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Mommy, i dont like school...and i dont want to go to school

  1. #9
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung

    i'm from the west where independence is highly valued. to me, 3 years old is to old to be sleeping with mummy and daddy, not even considering how it must affect your relationship with your husband (i can't imagine having my kid/s in our bed night after night for 3 years). Please do NOT think i'm blaming you. it is just a very different style of parenting that i will admit, i don't understand.

    my kids are VERY attached to me. just because i encourage their independence doesn't mean that we are not close. i think it's good for kids to learn independence, especially when they are sent to school so young. it must be shocking for them to go from being the complete and total centre of mummy's universe (which she still is at home, i'm sure) to being one of a dozen or more at school. she's not used to sharing attention with anyone.

    perhaps this would be a good time to start encouraging her independence? a little step at a time, if you go cold turkey, i think it would be even more stress on her, which she doesn't need.

    as for having only 5 friends out of 25, that's normal. most kids pick out a few friends and not necessarily play with everyone in the entire class.

    i wish you luck. every kid i know says at some point, "i don't want to go to school." and each says it for a different reason. it could be just that after the long holiday, your girl has gotten out of the habbit?

    also, if she is going to school on the peak, maybe a school a little closer to home would be better/ it would cut down on the travel time, give her friends she could meet in the park a few times/week and generally be less stressful for you...

    again, please do NOT think that i am blaming you in any way. i'm not and if it comes across that way, it isn't meant to...

  2. #10
    fennho's Avatar
    fennho is offline Registered User
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    Sep 2007
    Kowloon Station (West)

    Thanks Cara and ok, its duly noted that ur NOT blaming me. :)

    But when it comes from the teacher's mouth (the old one where we used to go to her class as parent/child group), it's hard not to esp when she specifically says "ohhh...then no wonder she cant separate from u" aft she found out we cosleep, peppered with words like u shouldnt have, becos of this, she doesnt know she's a separate entity, and i should move her out asap. Frankly i dont think cosleeping is the root problem cos i've got many friends who cosleep with their kids and they are very independent! I'm not angry with the teacher though cos she usually is very nice and reassuring and give good advices but it stings only becos i am a big believer in AP style.

    My girl is usually pretty independent in most sense, she was toilet trained by 2yo (i didnt force her, she was ready), dressed herself, great motor skills, and does most of the things tht she's able to all by herself. It's just the separation that's posing as a problem now. :(

    I've thought about the kindys nearer to home. But i've heard of bad reviews about the school plus the MAIN reason is she (used to) loves her school and i love it too cos they dont stress so much importance in academic at this age, very nurturing and they have a very nice outdoor nature garden for the kids to run around and play (rare in HK!). The classes are not focused too much in academic but rather learning thru play and letting the kids be creative.

  3. #11
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    May 2009

    Hey there. Yes, I agree that co-sleeping in itself is not a huge issue for most families and kids. In Mainland China most families actually co-sleep. It's pretty traditional. Sometimes they only have one big bed and everyone kind of just crashes there for the night. (Although, I will add that I do not co-sleep with my son--we tried that when he was an infant and even at that time he was the worst bed hog in the world--none of us get a decent night's sleep if we're all in bed together--so for us the co-sleeping vs. not co-sleeping decision was just a practical one).

    But, in my understanding, attachment parenting (AP) goes beyond just co-sleeping. You said that you're a firm believer in AP. Could you elaborate a little bit more about what this philosophy means to you? In addition to co-sleeping what types of activities, routines and behaviors do you think are important in AP? I've heard about several different styles or "brands" of AP but I think individual practice must vary a lot from family-to-family.

    While I am reading your description of your daughter's behavior this is what I think.

    1. She is extremely self-aware and also extremely socially aware. For her to be able to point out 80% of her class and name them and show the initiative to memorize their names and to ask the teacher specific names of her classmates (because she felt rejection from asking the Japanese girl and not being answered, maybe she is not willing to risk that again and figures the teacher is a safer person to ask) is not really "average." (She's a social maven).

    I honestly, can't imagine my son (or any of his friends, both boys and girls) caring enough to do that. My son literally refers to every child his age as "my friend." There have been several occasions on the playground in Hong Kong when he approached a child and said in Cantonese, "Friend, do you want to play?" and the child yelled at him rudely, "Get away from me!" He wasn't just ignored but was forcefully told he was not welcome or wanted (made Mama Bear want to tie those nasty kids up by their toes, though!).

    My son's reaction was more of confusion than anything--he just looked at me like, "Well, that's strange....what should I do now?" And I just reassured him with, "Come here, honey, that little boy doesn't want to play." My son didn't give it a second thought and just happily went about minding his own business.

    2. So, it seems that she may also be suffering from some social anxiety as she can't control the reactions of her classmates. Whereas some 3-year-olds (my son, for example) just brush off those types of cold reactions from other kids and it literally doesn't phase them at all--she is internalizing all of this and it may affect how she sees herself.

