Parenting Information

My Stomach Hurts - I Cant Go to School Today!


It's the third time this week that Sam has complained of a headache or Shaundra has an upset stomach. Daniel cries before leaving school and Tanya won't get out of the car upon arrival to the school parking lot. Most parents simply don't know what to do when this occurs. Does the parent insist the child go to school or allow the child to stay home and hope the problem goes away?

Children often have very real reasons for not wanting to go to school. Maybe the child forgot to study for a test, had a fight with a friend, experienced an embarrassing moment, or fears a bully might be waiting on the playground. Children have not learned how to handle every situation that arises, so sometimes, avoidance seems like the best answer. Occasionally, the problems are at home: a sick parent, an impending divorce, or other stressful situations that might make a child reluctant to leave home. Even if no problem exists at home, some children continue to experience intense separation anxiety. Even though the fear is irrational, the fear is intense and very real.

Stephen Garber, Ph.D., author of Good Behavior Made Easy, offers these strategies to promote school attendance:

*Reassure your child.

Parental support and reassurance may help a child who is overreacting or embarrassed by an awkward situation until the memory fades.

*Set criteria for staying home from school.

Schools set criteria for students staying home from school, for example, if a child has a temperature. If a child is sick enough to stay home, he or she should have reduced activity or no friends should visit for playtime.

*Talk it up.

Mark the school calendar with special events. Emphasize what your child likes about school and encourage school friendships.

*Get your child to school.

Define a morning routine and get through the routine quickly.

*Ignore negative comments.

Ignore your child's negative comments and praise positive comments he or she makes about school.

*Praise and reinforce your child for attending school with a good attitude.

Praise every move your child makes toward school.

Disengagement Strategies

If your child continues to experience difficulties saying good-bye, try the following suggestions.

*Good-Bye Plan

Seek advice from the teacher, who has had experience working through separation anxiety. Develop a good-bye plan. Parents feel less conflicted after leaving school after following what parent and teacher have both agreed as a smart good-bye plan.

*Refusal

If your child refuses to get out of the car or walk into the building, talk to the teacher or other school personnel to further develop the good-bye plan. School personnel are available to meet your child at the "point of good-bye" and assist the child from the car. If no help is available, stand or sit for a few minutes.If your child is still unwilling to go after this brief time, escort your child to class. Stay calm, even if your child kicks or hits. Go through your good-bye plan as best as possible. Then leave. It is unlikely the behavior will continue for long. The audience is gone.

*Emotional Button Pushing

Children are masters at pushing parental emotional buttons! If your child tries to delay your departure and keep you at school by making a string of requests, "One more kiss. Come see the goldfish! Help me put up my backpack!"???.be firm! Say good-bye. Stick to your good-bye plan.

*Switch Gears

If parent and child have entered an escalating cycle of anger, tears, and frustration over good-byes at school, try having someone else drop off the child. A spouse, familiar care giver, or any other adult the child knows well are all possibilities.

Resist your very natural urge to overprotect your child. Parents who work with children through difficult good-byes, help children develop competence in themselves.

Keep in mind most stressful good-bye behavior ends shortly after parent and child separate. Do communicate with your child's teacher regarding the length of time your child continues to cry or misbehave after your departure. The quicker your child settles down, the better the chance of changing the departure plan, if you stick the daily good-bye routine.If the teacher reports your child continues to demonstrate distress in ways that are disruptive to participation and enjoyment of the school day for themselves or other classmates, seek advice from the school on what you all, as a team, should do. In extreme cases, outside professionals might be consulted by the parents to explore any underlying medical issues or perhaps, the possibility of school phobia.

Nancy Hall, author of Goodbyes, indicates some children who have never experienced good-bye problems are not immune to developing such behavior at some point. Stress can precipitate a good-bye crisis. Events such as a family change, birth of a sibling, marital difficulties, military deployment of a family member, a residential move, or an upcoming parent business trip may trigger a good-bye crisis. Such events can create anxiety in the child,

Again, communicate with the teacher. When speaking with your child's teacher about home events that may affect school good-byes, you need not reveal private personal details. Share enough to provide insight to what could be causing the sudden good-bye difficulty. When a change is happening to the family, the importance of working with the school is of particular importance, should the child demonstrate sudden school-related behavioral issues.

