Your Teen Isn't Going Graduating. Now What Do You Do?

Talk to your teen about the importance of getting his diploma.
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Unfortunately, the news that they're not graduating from high school with their class comes as a shock to many teens. Quite often, they get the final word just weeks or perhaps days before they expected to get their diploma. 

And for parents, the news can be devastating as well. Perhaps your teen had a job lined up or maybe she had plans to join the military. But without a high school diploma, she might not be able to follow her dreams.

If you've learned your teen isn't going to graduate this year, don't panic. Instead, take these steps:

1. Talk to Your Teen

If your teen says he's not going to graduate, skip the lecture and avoid yelling. Instead, ask some questions to learn what happened.

Contact the school and make an appointment with the school guidance office as soon as possible. Your teen should attend the appointment with you.

2. Attend the Meeting With an Open Mind 

Blaming the school or yelling at the guidance counselor won't be helpful. And it won't help your teen get a diploma.

So attend the meeting with the intention of creating a plan. Talk about what to do next so your teen can get a diploma, regardless of whether you think the school needs to take some responsibility for the problem. 

3. Discuss Options

Schools are busy places that work on rules and regulations. Inquire about options such as: 

  • If your teen is not graduating because of lack of credits, is there a summer school course he can take that will allow him to walk with his class? Often teens who walk with their class receive their diploma at a later date because of lack of credits.
  • If your teen is not graduating because of too many bad grades, you will need to resign yourself to the fact that he will not be able to graduate this year. Take some time off to deal with the disappointment and then work out a plan to get the diploma.
  • If your teen is receiving his diploma but not walking in the graduation ceremony because of discipline actions, accept the consequences and celebrate your teen's academic achievement.

    4. Don't Treat Your Teen Like a Failure

    Being disappointed is expected, but the sooner you start your teen down a positive path towards completing his education, the more likely he will be to succeed. Talk about how to turn this into a useful life lesson. Look at this as a mistake, not a lifelong disaster.

    Help your teen develop a plan for obtaining his diploma. Make sure he knows that getting a diploma late is much better than not getting one at all. 

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