First Indications your Child is having Problems at School

Are there indications that your child is having problems at school?  Parents can sometimes determine where the problem lies, but not always. At times, it becomes necessary to consult the child’s teacher, doctor, school counselor or a psychologist for appropriate advice. 

Taking a concerned-parent, pro-active stand towards resolving your child’s problems at school is often a good idea, although sometimes problems can resolve themselves.

YoungMinds.org.uk suggests that there are times when your child may be bored at school.

Let us look at some of the early indications that your child is having problems at school and see how they can be resolved effectively.

An unhappy child:

School is generally fun for most children, particularly when there are special events taking place. If your child likes and enjoys school as most children do, he or she will appear happy, excited and full of enthusiasm with respect to going to school, as well as with respect to planning for and attending special events. When a child initially begins to experience problems at school, he or she may no longer have the same happy attitude towards school or special events. He or she will probably come across as being an unhappy child. Trying to find out why a child is unhappy is not always easy for parents. The child may not even know or understand why he or she is unhappy. Tender love and care can go a long way towards dealing with the fragile emotions of a child.

Bouts of crying:

When a child has frequent bouts of crying related to attending school, it usually indicates that he or she is not feeling well, or is unhappy about something at school. Initially, it may be difficult to pinpoint the source of the problem. The child’s unhappiness may be expressed when he or she states, “I hate school.” If you are patient, your child may tell you what the problem is. Asking him or her why he or she hates school is usually a good idea. Encouraging your child to tell you where the problem lies will help everyone to deal with it, as it opens channels of effective communication.

Changes in behavior:

If your child will not talk about the problem at school or give you a reason for hating or not wanting to attend school, there may be changes in his or her behavior. Has your child’s behavior changed with respect to school or has his or her behavior recently changed at school? Most children have normal, relatively predictable behavior patterns with respect to school. Parents may have difficulty understanding their child’s unexpected behavior, particularly when it changes suddenly.

Health related issues:

When your child does not want to go to school, it is often difficult to determine whether the change in behavior has to do with him or her coming down with a cold, an earache or the flu. He or she may refuse to get out of bed, with the excuse of not feeling well or state, “I have a headache or a stomach ache.” Does the child appear well? Is he or she cranky or flushed? Does he or she have a fever? Is he or she eating and sleeping normally? In other words, are the symptoms real? A visit to the child’s doctor may be in order, if he or she presents legitimate medical symptoms. Further investigation may be necessary to resolve the problem if the symptoms are not legitimate.

Fighting with other children:

A child who is having inter-personal relationship problems at school may be fighting with other children over what appears to be minor issues. He or she may also be fighting and arguing with siblings at home, as well. Having a heart-to-heart talk with the child may be indicated.

Familial concerns:

Are there familial problems? Most children are sensitive to marital issues and have adverse behavior changes, when the parents are having relationship or financial problems. Single parent families often have a multiplicity of issues that worry children. When a child knows that he or she is loved many familial concerns disappear.

Bullying:

Has your child suddenly become a bully, or the victim of a bully, at school? Investigation into this aspect of your child’s behavior, as well as his or her response to the bullying of others, is a good idea. Most children do not need to bully other children. Bullying by other children generally indicates the need for protection of your child. Ask your child “Is someone bullying you at school?” Explaining what bullying is to your child, as well as how to deal with it, may solve the problem. “You can tell me about it.” The child may need to go to his or her teacher or principal, while at school. As a parent, you might need to make a visit to the school and see what is actually happening.   

Temper tantrums:

A child who is having problems at school may have temper tantrums for what appears to be unknown reasons. He or she may lie on the floor and scream something like. “My teacher hates me.” There are times when teachers are hard on certain children in terms of their schoolwork. At other times, there are disciplinary problems or there is inappropriate behavior in which the child may or may not be involved. This can make a child not want to attend school. When a child is not able to complete his or her assigned tasks at school, temper tantrums can occur.

Refusing to go to school:

A child may refuse to get out of bed, get dressed or eat breakfast, giving an indication there is a problem at school. He or she may refuse to catch the bus. “I am not going to go back to school,” he or she may state. “I quit.” In instances like this, it is important to attempt to find the root of the problem and resolve it immediately. Having a talk with the child’s teacher on a regular basis may prove beneficial.

Be aware that every child has problems at school, at one time or another. Being there for your child is important. Most problems can be resolved effectively when the doors of communication are open.