To hate school.(87 Posts)
Just had to drag my 7 year old and 5 year old to school. Both of them in floods of tears. My 5 year old perked up once he got there, but my 7 year old had to be peeled off me (they are very used to doing this by now), and my last image was of her pale, crumpled, miserable, tear soaked face staring up at me. I don't know why we do this. This is her third year of school now, and it isn't getting any better. She has good days, but I would estimate that 30-40% of the time she is miserable going in, and about 5% she is verging on hysterical. This isn't doing anyone any good, surely? Seeing as our school system isn't a good fit for all children, should we be rethinking it?
I have 4 dc, with 2 school refusing. However, once in they are generally happy. Both have additional needs and one is on Sen support for academic work. The other has issues with social skills in school.
The biggest help to getting them into school without tears, tantrums, clinginess and running away was school getting on the same page as us.
Ds1 goes in for sensory circuits every morning. It's been a great soft step to get him through the door without issues. I know the school entrance is still an issue for him as whenever circuits is cancelled we go back to school refusing. If they put an alternative in place then he is fine.
Dd2 didn't get on with circuits, she refused to participate. So her teacher and the senco decided to give her a morning job instead. It might be as simple as putting books on tables or sharpening the pencils, but she looks forward to going in to do her job and we no longer have to wrestle a crying, thrashing child in the door. She skips in quite happily after a kiss and a cuddle.
Ds1 has adhd and we suspect asd. Dd2 believed adhd.
Unfortunately when school see a good and compliant child it is much harder to get your experience across. Luckily when we moved schools, the senco picked up our concerns and agreed! (The old school felt it was an attachment/parenting issue).
All I can suggest is write everything down. Email the senco to create a paper trail and ask for an early help assessment to be done.
Yep she sounds extremely like my youngest, and masking it at school meant 3 years of ongoing assessment before diagnosis.
You need to ask the school to look for particular symptoms of underlying anxìety, e.g. being jumpy, fidgeting, being a bit too quiet, unlikely to ask for help etc. It's amazing what they can see when they actually take the time to look! Maybe ask if they can get an Educational Psychologist or OT in to do school observations.
My autistic dd loves school.
If the whole system was changed, she would struggle.
Was the same when I was a child. Kicking and screaming that I didn’t want to go to school. Obsviously I was made to go . I’m sure after a while she’ll get used to it. I wouldn’t rule school out just because she kicks up a fuss every morning.
Is it? Genuine question
Yes, very unusual. I have two kids, 11 and 7, and have never known one family in all the seven years that I've been doing the school run where both DC are in floods of tears going to school almost every day. I've know a couple who have struggled at certain key points - starting Reception, or moving up to Y3, but to have DC who are that distressed day after day - no I have never seen that and I walk to school so I am physically in the playground morning and afternoon every day, so I would see if it was happening.
So no, this is not about all DC and all schools, this is about your DC and possibly their school (although I'm not going to jump to that conclusion). If your DC are so distressed and anxious I suggest you keep pestering your GP until you get some help. Budgets for just about everything have been slashed recently, including local health budgets, and that is having a big effect on families trying to get their DC in for assessment by a paediatrician. As ever, it the parents who are most persistent (for that, read 'desperate'), who do eventually get an appointment. Time to make yourself a serious nuisance OP.
does she say why she hates it? is it the school or the kids there? or the teaching style maybe?
we moved and our son had to move to the school in the closest town and pretty much from day one he hated it there,
the kids were, in his mind, naughty and in trouble a lot ( and he refuses to get in trouble)
and he hated the teaching style, sorta "im cool and ya mate" but he felt it was really fake and that they didnt really give a shit...
it got so he was laying in bed each night silently crying and just dreading going at all and he used to love school!
so we made him finish till the end of the year and said if he still feels that way we will move him back to his old school,
which gives me a 25 min drive each way twice a day rather than a 6 min drive each way twice a day,
as soon as we offered he jumped that it,
so i called his old school to see if we could return, they were only too happy to have him back
and on his first day back, the teachers came and hugged him, he has 4 in his class room ( one of the teachers said she loves having him there as he is calming with the other kids and she knows that he is never trouble, and even when shes having a tough day that hes always a pleasure... that kinda made our day too)
and kids that knew him 6 months previously all raced over yelling his name welcoming him back,
and for the most part hes been enjoying it and really joining in and trying everything, even the things he would normally be too shy to do
( we said he really had to try things and make the most of it since it is a lot of driving and expense )
we felt me driving approx 2 hours a day was worth it if he enjoyed going, was happy and loved it there, and respected his teachers so much that he wont ever misbehave and will try his very best, we want him to enjoy school as long as he can and enjoy learning as long as he can and if its something that can be solved by trying a different school, its worth it.
