When children hate school

Thierry Manzi, 10, in P4, loved school and always repeated what he learnt every day when he got home. His mum was recently taken back when he said he hated school. It’s after a series of talks and negotiations that he tried to love school again.  Why the sudden hatred? 

Thierry Manzi, 10, in P4, loved school and always repeated what he learnt every day when he got home. His mum was recently taken back when he said he hated school. It’s after a series of talks and negotiations that he tried to love school again.  Why the sudden hatred? 

“Once a child gets to a tricky grade in school, it becomes a lot more academic,” says Cynthia Tobias, author of I Hate School: How to Help Your Child Love Learning. 

 

“Tests become the key measure of what kids have learned, and the focus often changes to what they can’t do well. Combine this with growing social pressure and it’s not surprising your child is less than thrilled about her classes,” she added. 

 

Rosemary Karoro, a teacher at St Josephs Schools says it’s wise to get your child to identify exactly what frustrates them.   “It takes a series of conversations and some time to figure this out. Not forgetting that you and your child also have to brainstorm solutions to the problem together. Sometimes it’s about the many notes she is being given, or too much home work and other times it could even be a teacher that is harsh and causes a lot of fear,” she noted. 

 

Being honest with your child will also help them a lot. It’s okay to acknowledge that some subjects may always be boring or difficult. You need to convey that the child may not love every class, but school’s still important. Remind your child about their future dream to be a doctor or engineer or pilot and let them know that they can only get there if they love school.  

What to do when your child says, “I hate school!”

Get to the heart of the matter by finding the root cause for your child’s feelings. Set aside some time to have a one-on-one conversation with your child about school. Ask open ended questions to learn more about what they really like and dislike about school. The most important role parents play in this conversation is that of an active listener. Now is the time to really hear what your child has to say and not give your opinions. Once you have an idea as to which reason(s) are behind your child’s feelings then it is easier to begin brainstorming solutions.

Meet with your child’s teacher(s) and discuss your child’s concerns. The best way to do this is to address the concerns in a positive manner. Together with the teacher brainstorm strategies for making the school or classroom experience more positive.

Encourage your child to take a learning style inventory and then share the info with your child’s teacher. This helps the teacher learn a little bit more about what makes your child “tick”. Education World actually created a lesson plan for teachers to help them learn how to use learning style inventories in the classroom. You can do it with your child at home. 

Share your child’s sparks with his or her teacher(s). The special ability or interest kids have is their spark. Teachers can work with approximately 25 to 200 kids every day and it can be a challenge to learn what makes every child tick. Most teachers really want their classes to be relevant to their students, so the more you share; the easier it is for the teacher to tap into those interests during class.

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