child. Never go into this alone; school professionals are always there to help.
Monitor Progress — Monitor your child’s progress throughout the truancy period. Ensure that the action plan is being implemented correctly and is having a positive impact on your child.
Continue talking to your child from time to time to check in on them and ensure that their mental health is being taken care of.
Encourage Good Behavior — Finally, it’s important to recognize good behavior. Reward your child for goals and milestones that are set either through praise or physical incentives. Positive reinforcement is one of the essences of good parenting, and the biggest form of encouragement.
A Learning Process
Through truancy, students are given the opportunity to recognize the importance of attending school, taking responsibility for their actions, and making positive changes for their future.
With the support of teachers, parents and other significant adults in their life, students who have experienced truancy can learn and improve.
It is up to us as a society to understand and support these young individuals and to provide them with the tools they need to succeed in school and in life.
To read more about this topic, check out a few of our related articles below.