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child refusing to go to school

  1. #1
    Linda&Hanley is offline Registered User
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    May 2004
    HK Island

    Unhappy child refusing to go to school

    My child started his first school day in early August and things went on pretty well -- he cried for a few days but didn't feel bad about school at all. I can tell because every night he asked me to tell him stories about school, and he seemed to enjoy school more as days passed by. Once he was sick but kept telling me that he was alright to go to school. He said he missed his teachers at school, too.
    Yet things started to change since the beginning of September. He cried more often than before in the classroom. He was unwilling to go into the classroom and wouldn't let me go. Last week he even started crying 2 hours before going to school, begging me to let him stay at home.
    Naturally parents expect progression, and his 'retrogression' really worries me. I tried talking to his class teachers but they told me that it was not unusual for children to be like that, sometimes without reasons.
    My son has always been very attached to me at home and so was he to his teachers in his first month at school. He cuddled them and followed them, and the teachers carried him when he requested. In fact the teachers carried every crying child and tempered them in the first month, and after the transition period, as I was told, no child receives privileges.
    If it is the feeling of insecuirty due to estrangement that made a child dislike school, what can a parent do to rebuild the child's enthusiasm in attending school? I'd be grateful if someone could give me some advice.

  2. #2
    armstroe's Avatar
    armstroe is offline Registered User
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    Nov 2002
    How old is your son?

    Sometimes this phobia about school can be related to having to use the bathroom. Maybe he has had an accident at school.

    Or it could be some other very incident that would appear very minor and not a cause of concern to an adult, but is very upsetting for a child. Unfortunately it can take a while to identify what it was, and difficult to question a child.

    And often it will be something that not even the teachers notice.

    I have a friend whose young daughter says she hates maths (although the child is very good at this subject and finds it easy to understand) - she finally discovered the reason was because during one maths class her daughter had to go to the toilet suddenly. She was very embarrassed about it. Now she's worried during her maths classes that it will happen again, and so she dreads having to do maths.

  3. #3
    Sean Ma is offline Registered User
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    Mar 2004
    Kennedy Town
    I'm having the same problem with my child. Very happy in his first month at school to the extent that he runs into the classroom without even a goodbye or looking back to his ol' mum. Not a tear at all.
    Then he's started crying this month. First it happened everytime he was brought to the toilet and during the playground session. Now he refuses to go to school unless I accompany him in class and lately, he will not let me out of his sight anywhere we go, even to grandma's house which he used to enjoy when I had left him occassionally in the past.
    My child is only 2.5 years old and does not speak well. Although he couldn't tell me what was wrong, he did indicate that he was probably pushed. I suspect it's due to the boisterous play that happens so often in the playground when kids goes after the "toys". Unfortunately not all caretakers discipline their children at home and when it happens in school, it's just not possible for the teachers to see every time (it's a 1:10 teacher-student ratio at my child's school).
    Another reason is because he has not yet learnt to stand up when he goes to the toilet and since the teaching assistants do not understand Eng nor my son Cantonese, he has wet his pants many times as he is unable to 'hold' himself properly when he wees. I told the teachers at start of school but it is difficult for the assistants to tell which child is which. I had thought it strange when my son started crying lately each time I teach him at home and my suspicions were confirmed this week when my son forced me to accompany him to the toilet session at school.
    Trouble is none of his teachers understand my son's speech. They didn't notice the pushing either when I told them, coupled by the fact that my son was so trouble-free in his first month, he was naturally given less attention than those who needed comforting. With so many students to look after, the teachers really rely on the child to approach them. So I've decided to stay with him in class for a few more days (I am the only parent there but I don't care) and tutor him into socializing with his teachers more.
    Hope it works out for your child too.

  4. #4
    loupou is offline Baby Guru
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    Mar 2003
    New Territories

    Cantonese for wee

    Hi Seanma,

    Maybe it would also help if you teach him to say the words for "wee" in Cantonese?

    It's hard to transliterate but I've heard it as "Ngoah sue-sue" (wee-wee).

    The more adult term is "Ngoah liu" (urinate).

    If he is going to a cantonese medium kinderegartent and doesn't speak Cantonese, it will likely be very hard at first.

    When my daughter was 2, she only knew very basic words (like pee, drink, eat, play, etc.) in Cantonese. The first 2 weeks her teachers said she was rather withdrawn, before she got used to the new environment and language.

