Parents need schooling too

FEAR STREET Going to school could be a nightmare for children if not tackled early

FEAR STREET Going to school could be a nightmare for children if not tackled early  

If your child hates school, perhaps it is time for you to step in and help

The way a child adjusts to school is probably a big determiner of how he is going to adjust to life as an adult.Some children enjoy going to school and for some it is a persistent nightmare that never seems to go away. The specific reason for avoiding schools should be determined before you tackle the problem. A look at some of the possible reasons would perhaps shed some light.

Separation anxiety

Try to be in your child's shoes for a while. He is three-and-a-half, you take him to this tall imposing building, filled with strange adults who look kind of strict and he is surrounded by children who seem to be filled with the same fear that he has. His natural response would be to bawl out loud.

What should you do?

Besides preparing your child to attend school, it is probably a good idea to prepare yourself too. This is because he is not the only one feeling the anxiety of separation. You could perhaps familiarise yourself as well as your child with the school, its teachers and the surroundings before the day he joins. A verbal discussion about the school might allay his fears to some extent. When its time to say goodbye, instead of lingering around, you could wave firmly with a smile and a promise that you will soon be back to pick him up. Over anxious parents transfer their fears to their child.

Right in the middle

When your child is in middle school, it is not unusual to be faced with the problem of bunking. Your child may be the target of bullying or teasing on account of various reasons. Some times when children are old enough to understand the underlying or overt tension at home, they may worry about their parents' safety at home or at work. It is best to keep children's minds away from problems they are too young to handle, unless it is absolutely necessary that they should know.

Those teenage years

Adolescents are mostly preoccupied with their changing body shape and their physical appearance. This is quite natural at their age, but when it becomes a reason for avoiding school, the matter needs looking into. For those who appear different from the others, avoiding school may be because they might be overly conscious of this fact and their peers may be teasing them about it. For example: one teenage girl was mortified when her teacher casually remarked that she was taller than most of the boys in her class. She thought that this made her appear unattractive and peculiar and going to school became a torture for her. Missing physical education class could also be another reason. For an adolescent who is in emotional turmoil about the way she looks, performing physical activities where her real or imagined inadequacies can easily be pointed out, is more than she can bear. What should you do? First inform yourself about adolescence. An informed parent is likely to make the right choice. Then try and find out the exact cause by talking calmly and in a supportive tone. Raise her self-esteem by pointing out all her good qualities. Take the help of a mental health professional, if you feel you cannot handle the situation. Explain to your child that she need not always consider what the others are saying about her, because her sensitivity is one of the reasons they are teasing her. Tell her to handle the situation with dignity and ignore those who tease her. When they see she is not affected anymore, in all likely circumstances, they will stop teasing her. Another reason could be severe academic difficulties. Some outside help may be required if you feel incapable of helping your child with her studies. On the other hand if you feel confident about teaching your child, you may be the best person to do so. Bunking school is a serious matter. Not only is your child missing his lessons, but he is missing some of the best learning years of his life which are essential for his overall development . FIONA SCOTT

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