Modern children live under a lot of pressure related to achieving educational success. They hear from almost everywhere how important education is and how “they will be fine” if they do not get this education. Parents often succumb to this pressure and adapt to the circumstances and requirements of the school, although many of them intuitively feel that it is not good for their children. This often leads to a situation where the child refuses to go to school. Either he talks about it outright or he has all sorts of diseases that prevent him from doing so. So what can a parent do when a child refuses to go to school? I don’t want to go to school.
When a child communicates to parents that he or she does not want to go to school, it is worth taking care of what the child says and hearing his emotions. It is definitely not worth saying “What nonsense are you talking about, you know that you have to go to school” or “I go to work, it’s my duty, and you go to school”.
The child needs neither a sermon, nor instruction, nor admonition or moralization. It is worth accepting and respecting what he says by giving empathy. Accepting a child and his or her school experience, or hearing their refusal, does not mean agreeing to the child not going to school. It means empathetic support in the form of the message: “I hear/see/understand that sometimes you do not want to go to school, especially when you are waiting for dad to come and you would like to be home when he comes back”.
It is important to accompany your child in what he or she is going through, which is simply being with him.
What might the child’s words “I don’t want to go to school” mean? How is it worth it for a parent to react?
- Talking about emotions. If a child is talking about sadness, fear, anger, etc., he or she must feel this way at that moment. The parent should participate in experiencing the child’s emotions, accompany him in his frustration, anger, maybe sadness, or disappointment. This does not mean that your baby should stay home. The child needs empathy from the parent.
- It is worth believing that a child may be tired of school, pressure, atmosphere, relationships, extracurricular activities. It may help to look at the schedule of the day and see if it is overloaded with activities and include time for rest, play, and boredom.
- Communicating difficulties. It is worth asking and listening, e.g. what would happen for you to go to school? What would help you go to school? Which school would you like to go to? Perhaps it is also worth making an appointment with the teacher.
What difficulties may a child experience when refusing to go to school? What is worth paying attention to?
Must Read: What is behind the child’s silence?
- Learning difficulties in one or more subjects. When a child receives a third one in a given subject, this may mean that he or she is having difficulty mastering some part of the teaching material. It is worth talking to him about it, asking what help he needs, what can his parent do for him? Sometimes it helps to go to the teacher and talk calmly and concentrate on finding solutions rather than blaming yourself.
- Difficulties with adaptation – they may occur when a child starts a new educational stage, changes class or school. A child may feel isolated and excluded from the class team because they have joined an already integrated class. It is necessary to talk to a psychologist, educator, and educator. It is worth working together to develop a plan to help your child adapt to the new class team. You can read more about this in our articles: Problems with adaptation to a new school and Exclusion – how to help a child in a new class?
- Problems at home – when the family experiences difficult times, e.g. divorce, illness or death in the family, a parent’s long trip, etc., the child may refuse to go to school. Usually, it is accompanied by sadness, anxiety, and depression. A child may simply be afraid of, for example, leaving the other parent alone at home for fear that the other parent may also disappear from his life. If this is the case, it is imperative to give the child time and a sense of security, to reassure them about their love and care. You can also take advantage of therapeutic help in a psychological and pedagogical counseling center, both for yourself and for the child.
- Conflicts with peers, aggression, bullying. This is a very difficult situation for a child who usually does not want to talk about it for fear of embarrassment, what will happen, and how the parent will react to it. Will his reaction worsen the already difficult situation for him? Therefore, talking to your child requires a lot of tact and ensuring that we will act together. It happens that conversations with the tutor, educator or school psychologist do not help and the only solution is to change the school environment.
- Health problems such as depression, neurosis, problems with the thyroid gland, diabetes.
What absolutely shouldn’t a parent do?
- Shout at the child that, for example, he is making up or whining about.
- Make threats – if you don’t get dressed right away and go to school, then …
- Forcing by force.
- Disregard the situation by saying, “It’s hard, sometimes it is, life is difficult.”