rosie-nv asks:

school behavior, discipline, and school refusal

My 8 yr. old daughter simply refuses to go to class on a daily basis. Tantrums are just about everyday, she's become violent towards the school counselor and feels she doesn't need to answer to anyone. Phone calls are allowed if she behaves and earns them. It's to the point that it's just about her doing and getting away with whatever she can. She says the reason she cries is because she misses and wants me, but i am always there for her. It's so overwhelming because my son just started kindergarten and it seems that i am missing out on that because my focus is aways on her. What should i do, what options do i have?
In Topics: Anxiety
> 60 days ago



Hand in Hand
Sep 6, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Rosie-nv,

I'm sorry to hear that school is a challenge for your daughter right now. It does sound overwhelming and I hope I can offer a few suggestions that will help.

My first idea may sound counter-intuitive, but if your daughter doesn't feel able to cope with the separation of the school day right now because she misses and wants you, let's first help her by filling up that empty spot where she is hurting. What I want you to do is to find a time when it's just the two of you, even if it's just for five or ten minutes. I want you to set a timer, and while that timer is going, you turn all your attention, warmth and enthusiasm to your daughter and play with her in any way that she wants you to. She gets to be totally in charge of that 5 or 10 minutes. You get to remind her how much you love her, how much you enjoy having her in your life, and how important to you she really is. Ham it up! If she wants you to jump rope with her during your Special Time, fall all over yourself, and her, while you do it. She gets to be the capable, in-charge one, and you follow her lead with silliness and affection.

This will build your daughter's confidence and sense of your love and caring in a way that she can take with her to school or into any new environment with a sense of ease. Assured of her place in your heart, she will find it easier to cooperate and welcome others into her life. Try to have this Special Time with her every day, especially before separations like school or sleep.

Here are some links that will help you get ideas and find ways to laugh together, and enjoy one another while you work on this confidence gap. There's also a discussion group for parents on our website that could be helpful.

Julianne Idleman
Hand in Hand Parenting
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