tamerria asks:

i have a very loving and fun 9 year old son who's having a hard time at school . I can't get him ready for school without a knock out fighting match

In Topics: Motivation and achievement at school
> 60 days ago



Jul 3, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Hello.  I hope that I can be of some help to you regarding your son who is struggling with school and making your days start out as a battle.

First, I would recommend finding out why he is having a hard time in school. I would find out the source of the problem, if you can, before anything else (Such as beginning a behavioral modification system) You should find out if there are any documented learning disorders?  If not, do you need to request some educational testing to find out if he has a learning disability that is making school exceptionally difficult for him as compared to his peers. Sometimes students feel that they can't succeed no matter how hard they try. If a learning disability is discovered then this may provide some relief to him as he will learn that it is a "glitch" in his brain that he has no control over that is impeding success and not disobedience or not being "smart enough".  ( I often explain to parents in meetings that we ALL have "glitches"  in our brain for learning tasks. However, not all glitches are "school" relevant.)

Second, are there social reasons why he does not want to go to school?  Is he the youngest in the grade?  Is he feeling excluded in some way?  Does he have difficulty separating from you during the day?  Does he have problems with attending to tasks and staying on task within the classroom setting?  If so, talking to professionals can help (Your pedicatrician would be a good start)

Third, if the above is of no concern than speak to your son and express to him that  going to school expected of children like going to work is expected of adults.  Getting an education is his "job". REWARD him for completing his job (e.g. getting up and dressed without a battle, etc.)  The reward can be what you  mutually agree upon ( When my son was young and having a similar problem we rewarded him with Star Wars and Pokemon cards).  Having his reward system set up as a behavioral contract and placed for all to see is helpful.  Use bright stickers or stars EACH day that he succeeds.  Make it easy at first to succeed, such as simply getting up and dressed everyday without problems.  Then increase the number of items he can achieve, such as getting on the bus, arriving at school on-time, finishing homework without problems, etc.  I have attached a resource website that has some suggestions.  Also a simple web search for "educational behavioral charts" turned up many FREE ones.

Good luck and please refer to other excellent resources on the www.education website.

Louise Sattler, NCSP
Owner of Signing Families
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Additional Answers (2)

bob , Parent writes:
I know how rough this can be. If you're like a lot of parents, you've probably tried basic consequences for not getting going, and they probably only had short-term effects, if any at all.

It sounds like the source is at the school, so that's where I'd focus my efforts. Have you met with the teacher about your son's experience at school? Sometimes the solution is easy - like "needs glasses to see what's on the board" and sometimes hard like learning disabilities or bullying.

Education and school doesn't come naturally to us when we're children, or at least that's true for a lot of us. But if your son had some tug at school - friends he wants to see, activities he engages in, some early morning classroom responsibility (like feeding the fish in the fish tank) - that will pop him out of bed better than anything.

Here's a like to the Motivation section on education.com that might have something to help. Look through the article titles and at least skim a few that might seem appropriate.

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ruehl writes:
When you say "loving son" do you mean he is very attached to you than other members at home? Also, you may want to ask him if there is something going on at school, if this is a new problem that is occurring. Was he fine during the beginning of school? Or you could work out a reward system between the both of you. Is there something that he enjoys the most?
> 60 days ago

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