Friends of ours have begun homeschooling several of their children after they'd had hideous experiences with anxiety and SEN simply being ignored and poorly handled in mainstream schools. It's not a one-size-fits-all thing and whilst for some children homeschooling is fabulous, it wouldn't suit others. I teach Reception and believe that the education system only suits those children who enjoy it; for the ones who hate it, they never really get out what the ones who love it do even as they get older and learn to just get on with it.
If it's something you could potentially do, do some research and find out what's nearby locally in terms of support. Facebook is often great for local homeschooling groups and the friends we know who've gone for homeschooling have healthy, happy, sociable children whose anxieties are massively reduced because of the choices they've made.
I wouldn't do it lightly but if it was needed I'd go for it.
@FullOfJellyBeans Thank you. I have considered private assessment, and would be prepared to pay for it, but two things put me off. Firstly, I have heard that a private diagnosis can sometimes not be taken as seriously, and secondly, I'm not completely sure that it would help. Even if the school accept her diagnosis, everything seems fundamentally structured to make things uncomfortable for her. Just little things, like no consistency in the mornings. At the beginning of the year, they had set groups and tables. This is implemented occasionally, but not consistently. I don't understand why they don't just do it all the time? It wouldn't upset the kids that don't need structure, but would be helpful for those that do.
In theory it should be possible to get an ASD assessment though we are having issues in new area - doctors are refusing all referrals. School have sent one in and CAHMS have refused it as they didn't tick the child consents box. Taken 6 months to get to this point. There's deliberate kicking kids of waiting lists going on here. Also have to do a long parenting course for NT kids before they will see you.
Last area could get assessment but 2 year wait. It's very wrong but if you have money you can get assessment privately though LA can refuse to accept. Very unusual for a 7 year old and fairly unusual for 5 year old to be crying about school - the 5 year old could be influenced by 7 year old. If she is fine once there could be ASD - my son will ask to go somewhere, then refuse and become very upset, then once he goes he loves it. I think sometimes its important he goes otherwise he would never leave house though odd day I do let him stay home as can see he just can't cope that day.
I think the school system works well for NT kids but its failing a lot of SN kids but to provide a better environment for them would cost lots of money.
Op you are getting a hard time on here but you are not being unreasonable. The system is a victorian hangover. Regimented and out of date with the modern world. I would perhaps look into home schooling communities?
There is loads of info on this website OP if you suspect autism www.autism.org.uk/. A diagnosis on its own won't help - you're right - but it does give you leverage with the school and LEA to demand extra support. There are plenty of things you can do without having that diagnosis though. If you look under the 'About Autism' link there's info about education and family life.
Lots of kids don't like school - they learn to hide it because they know there is no escape! School is a modern invention - I am baffled by adults who just assume it's best for kids - it's what we do in this country and have done for about 100 years - that doesn't make it the 'right' way for children to live, learn and develop - it's just our societys' current way of doing things. THere are many many other ways our children could be living.
My kids both go to school and sometimes yes they cry, they say they feel ill - but unfortunately I don't want to home ed and couldn't give up work anyway -
And our school is a lovely one -it's just full on for a 5/ 6 /7 year old! all day every day sitting and learning from adults instead of climbing trees, having adventures, learning from friends and the world around them as nature intended.
I am afraid I have no respect for anyone who blindly accepts school as completely the right thing and would never question it - it's not intelligent to accept things without questioning them! Look at the world and wonder how it might be different - that's what we should be teaching our kids anyway.
I think the OP's point is more that the system doesn't suit all so there should be more flexibility within it. For example Flexi schooling used to be allowed until the attendance codes were changed and the schools couldn't do it without their attendance figures being negatively affected.
I know a lot of kids who don't like school. They may not kick off about it but they are disengaged from the whole set up and unhappy. That's not great, even if it isn't as visible as the OP's problem.
How is she during the day OP? Does she settle after the drop off?
Thank you for all your posts - I am reading them all, and there's some really useful advice there. I think I will push for the private diagnosis - the centre that offers the assessment also does therapy, so that could also be something to look into.
As for my 5 year old picking things up from his sister...maybe. However, he is also prone to meltdowns, has food issues, is incredibly inflexible in his thinking, hates noise, often prefers playing on his own, so we may have to think about getting him assessed too. One step at a time, though. I do feel a bit better though. Always feel better with a plan!
Sounds like my 5 year old son every morning is a battle. He doesn't cry but does get very violet (kicking and hitting me) try's running off and scream he hates school. He's just been diagnosed with ASD, ODD and anxiety. He's currently in mainstream but he's going to be moved to a SEN school as he just isn't coping.
@waterrat That's exactly how I feel! You summed it up perfectly!
I absolutely hated school my entire childhood. I'm pretty sure I don't have ASD.
It was the pits tbh.
YANBU. Lots of people don’t like our very rigid and demanding school system, it’s not unreasonable it’s just unusual to speak about it because, you get told there’s something wrong with you. You’re very brave to post here.
I have a lot of experience with trying to get a diagnosis for a girl, and ended up private assessment which are largely accepted if by a psychiatrist. Please feel free to PM me.
With rising rates of anxiety and depression, esp in girls, I don’t think you’re being at all ridiculous to question how our society educates them.
@Barrenfieldoffucks Yes, she does settle. She would say that she likes school! If she said that she hated it, I would pull her out. The funny thing is that she was upset the other day, so I picked her up from after school club really early. She was really upset about that - actually cried - because I hadn't told her I was going to get her early, and she hadn't been expecting me! She does enjoy aspects of school, but finds it a real struggle.
ASD can run in families so if he's displaying those behaviours its very possible he has it too - one family by us with 4 kids, all ASD. I have DD who is NT and DS who is ASD but she's older. The SN board on here is good for advice.
We got through primary
just with no diagnosis - schools can put same adjustments in place without it. Though we have opposite of fine at home and issues at school so easier to get school to help though occassionally get encouraged to leave too.
My daughter is autistic and hated drop off but seems to love school (she always wants to go in even when she is ill). She is still pretty anxious around drop-off though. We have a little set of rituals we do that make it OK (special set of hugs, silly wave, often a "hug button")! Does your DD also say she doesn't want to go at all, or is it just immediately around the drop-off she gets upset?
If you suspect ASC there may be things you can do already while you wait for an assessment? E.g. if there are quiet places she can go some break times when she needs a break, or if they can use paper towels instead of hand dryers in the toilets... it would be worth talking to school to see if they have experience with other kids with sensory issues that they may be able to put in place with your DD to see if they help?
Could it be that your 5 year old is picking up on your DD's distress, rather than being anxious/upset himself?
Dealing with just the drop off- I suspect there's a bit of mass hysteria going on with your 2 kids. One sets the other one off and so the problem ends up as a catch 22. Have you tried a different drop off system? Can you manage to try and get them into school separately. Eg one going with friends and one with you? Breaking the cycle is a less drastic start than homeschooling especially if they seem happy enough when they are there.The drop off has just become a 'thing'. That's not to say she has other issues but a new routine might help- have you tried that?
As she is OK while she is there I would leave her there. I think that some children find school hard because they are used to being the entire focus of Mummy and Daddy's attention while they are at home and of course it's not like that at school. All children move at a different pace but I don't think you would be doing any favours to take her out of school at this stage.
I don’t think home schooling is the answer for your DC.
I would get them both assessed privately.
There’s no harm in asking their classroom teachers if they can do xyz because you think it will help them go to school more willingly. If having a specific desk/table that’s theirs & a set group to sit with would help, it’s worth asking if that would be possible. No need to re mention your concerns at this stage, just say it will help them go in without such an upset.
@LightTripper That's exactly how my daughter is! She hates being off school when she is ill (unlike my son, who still speaks fondly of his chicken pox days). She can be bouncing along happily, right until we get to the classroom. Then she falls apart. My son is the other way round - can be crying all the way there, but usually is happy once he is in.
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