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Ask Rene: My Kid Doesn’t Like School And Will Try ANYTHING To Get Out Of It! Help!

angry little girl

Ask Rene:
My Kid Doesn’t Like School And Will Try ANYTHING To Get Out Of It! Help!

Dear Rene,

Here’s my question!

My son Jason is 10 years old and hates going to school – he says it’s ‘boring’ and a ‘waste of time’ – typical kid’s stuff I guess.

The problem is that Jason will go to any lengths to avoid attending school. He’s always pulling sick days, which are a nightmare for me as I work full time and am a single mom (and Jason has an 8 year old sister Kylie who also has to be accommodated). But I’m scared of sending him to school in case he is genuinely ill – so he invariably gets his way. He’s very manipulative and knows just what to say to get me to give in.

I just wondered if Casey and Cole ever tried to pull sick days with yourself and Buff – and how were you able to tell the difference! And what are you personal rules on school attendance in general – and have you ever broken them?

Thanks

Loretta, Detroit


Hey Loretta:

This is a little bit of a tricky one because I do understand not wanting to send your kid to school sick but you’re in a bit of a pickle. Both Casey and Cole have, at one time or another, tried to pull this with me so I have a bit of experience. Here’s my suggestion:

4. Put Your Foot Down

Image 4 of 4

The part of your letter that is most disconcerting to me is that you say he’s become manipulative and knows just what to say to get you to give in. Here’s some advice. DON’T! Do not give in. You need to put a stop to the manipulation and quick! As I said, unless that kid is really, really sick then he goes to school. Doesn’t matter how much he cries or wrings his hands, you need to make it clear that once you’ve made your decision, this is the way it’s going to be (think it through well as you won’t be able to turn back once you’ve made your ruling). You can call the school, let them know he’s not feeling 100 percent and make sure you have a directive on file that allows them to administer medication. Then off he goes. Truth is, he’ll probably feel a bit better once he gets out of bed and off to school (unless there is some sort of situation there he has not told you about).

One more thing you might try. When Casey and Cole stay home sick, it’s not a chance to play video games and watch TV non-stop. I take away all the fun things and so all there is to do is sleep (which they really need to do if they are sick) and read. I would suggest the same for Jason. Make sure he is not being rewarded for behavior you are trying to extinguish.

Good luck mommy!

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(Editor's Note: This piece ran in its original format on 12.13.2010)

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