What to do When Your Child Hates School
Is your child refusing to go to school? Are they are so reticent to start the day that getting them to school on time is a constant struggle? When your child is not enjoying school, it can make things difficult for the whole family. The first thing to realize is that you are not alone and that most students go through this at some point in their academic careers. While the cause of these bad school mornings can be fairly innocent like not having done homework or the desire to avoid gym class, you must be prepared to take action should the behavior persist.
Causes of Absenteeism
When students don't want to go to school, or are so slow in getting ready that they make you late or if they are constantly beset with imaginary symptoms, there may be a more serious underlying cause. When students start to fall behind academically, they can feel overwhelmed, lose confidence and feel embarrassed. This can be seriously detrimental to their ability to grow and develop.
Bullying by teachers or other students can also cause your child to feel enormous anxiety about going to school. From simply dreading each day to a phenomenon called school phobia, your student's fears should be taken seriously and addressed so that they can have a happier, healthier academic career.
One of the biggest hurdles to resolution is that students are often not able to verbalize their fears. They may be too embarrassed or afraid or maybe they fear that you will take action that could embarrass them in front of their peers. One clue that can help is the level of anxiety that your child displays when they have to go to school. Anxiety can manifest in different ways from being overly emotional to physical symptoms such as stomach aches or headaches. Moodiness and loss of appetite are also side effects of anxiety and since you know your child best, these should be easy to pick up.
Of course you need to speak with your child first and ask them specific questions. If you find them unresponsive, try to address their fears of public embarrassment or retribution. If they remain tight-lipped, speak with their teachers. Teachers are a great resource here because they have a much better understanding of what goes on at school.
Give it time. If your child needs to take a break, discuss this with their teacher and principal to find a schedule that will keep them up to date with school work. If bullying is the culprit, most school have plans in place to work with the students to resolve these issues.
If the problem is academic, consider getting an in-home tutor to help your child catch up and keep up. Tutors who work one-on-one will help them to fill in the missing building blocks in their academic knowledge while teaching study and organizational skills that will help them to become effective independent learners.
If you child does stay home for a while, don't make it a fun experience. They must work during school hours and there should be no TV or internet.
Be patient and caring when your child doesn't want to go to school. Use the amazing resources that teachers and school councilors provide so that you can encourage your child to have a positive academic experience.