Schooling is one of the most challenging issues faced by children and parents. While there is currently a lot of attention being paid (and rightly so) to the impact of bullying, there are many other issues that are part of the school experience, which have a significant effect on our children's wellbeing.
Signs To Watch For:
- Fall in academic performance.
- Lack of motivation / interest for school-related activities.
- Complaining of being bored and not challenged by school work.
- Reports of attention-seeking or problem behaviours.
- Frequent detentions.
- The child talks about himself as "dumb".
- Discomfort or embarrassment when the topic of school is raised.
- Failure to regularly complete homework.
- Reluctance to talk about anything to do with school.
- Difficulty concentrating, listening or sitting still in school.
- Poor relationships with peers and teachers.
- Regularly becoming sick at school time.
- Refusing to go to school.
What Can Result From These:
- Poor self-esteem.
- Lack of confidence.
- An increased risk of dropping out or exiting school early.
- A child can be labelled as "slow", "lazy", "trouble maker" etc. They can accept the label and live up to it.
- Difficulty in developing a sense of belonging: this can hold the child back from involvement with family, or from building friendships.
- Depression and anxiety.
What Can You Do To Help?
- Build and maintain a strong, ongoing relationship with your child's school, not just when there are difficulties. Staff are much more responsive to parents whom they see as being allies.
- Talk regularly with your child about school and really listen to them.
- Refuse to allow your child to accept belittling and unhelpful labels.
- Rule out the possibility of learning difficulties or disabilities which may be interfering with your child's learning.
- Give your child intentional practice at communication and social skills.
- Investigate if specific things such as subjects or teachers can be changed, if they trigger problems.
- Help your child to address personal habits, qualities or behaviours which may alienate others.
- Ensure your child is not overloaded with too many extra-curricular activities, which could drain their energy.
- Provide resources at home which will help support your child's learning.
- Supply whatever support your child may need to cope with personal or family problems. Counselling may be a valid option.
- Limit the hours of work your child does outside of school, or the responsibilities they take on in the home.
- Guard their physical health - make sure they get a healthy diet, enough sleep and exercise.
- Limit the amount of time your child spends on activities which keep them isolated (especially video and computer games).
- Stay in touch with your child's rights as well as the school's expectations.
We can frequently feel overwhelmed when our child is going through a tough time. Even if they don't want to attend counselling, it can be a valuable tool for helping you address your own anxieties as well as gaining insights into how best to support your child.
For help in dealing with school-related issues, contact Alli at Point Of Change Counselling and make an appointment.