How to Help a Child That Hates School
Parents believe their children need an education. Children learn all the time by being exposed to life in society, but it takes a little more than casual association with the world to be able to work and succeed in it. School seems to be a good idea. When your child hates school, it can be truly painful and contrary to good judgment to subject him or her to six hours a day of torture.
Hating School and in Pain
When my first child started to school, he was old enough since his birthday was in April. He was not frantic at the idea of being away from me. He went to school the first two days happy and excited to be there. The third day, and most days after that, he cried and resisted. He learned. He even did pretty well, but he was very nervous and tormented about it. I finally talked to his doctor and agreed to a test. The test showed that he had a hyperactive stomach which caused cramping when he was under pressure. The kid was in pain. No wonder he hated to go to school. The doctor prescribed Benadryl. It did help the cramping, but it made him sleepy. The teachers did not like that either.
Better and Worse
A psychologist tested him to try to figure out what caused stress that resulted in the cramping. It was pressure. On a timed test he did very poorly. When tested on his attention to detail, observational skills, and ability to recall he did well. The final message was that pressure from the teacher during a test or activity would make his performance worse. Some teachers understood and allowed him to learn and perform at his own pace. Some were insistent on his compliance with their regimen. He did better and worse as his needs were met. One teacher said, “I thought he was counting the panes in the windows, but he made 85 on the test. He is learning what he needs to.”
Too Young or Socially Clumsy
I hated school too, but I did start too early. My mother, in her zeal to make me brilliant, started me in school before I was six. I was simply not mature enough to compete. One of the reasons I hated school was a personality problem. I felt inadequate even though I made good grades. I simply did not have confidence in group activities. When long division came along, I wanted to quit. Sometimes I tried to fake it, but that didn’t work either. It increased my feelings of inadequacy. I’m not crazy about long division now.
Understanding your Child
It is good for parents to understand the child’s learning style. Not all children learn at the same pace or in the same way. Teachers may impose their own style on the students, and that can be limiting if not disruptive to a child’s ability to learn. Don’t blame the teacher without understanding what is going on. Some children learn through watching how someone else performs. Some learn through listening to the teacher. Some learn through practice, making closer and closer approximations of the proper behavior. Some apply all these skills. If the teacher insists on one or another style, the child may suffer.
What Can Testing Do
Having your child tested may help you understand what is causing his or her distress, but don’t expect your understanding to change the child’s behavior. Don’t expect to use the understanding as an excuse for failure to perform, either. The school is not there to accommodate your needs. Use the understanding to help your child meet the expectations of the school and society.