No matter what the stress, a child's anxiety may be further reduced by a parent being more available during times when the child is not at school. Acknowledge your child's feelings. Reassure your child you will always be there for them.

The majority of children feel at ease with predictable separations and confident in their own budding social and cognitive skills within the first few months of the school year. Although hard to imagine at this point, don't be surprised on some future Saturday, your now hesitant child says, "But I want to go to school today!"

Sheree S. Marty has worked with elementary school children as a school counselor for the past nine years. A physical education teacher for thirteen years, Ms. Marty earned her Master degree in Counseling in 2000. Ms. Marty is the author and owner of "Chinese Jump Rope", a childrens games book and website. For more information, visit http://chinesejumprope.tripod.com

  


MORE RESOURCES:

Waiting for the Bat Signal: The Passing of a Parenting Legend
Huffington Post
But Cahill, along with the other founders, envisaged not just a boob-help-hotline, but a community of mothers guiding and nurturing each other through their parenting journeys. I've called LLL twice. But I've asked average LLL mamas innumerable ...



New York Times (blog)

Parenting and Heart Attacks
New York Times (blog)
Private Lives: Personal essays on the news of the world and the news of our lives. “Anything I should know before I go home?” I asked the chief cardiologist, trying not to sound terrified. “Just don't lift stuff over 10 pounds for a few weeks.” “My ...

and more »


Present Moment Parenting in the 21st Century
Huffington Post
If you are, or will soon be, a parent, congratulations! You are on a wild and wonderful ride full of ups and downs, ins and outs and a whole lot of trial and error. Parenting has always been this way, and yet, we live in a time like never before. Our ...



People Magazine

Jenna Bush Hager: What My Mom Taught Me About Parenting
People Magazine
The new mom says her parenting methods may differ from her mother's. “I was a teacher, so I'm creating structure and discipline. I'm a little bit more of an enforcer,” she says. But, “When the time is right I hope I can sit back and allow Mila to ...



Unequal Societies Give an Incentive for Pushy Parenting
New York Times
That is the conclusion of a pair of European economists who set out to study something more nebulous than interest rates or deficit reduction: parenting styles, and specifically the rise of so-called helicopter parenting, a topic endlessly discussed in ...

and more »


The payoff for strict parenting
Washington Post
I bristle when I hear people talking about “helicopter parenting.” Yes, some parents are a little too manic about the success of their children. I was part of a group of mothers once in which one woman was fretting about how far behind her 3-year old ...



The hidden economics behind strict parenting
Washington Post (blog)
The rise of helicopter parents like Amy Chua, whose 2011 book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" brought attention to an increasingly popular parenting style emphasizing hard work and strict child rearing, could be less of a cultural phenomenon than a ...



'This Is How We Do' Parody Is Two Minutes Of Parenting Truth
Huffington Post
Who says multi-tasking is impossible? Brenna Jennings, of Suburban Snapshots, knows that is just how moms gets sh*t done. Her new parody video, set to Katy Perry's "This Is How We Do" (natch) goes out to "all the ladies in last night's makeup... at ...



Daily Mail

Expert claims good parenting has little effect on a child's IQ
Daily Mail
After studying the habits of adoptive parents, Professor Beaver found that there was no association between parenting and a child's intelligence later in life. His study strengthens the theory that intelligence (illustrated in a stock image) is passed ...
Parenting Style Probably Does Not Raise IQ in ChildrenPsychCentral.com
Child's later-life intelligence 'not influenced by parenting'Medical News Today
'Parenting' plays little role in child's IQ developmentABP News

all 19 news articles »


Parenting: No instructions included
HLNtv.com
Parenting is the most rewarding and most challenging job on earth. New York City-based photographer Danielle Guenther decided to put some real-life scenarios into still shots. Guenther, who is also a mother, decided to create the series after a session ...


Google News

Article List | Index | Site Map
All logos, trademarks and articles on this site are property and copyright of their respective owner(s).
The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is Copyright © 2006 CanadaSEEK.com - All Rights Reserved.