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Ask the Experts: How do I get my 12-year-old daughter to go to school?



Every morning is a struggle getting my 12-year-old daughter, Layla, to go to school. Last week, I even got a call from school saying she had taken off after first period. I found her sitting in a local park. I try to reason with her but I feel like it’s not going anywhere. Help!

Latoya J., Alpharetta, GA


Children thrive with structure and routine. Let's start with the night before. A clearly stated and simple bedtime routine may set the stage for a successful morning routine. Perhaps going through a 2-3 step bedtime routine followed by a light evening treat might set the stage for morning. When morning dawns, a simple 2-3 step routine could be followed by a favorite breakfast food. Plenty of time, sequenced events and family time should be part of the 'getting up in the morning' schedule. If this simple, proactive approach does not work, a more formal rewards/consequences routine can always be established later. However, it's best to start simple, sequential and positive. Give things time. Speaking of time, a rushed morning is something no one enjoys. The adults need to be 'up and ready' to monitor this positive morning! Time is on the side of the child's development and as they mature, they adopt into our routines of living.

-Dr. Ed and Dorothy

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