Moms Talk: What Do You Do When Your Kid Hates School?

Let's start a conversation.

Elmhurst Patch invites you to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Elmhurst.

Each week in Moms Talk, moms in the community will take your questions, share solutions and come up with new questions by answering in the comments section below.

Today's question: What do you do when your kid hates school? He doesn't want to get out of bed or go to school. It's a huge battle every morning. And when he does go, he is acts up. Teachers and counselors don't seem to be able to help. Talking to him hasn't helped. What can be done ? 

Leah Gleason April 19, 2011 at 06:53 PM
I've actually had this happen to one of my children. It took several tries to get her to open up but when she did (on her own terms, unfortunately late at night), she was forthcoming. Other than the fact that she could have been experiencing a little spring fever, it turned out she's a little bored at school and having issues with other children at recess (bullying?). But it also turned out that things were happening at home that were contributing to her desire to not be away from "mom" (sibling rivalry? fear of tornadoes?). We made a pact to spend more time together. I picked her up from school for lunch once a week to give her a break, and she's did the rest of the year.
Carol Pavlik April 20, 2011 at 02:00 PM
This is tough, and I don't have the answer. But I think at least for younger kids, offering to volunteer in your child's classroom can help you get more clues. By getting into the classroom, sometimes you can pick up on what your child is experiencing, and maybe you'll be able to notice the nature of the interactions with his/her teacher or classmates. And I find just talking to the teacher can be enlightening. A lot of times, my kids' teachers seem to know my kids better than I do. I feel like a large portion of parenting is just doing detective work!
Mimi Black April 21, 2011 at 06:32 PM
Naturally you’ll want to make sure counselors have been able to rule out any very serious causes, like an underlying pathology (such as clinical depression) or evidence of abuse (such as sexual abuse or bullying). You’ll also want to make sure your child is getting quality sleep. Even if your child is in bed for the requisite hours, is he suffering from sleep apnea and therefore unable to get adequate rest? Sometimes a child can be lifted out of the dumps by a respected mentor in his daily life. Age isn’t as important as maturity and compassion. Consider recruiting a treasured aunt or uncle, a beloved former teacher, or even paying a favorite neighborhood teenager to become actively involved in some of your child’s weekly free time. Their involvement could be as little as daily texting or as much as a twice-weekly outing. What’s important is that they be a trusted, listening ear for your child. Mentorships may inspire your child to see past temporary setbacks and better chart a course for a fulfilling life. You may wish to contact a local retirement community to ask if they know of a perfect kid-friendly resident a child might visit and interview. Tell the facility some of your child’s interests, and they may be able to match your child to an engaging resident who’s had a long and illustrious career in one of those fields of interest. The meeting may spark a mutually-rewarding friendship.
Sandi Sullivan April 21, 2011 at 10:03 PM
Kids are so sensitive to their environments and need to feel completely comfortable when confiding their concerns. As busy parents, we oftentimes get so wrapped up in our everyday lives that we forget to make room for simply 'connecting' with our family. Kids truly WANT their parents to be interested in what they are doing and what they have to say. Parents have to be sure that we regularly give our kids our undivided attention; and we have to ensure that we are really listening to what our kids have to say. (Active listening requires that we withold judgement and criticism and just "hear" what the concerns are; and, rather than trying to "fix" our kids' problems, try to help them come up with a solution on their own.) In the case of a child who won't open up even to a counselor, this might be an opportunity for the parent(s)/caregiver(s) to do some 'trust-building'. Be intentional about spending more time together - even if it's just going out for ice cream once a week (I believe that we parents have convinced ourselves that we have to spend alot of money or go to big amusement parks to give our kids "quality" time - it's just not true, sometimes simple is better.) Obviously, if the parent is suspicious that their child's safety and well-being is at risk, it's time to schedule some regular meetings with the teacher or other school staff to purposefully get to the bottom of the situation. An intentional parent should be able to eventually "out" the problem.
Sue Baez April 22, 2011 at 04:03 PM
When my daughter was in Kindergarten, she decided that she didn't need to go to school everyday because she was "smarter" thant he rest of the kids. So, she faked being sick tio take off a day of school. It is true that she was academically gifted, but attending school everyday was still necessary. Of course, I quickly determined that she was not ill. I explained about truancy and that going to school was necessary so she would graduate. Her arguement was that she could "make-up" the missed work if she attended school 3 days a week. Again, I explained that if she did not attend school regularly, she would not graduate and, therefore, her career options would be limited. Since she was still determined to not go to school, I decided it was time to train her for her likely occupation as a high school drop-out - house-cleaning! That day she worked from 8:30 - 5:00pm, with only a 20 minute break for lunch. She cleaned toilets, scrubbed floors, vacuumed, washed dishes, etc. (it was comical watching a 5 year-old clean the bathroom). At the end of the day, the house was clean and she was exhausted. She told me that she was going to school every day because she wasn't EVER going to do housework again. She missed a total of approximately 5 days from kindergarten until she graduated high school with honors. She is now a teacher. LOL
Carol Pavlik April 22, 2011 at 06:29 PM
That's a great story, Sue! I'm sure your daughter makes an excellent teacher now--like her Mom!


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »