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Does anyone else have a child who pulls 'sickies' from school?

(11 Posts)
foxinsocks Wed 14-Oct-09 08:11:04

Dd is year 5 now.

She had a number of health problems as a baby/toddler but as she has got older, she has outgrown these but she still has reflux (as has everyone else in the family) and asthma/allergies.

She found year 1 v tough (she couldn't write and in fact didn't till year 2) so quite often, she would tell the teacher she was going to be sick and get sent home. After she had done this on one day in each week, 5 weeks in a row where it was quite clear to me she wasn't sick at all hmm, I went into the school and asked them to stop sending her home because she was pulling a fast one.

We haven't really had an issue since then though she has had time off for proper illnesses but I know she has chanced her arm a few times.

Roll on to year 5 and I can tell she is finding the going a bit tough. There's a lot of writing she has to do and she still finds that a struggle. So for the last couple of days, she has been sent home from school because she's told them she's going to be sick (she knows this is a sure fire winner) but there's no sign of illness at all and I know she's not unhappy.

Dd is sharp cookie, a really sharp cookie - one of those children who applies herself when she wants to, will figure out the way a system works then figure out a way round it iyswim. For example, she gets homework on a Thursday. If she brings her homework book back on a Thursday, the nanny makes her do her homework that night so dd just doesn't bother to bring it back. That sort of thing. And the other day, for her homework, she had to write 10 sentences with wow words so she will write 3 word sentences so that she gets away with doing as little as possible. She is the sort of child that really frustrates teachers.

So really my question is, do other children do this? I have a way of managing it now but tbh (shhhh) I was like this as a child and was sort of hoping neither of mine would be like this. I am completely supportive of the school btw. (Also because of her reflux, she does get nausea and rising acid like we all do so that is a factor).

ssd Wed 14-Oct-09 08:16:24

God yeah

ds1 would be off school all the bloody time if I believed everthing he says

I told him about "crying wolf", I think he understands

I also told him if he is off too much the headmaster will make him change schools (that helped a bit!!)

I think a lot of kids are like this, not just ours

foxinsocks Wed 14-Oct-09 08:18:40

oh good grin

I mean not good, but glad it's not just me!

yes, perhaps I should try the school line grrrr

kreecherlivesupstairs Wed 14-Oct-09 09:09:42

My dd would be off school as often as possible if I weren't horrid mum who makes her go. When we lived in bangkok, she once complained of a headache, she'd never done that before so I took her to the hospital. They checked for dengue fever and fortunately it was negative. She repeated this headache lark 4 or 5 times with the resulting trip to the hospital. We'd spend 5 minutes waiting for the results to come back and then she'd have the whole day to play. I told her about her Thai teacher's son who had died of DF. That cured her.

kittybrown Wed 14-Oct-09 09:29:08

Hi Fox.

Same problem here! We've finally got round it in yr6. It's take a collaboration between me and the school secretary to sort out. Ds has been known to fake temperatures by rubbing his forehead or running hot water over it to get sent home. Ingenious really.

I've made a disclaimer that I won't complain if he really is sick/ill at school and made ds realise that it would be his fault for crying wolf. I also have to tell the secretary when there could possibly something wrong eg. the other day he had really sore eczema on his shoulders but not sore enough to keep him home iyswim. Then if he got sent to the office she knew to give him sympathy!

The other thing was to tackle the things that were bothering him (he was being bullied particularly in PE).Also don't dismiss the fact that her symptoms are real. My son does get real headaches and stomach aches but they are just his stress manifesting. They disappear magically when he gets home. Our school have been brill in understanding and looking for the cause now when he has a headache, etc.

If I were in your shoes I'd try talking to her teacher about the writing and your concerns that she obviously doesn't want to be at school.
Good luck!

foxinsocks Wed 14-Oct-09 09:32:26

lol at the dengue fever story (but also horrid that you had to keep an eye out for it too!)

thanks kitty, yes good idea re speaking to her teacher. We have parents evening coming up so I will have a word!

Pyrocanthus Wed 14-Oct-09 10:09:17

Picking up what kittybrown said about the possibility of her symptoms being real - my DD is asthmatic and was undermedicated for a while as she grew rapidly in years 4 & 5 (so much for regular check-ups). For a long time this manifested itself as fatigue and nausea, rather than respiratory problems. I had to collect her from school a good few times. She did usually turn a deadly shade of grey, though, so I was inclined to believe her, though I suspect once or twice she might have pulled a fast one.

Just a thought.

geraldinetheluckygoat Wed 14-Oct-09 10:14:56

my DS is "suffering" from sore throats and stomach aches from "eating too much breakfast" at the moment. I give option of school or staying on own in quiet bed for the day, school wins. smile

kittybrown Wed 14-Oct-09 11:45:33

It makes it harder when there is an underlying factor such as reflux in your dd's case or asthma in pyro's dd. My ds has allergies not major ones but ones where he can be seriously snotty, headachy or have a stomach ache. He definitely uses this to his advantage though.

I tried the staying on his own in bed for the day but ds is very stubborn (not unlike myself!) and did grin

cory Wed 14-Oct-09 12:11:36

I've had the same problem with an underlying real factor. In dd's case I got the feeling that it wasn't her deliberately pulling sickies, it was more a genuine confusion because she felt ill all the time and it was really hard to know when you are suppose to feel ill and go in or when you feel ill and stay at home. Particularly as we bullied her into going, or into walking on a bad leg, a fair few times, so she didn't really have any reason to trust our judgment more than her own. It is a lot easier now that she is older and takes more responsibility herself. Also, the fact that her old school never believed her made it harder for her to go in: she didn't trust them to send her home if she really did get ill. Now that she does trust the school she is far more inclined to go in feeling a bit dodgy.

leenasmom Wed 14-Oct-09 12:20:07

my dd has had prblems setling in school for is her friend but on speaking to the teachers every year am told she is liked and others are her friends...
now in yr3 she has mastered the art of playing sickie...
was called in on week one as she had fallen outside and scraped her elbow and jsut would not be quite....i was asked to come in and settle her down as the teacher was new to them and her last yr teacher had left. it was a little scratch...a week later to the day she complained of a tummy ache and 'i feel sick' and was sent home...she was fine the minute she walked in..I knew she had played on it to get out of maths.(i did this every friday for french for over 6weeks until dad clocked on) the next week again she complained on the way to school I had to be cruel to be kind and told her if she was poorly the teacher would be contacting me and there is no way i will be coming for her as i had to be out and her aunty will be collecting her and watching her maybe overnight as I wouldnt have the car to collect her later on...she doesnt get on with her cousins...and i didnt get the call.

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