Does Your Child “Hate” School? What can you do about it?

kidshateschoolHas your child ever told you “I hate school”? No matter how smart, well behaved or motivated your child is, it is likely that, from time to time, they will feel unhappy at school at some point of their life. What is interesting is that people don’t often ask themselves the reason behind this. Why don’t kids like school? What are some of the reasons your child might not want to go to school? And what can you do about it? Here are 4 reasons your child might not like school, and what you can do about it.

1. “It’s boring!”

I strongly believe that no subject is inherently boring. Learning new things, when done right, can always be an exciting and interesting experience. However, there are two very different reasons why students get bored: because the work is not challenging enough, or because the work is too challenging. The key to keeping a student engaged in a class is providing just the right level of challenge.

What can you do about it?

If your child complains that their work is boring, ask them to show it to you. If they have completed all the questions correctly, then it is possible that they need more challenging work. Speak to their teacher, or (if you are capable) come up with some more challenging problems yourself. If your child complains that the work is boring, but is making lots of mistakes, take some time to explain the material to them. It is likely that, once they understand what they have to do, they won’t find the task so tedious.

 

2. “What’s the point?”

Sometimes students feel that the hard work they put in at school is pointless. They work hard for 5 hours a day, 5 days a week and don’t feel as if they are getting anything out of it. Children like to work towards a goal and to see their hard work pay off. Without goals, and without achievement, hard work seems pointless.  

 What can you do about it?

You need to help you child to realise that their hard work at school pays off. Firstly, help them set academic goals. These could be anything: getting an A on an exam, getting an ATAR score above 90, learning their 7 times tables, getting into a good University or even getting a scholarship to a good school. Once you have established your child’s goal, work together to make a plan for achieving their goal (taking notes in class, completing all of their homework, proofreading their essay before submitting it). Now, these tasks are not just meaningless jobs, but they are meaningful steps to achieving a goal. When your child succeeds at these tasks, make sure you praise them, and show them that their hard work is worth the effort.

Strict teacher

3. “My teacher is unfair!”

This is a difficult one. Sometimes, teachers make mistakes. Sometimes teachers grade particular students unfairly. But this is not always the case. Blaming a teacher is a really good way of deflecting responsibility away from oneself. Often, when a student assumes that a teacher has been unfair, this just indicates that they don’t understand why they have performed poorly. Potentially, they have not fully read or understood the teacher’s feedback, or they have not received enough feedback.

 What can you do about it?

It is important to teach your child that they are responsible for their own performance, not the teacher. Don’t be too harsh in blaming them, but also don’t allow them to deflect responsibility. In a positive way, ask them if they can think of any reasons why they might have performed poorly on the task. Make sure they have read and understood all the feedback given. If they still don’t understand why they have received a bad mark, they can always ask their teacher politely for more information. The important thing is to encourage your child not to think who can I blame for this bad mark? but what can I do to improve in the future?

 

4. “I’m tired!”Child studying

This one is an easy one. School doesn’t make children tired; lack of sleep makes children tired.

 What can you do about it?

Unplug the TV. Take away the video games. Ensure your child is getting 8 hours of sleep before school. Make sure your child has lots to eat and drink. If your child is having trouble sleeping at night, exercise is often a good remedy. Children who do some form of exercise after school tend to get a better night’s sleep than students who don’t.

 

It is inevitable that, at least once in their life, your child will be unsatisfied with or anxious about school. This is not a problem. What matters is how you address it. As a parent, the best thing you can do is to show them that even the most difficult problems and anxieties can be overcome, and that school can be a productive and enjoyable experience. The ways in which you address the inevitable “I hate school” complaint will have a profound impact upon your child’s attitude towards their own education in the future.

 

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