Overcoming Problems at School
School can be a tough place for a child. Students are expected to follow the rules, do their work, maintain good grades and socialize with peers. Many children have difficulty meeting these expectations.
Every parent dreads hearing negative feedback from their child’s school. It is often hard to avoid becoming upset with your child or taking the report personally. The most well behaved child can experience academic, social or behavioral difficulties. A child who is unable to concentrate in class, is being bullied in the school yard, or has a negative attitude towards authority requires attention.
Common School Issues:
- Incomplete homework
- behavior problems in the classroom
- social problems
- learning difficulties
- poor attitude towards school
- separation anxiety
- aggressive behavior
- School Phobia
- School Refusal
- suspension and /or expulsion
School related problems can have an affect on the entire family. Tension and conflict that arise when trying to cope with a child’s difficulty at school inevitably impact upon the relationships between family members, parents, student, siblings, and between husband and wife. It can be very overwhelming to manage these issues on your own.
How to help at home:
- Request a meeting with your child’s teacher to review the feedback and discuss what needs to be done at school and at home in order to best collaborate on managing the situation.
- Sit down with your child and discuss the problem. Try to come up with a solution that both of you feel comfortable with, one that will keep your child’s needs and abilities in mind.
- Write a checklist that you and your child can follow to determine if goals are being met. Make sure to include an appropriate time frame progress can be evaluated.
- Include your child’s teacher or other appropriate school staff in your plans.
- Network with other parent’s in your child’s school to get support.
While it is painful to hear that your child is struggling at school or having a particular difficulty, it is important to remember that everyone’s goal is success. Whether that success means learning to socialize better with peers or improving math grades a collaborative effort between home and school is essential. Helping child overcome issues at school requires the input from many people, parents’, teachers, friends and family all have a part to play. The school must be willing to accommodate the needs of a child who is having problems in school.
Mary is 14 years old. She has always been a good student, well groomed and organized. Lately, she appears tired in class and seems unusually thin. When asked by the teacher, Mary says everything is fine. Her friends have come to the teacher to express their concerns about her.
Steven is ten years old. He walks down the halls in school everyday and passes a place where a group of older children stand. When he passes them, they make fun of him and sometimes push him. He has become so frightened that he often refuses to go to school and tells his mother he is sick. His mother knows that he is healthy. He is also telling his teachers that he has to go home because he is not feeling well.
In both examples the children are experiencing personal as well as, school related issues. There are opportunities in these situations for parents and teachers to get involved and help the students confront their issues and deal with them.
Benefits for consulting a therapist for school-based issues:
- Counseling can help children and their families cope with the stressors that may be involved in school based issues.
- Therapist can provide valuable support and expertise to parents with school-aged children.
- Evaluate family dynamics that may trigger difficulties at school.
- Provide a support system to parents’ and help them navigate their child’s school system and get any additional supports available.