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lostdad
lostdad asks:
Q:

11 year old 6th grader hates school, he skipped out on class today and I caught him

My eldest son decided to skip out on classes today, I caught him and took him back to school.  He hates school so much he thought skipping would be the better choice.  

Any advice to help him?
In Topics: Back to school
> 60 days ago

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Expert

MomSOS
Oct 3, 2009
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What the Expert Says:


Kids hating school and skipping out of school is more often than not an indication of something going on beneath the surface of the unacceptable behavior.
Kids act out their problems rather than talking about them directly in most cases. Often the purpose of a negative behavior is to grab the parent's attention and to communicate, "I need some help from you."

My advice would be this. After imposing appropriate consequences for the unacceptable behavior, do a little research. Talk to your son, his teacher(s), the principal, you son's guidance counselor and any other staff people with whom he interacts.  Find out what underlying problems are making your son hate school.  The nature of the problems may be academic, social/interpersonal, behavioral, emotional, medical, or some combination of these.  

There is almost always a function to a behavior even though it is not always easy to determine what the function is.  Your research can help you to see what it is your son is expressing.  Is he trying to call attention to something going on outside of school, as in the home or family?  Sometimes school avoidance can actually be linked to more personal home-based factors that cause a child to want to be home rather than to be in school.  

In addition, if this behavior has been chronic, are there medical or mental health issues, such as extreme anxiety, that need to be addressed?  An appointment with the doctor or a counselor might be in order. Unfortunately, in some cases of kids hating school, depending on age and social factors, drugs or alcohol can be playing a part. Hopefully that is not the case with your child.  But an experienced counselor can help to sort out the complex issues.

You can get references to quality professional counselors through your Doctor and/or through the school, if this is a direction that you decide to take. Good luck with this.  There is good reason to believe that your son is showing you that he needs you to pay attention to him, and help him solve some problems he is having.


Bette J. Freedson, LICSW, LCSW, CGP
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Additional Answers (1)

bob
bob , Parent writes:
I don't think you can help him without getting to the bottom of the matter.  Hating school is the result of something else.  Sure, you can address the "won't go to school" issue head-on with threats or incentives but there has to be something behind this issue that shows up as "I hate school."  You might find he has a really bad relationship with a teacher, or is having trouble with a class and is embarrassed, or is having trouble with friends, or is under challenged or, ...the list goes on.

If you can get to the underlying cause, you can probably make progress in helping.  But getting to the cause might be really hard.  Kids seem to be really bad at revealing what's going on in their lives.  Maybe you could talk to his teachers or coach (if he's in a sports activity).  Sometimes the PE teachers know the kids best.
> 60 days ago

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