    If you don't know any Cantonese, maybe ask a friend or neighbor to help you learn basic baby-talk to help your kid?

    Linda& Hanley,

    It's hard. My daughter cried when we put her on the school bus for the first couple of weeks. My son too. I just tried to harden my heart. They always seemed to come home happy.

    Does your son come home happy?

    If he's only 2 1/2, he's a bit young for bribery. I had a friend whose 3 year-old used to fuss about going to school. So she promised him a toy dinosaur if he could *not* fuss for 1 week when it was time to go to school (be very brave and strong). After the week he got his dinosaur and was out of the habit of fussing. YMMV.

    Also, it could be that he is just too young for the kindie. Maybe withdraw him and wait another 6 months? Join some playgroups that mothers and children go to together instead?

    Or, maybe that kindie is not right for him? Maybe try a different one?

    Sorry, no real solutions, just suggestions.

  5. #5
    keong is offline Registered User
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    Oct 2004
    taikoo shing
    my 3 yr old boy was exactly the same. the first week at school was quite bad, both for him and the mum. he cried a lot as he is naturally quite attached to mummy. i suppose this crying is quite normal with kids on their first days - new surroundings, new unfamiliar faces. now, however he likes going to school. i think 2 things play an important part : a) teacher who must be a natural with kids and know how to sweet talk and soothe them b) friends who speak the same language. (it is easy to observe how quickly kids form clicks by themselves. english speaking one click, japanese speaking another, and cantonese speaking etc).

    also, dont think he is learning a lot from this playgroup since he spends only 3 hrs each day vs ++ hrs at home. our aim of putting him in the playgroup is more for the socializing.

    thinking of putting him in a local playgroup to learn mandarin instead..... since we speak english to him for the greater part.

    also thinking of getting likeminded parents to get together to have family home visiting .... parents can chit chat, kids can share their toys and play together .... etc...

    just joined this forum today and already excited to see how things eventually develop....

  6. #6
    c2006 is offline Registered User
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    Jun 2004
    hong kong

    child crying in school

    Hi all,

    I currently started my son to a local Cantonese speaking nursery (2-3 yrs). Since it's his first days I had to accompany him and was the only parent in there.
    There was a boy in the classroom who only speaks Engllish and he cries throughout the lesson. Thou, every time he cries, the teacher puts her hand infront of his face and said "Tommy, NO!" which made him cry more and when he goes to the toilet, he cries even more, but the teacher, having to look after 10 other kids, would only tell him to stop cryinging and ignore why or how he feels..
    I was quite upset seeing that and hope that the parent could by notified about this, which i doubt they would be.

    I think it's important when choosing a kindy, to find out how the teachers actually conduct their lessons and what would they do if a child cries.. I know it's hard but if the teacher don't understand how kids feel, it would only do them more harm than good to go.

    I thnk international schools have less of these problems.

  7. #7
    svasbt's Avatar
    svasbt is offline Registered User
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    Oct 2003
    Discovery Bay

    Your post really makes me feel that we should actually go to see how each school handles the unhappy children in class before enrolling our boy in any... Our son is not of school age yet,but being in HK, we just have to start looking early. Just out of curiosity, may I ask why you think international schools would have less of these problems please? We're non-Chinese, and most likely int'l schools is the way to go. But I personally would love Junior to be in a local school. Well... not really if most of them are like what you have experienced.

  8. #8
    c2006 is offline Registered User
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    Jun 2004
    hong kong
    Dear Linda&Hanly,
    I would really recommend that you have a look at the school's atmosphere, the teacher's attitudes as well as the kids already in there(if they are happy) first before you enrol for the school.

    International schools usually are run by people who have exposure to western cultures and their idea would be more open, their approach to the kids would be more tolerate and patient. Whereas most asian teachers are more strict, they would expect the kids to listen to adults' instructions and should have minimal opinions on what they like to do or how they feel. ... of course these are only my personal opinion.
    There are however a number of local school which are starting to introduce western teaching methods into their schools but not many at all and usually they are quite full already - these are also what i prefer, as they aren't as strict as the locals, at the same time, they also put some importance in teaching the kids manners and some knowledges through a relaxed environment. I believe kids should love their school and not scared of them.

    Hope this help.

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