Strong-willed Child Will Not Go To School
December 5, 2013 6:59 AM Subscribe
At out wits' end - we have a very smart, very angry, very sad, strong-willed 6 year old who has decided that he is going to sleep until Christmas and that he is not going to school ever. Flurries of special snowflake details inside.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (94 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
At the beginning of the school year, we switched districts going from one side of town to the other and then moved physically shortly thereafter. Historically, he has trouble with transitions especially centered around schools and teachers - transitioning in a different classroom in Pre-K was good for a few months and then became a nightmare and ended up with the teacher quitting. His kindergarten experience was also two months of great followed by trials (this teacher, a 20 year veteran, managed him well).
He is a child who is slow to trust, stand-offish, and doesn't make friends quickly. The friends he does make, he tests constantly. He exaggerates negative things to make himself feel worse. He pushes most interactions to as much confrontation as he can get. He deflects positive attention and craves negative. Logical/natural consequences have little or no meaning for him - he will do what he wants and take the consequences with no remorse or no indication that the consequences would prevent him taking that same action in the future, except when the penalty is so high that he feels that the entire situation is not worth pursuing anymore. He is very quick to push everything to high stakes negotiation. He also goes quickly from feeling anger to acting on the anger and refusing to communicate (for example, throwing a chair).
Now he has decided that school is stupid, it's too hard/too easy/I get hurt there/I hate everyone there/it's all bullies/pick your own excuse (and to get this took 20 minutes of high stakes negotiations with him - many Bothans died to bring us this information). He has started to threaten physical harm to himself (putting his head in plastic bag, not eating, cutting) and has written about it in his school writing.
We've spoken to his classroom teacher, the principal, the school counselor. We've started taking him to a psychologist - no real data yet. Read books out the wazoo (the best so far is "You Can't Make Me, But I Can Be Persuaded").
Today he decided that he wasn't going to school and, quite honestly, there is nothing short of physical force that would get him to go to school, which I'm sure you can see would be a loss for child, parent and school. Days like this set a bad precedent: that by acting like this, he can get what he wants (whenever he wants).
My wife is in crisis mode. I don't know what we're supposed to do with these circumstances. We're living with a miniature terrorist.
I'm fully sure that changing schools is only going to delay/propagate the problem. Homeschooling is not an option. Not having an education is not an option.