My Child Hates School… What Now?

It’s normal for kids to grunt and moan when they dislike things. But when it comes to disliking school, it’s nothing to joke about. We all know some students are more studious or more willing to walk out the door than others, but it’s important to look out for the signs that maybe something more is going on.

Maybe they’ve made a comment about hating school or they’re not willing to get up in the morning to get ready. All of these signs are indicative of the possibility that they’re struggling.

Find out what’s going on. Either in a casual conversation in the car or a formal sit down at the table; have a chat with your student. Ask questions and listen to their response, whatever it may be. Don’t assume that their ignorance or moaning is a by-product of laziness or unproductivity. The core of their concerns may be directly within the classroom. Suss out what it is in the classroom that is promoting these unusual or reckless behaviours. Once you have figured out what may be the cause, you can then take the necessary steps to find a solution.

Assess the situation outside of the classroom. Whilst the classroom may instigate many things and your child’s discomfort or unwillingness to go to school may be one of them, it also might not. Perhaps it’s social? School at any age comes with its challenges from friends and the fun that is trying to master the art of fitting in. Again, here is where further conversations can be had. Set up a situation that has the comfort of not feeling like an interrogation, but an environment where you’re still sure your questions are being answered.

But maybe the issues aren’t stemming from inside the classroom nor the friendship department. Perhaps, it’s internal. For the modern-day student, there are extra aspects of school than ‘back in your day’ (cue eye roll). There is the added pressure of social media and its unrealistic social norms conveyed to students. Students have the opportunity and access to an unlimited array of content to scroll. With these norms and standards posted to Facebook and its competitors, students can often create issues of their own, taking with them these issues into school. Encourage interaction with friends and family when they find free time. Spending less time scrolling might decrease the sometimes nasty impacts social media and technology can impart upon on our students.

Another reason for the dislike may be the result of anxious thoughts. Anxiety around schoolwork, what’s going on in the playground or how they’re getting home that afternoon may build up for students. The best part is that you can help with this one, right here at home. Go through the situations that your child relates to anxiety and break it down. Breaking situations down into tasks or smaller pieces may make it easier to grapple with. Taking the anxious thoughts of ‘I’m going to fail’ into affirmations such as ‘I can handle this’ will create the confidence to deal with the anxieties.

So next time your student moans or groans on the way to school, have a chat and see where you can help.