But some students drop out emotionally well before that. Be alert for these signs that your teen may be a dropout—even if she is still officially on the school rolls.

• Constant complaints about school. Teenagers always have some complaints about some teachers. Your teen doesn’t need to like every teacher, but constant complaints about all of them are a sign of trouble. Similarly, if your teen says that every subject is “a waste of time,” that may spell trouble ahead.

• Absenteeism. Teens can’t learn when they’re not in school. Skipping school or being consistently late is a clue that there’s trouble ahead.

• Not bringing books home. High school teachers assign homework. High school students who don’t bring work home cannot earn good grades.

• Poor grades. A teen who has one or more failing grades is at much greater risk of dropping out.

• A constant list of excuses for failure. Teens sometimes try to excuse their own failure with statements like, “The teachers don’t like me,” or “Everyone is failing in that class.”

• Separation from school friends and activities.

• Development of newer, possibly older friends, particularly those who may not be enrolled in school.

If your teen shows one or more of these signs, you need to contact the school. Working together, you can get your teen back on course to finish high school.

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