    She probably is also making an extra effort (by memorizing names etc.) to try to navigate this social scene and it may be really hurtful to her that her classmates just aren't responding like she expects. I guess it is a good lesson to learn in life that we can only control our own actions--not the responses of others.

    Since she seems very verbal and mature--this probably is a good place to start debriefing with her every day after school about what her classmates do and how that makes her feel. The situation might not improve very fast--meaning, the classmates might not warm up to her for whatever reason but you can still talk her through it and reassure her every day. I don't think this is a one-time, fix-all situation where you're just going to discover one key thing and all of a sudden everything will line up. Maybe it will--but in case it doesn't, it's better for her know that talking about how she feels and accepting things that are unpleasant is a big part of life.

    3. She is what people called me when I was little: "precocious." I was always "wise beyond my years" and I definitely fit better in the adult world than with a lot of peers. Part of this is because of the way I was raised when I was little--always around adults--parents had a few friends with kids but it wasn't like my mom was out there arranging regular playdates for me. I always took myself and other kids very seriously--maybe because I was used to "serious adult talk" so the words and actions of children around me impacting me a lot more than other kids. Also as a first-born child I felt a need to be perfect and people's opinion of me often was how I could judge whether I was performing well or not. The fact that your daughter's classmates aren't warming up to her and anxious to be her friend (for whatever reason--cultural, language barrier, difference in personality, their own shyness) probably makes her feel like she's "broken." Especially, if in her other social circles (ballet class) everyone gets along well with her and she feels "popular" (by a 3-year-old's understanding of that/standards).

    Again it totally reminds me of this line from the Dr. Seuss poem/book "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

    Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

    Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.

    I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

    All Alone!
    Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.
    It's hard for any child to deal with being alone and as Mama's we want to make it all better and protect our kids from hurt at all costs. Of course, there is that fine line--if the situation is truly damaging we have to step in but I think you're doing what's right by cautiously observing.

    4. Finally, my thoughts are that this kindergarten might not be the right fit for your daughter. Sometimes things just don't work out. It doesn't mean there is a problem with the school, the classmates or even your daughter--it just means that it might not be the ideal environment for her to learn in. She may need a smaller class size even if it means going to a less "prestigious" or "famous" school. If I were in your shoes, I would give it until the end of the term, though (unless it just becomes unbearable for your daughter and you). It may be hard to switch schools right now anyway because you know how funny HK schools are about admission dates etc. But, it's totally fine to say to yourself, "This school isn't the best environment for her and we're going to try again."
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  4. #12
    Koan is offline Registered User
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    May 2007

    Have you talked to her teacher? Ask her about the situation and see what she advises. I also like the suggestion above of organising some playdates with classmates. If she is still unhappy, I'd be looking elsewhere, maybe with a smaller class?

    As for the comments on your parenting, completely ignore it! It is obviously coming from ignorance. You understand your daughter, I'm sure you know her better than anyone else does. Continue to trust your mummy instincts. I still co-sleep and breastfeed my three year old. He is a sensitive, independent, secure, and emotionally mature little preschooler.

  5. #13
    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    Nov 2009
    Hong Kong
    Quote Originally Posted by fennho View Post
    I'm guessing, on top of the ethnic thingy, she's also overwhelmed by the large no of kids in the class as compared to the smaller class (10-12) kids that i used to accompany her to. I feel so guilty throwing her into the "deep sea" as soon as she turned 3, perhaps i should have moved her to a smaller nursery class for her first independent school experience.
    There lies your solution! Just from what you have said about your daughter, it appears that she needs just this. Try to find a situation that fits her personality and upbringing. She seems to have been thrown in the deep end and is not coping at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by fennho View Post
    Her old teacher actually sort of "blames" my style of attachment parenting and cosleeping for her difficulty to separate now. I feel really bad but i actually do like the methods of AP so i'm feeling really low now. Did i really cause my child to have these separation anxieties now? :(
    That's just BS. Ignore her. I know kids who are raised in that manner and are independent and confident at school (in HK)!

    I would really encourage you to look at other options. Kids here go to school too early and too young. IMHO, early childhood education should not be about not involve too many tears. Not being the mood for school versus fearing school are two very different problems. Some parents and some kids are ok with negative school experiences (Tough Love) but some kids aren't ok.

    There are some kindies who will let you do a trial. Have you thought about such kindies and see how she feels about other schools?
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

  6. #14
    Portia is offline Registered User
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    Oct 2006
    Hong Kong

    Fennho - I've sent you a PM.

  7. #15
    rebekah is offline Registered User
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    Jun 2007

    Fenho - I've coslept since birth with my daughter until she decided she didn't want to, and several other moms have as well. all kids are just different...mine is highly independent, but i have other friends who also are fairly AP following who have kids the same age that aren't. Don't blame yourself. it's just her personality. As for whoever mentioned "what it does to the marriage" I would say that my husband loved cosleeping as much as I did. there's nothing as sweet as watching your baby sleep, for a mother or a father. We both miss it, but she was ready (and decided on her own) to move to her own bed. I don't regret it for a second.

  8. #16
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    Sep 2004
    Sai Kung

    i am the one that said i couldn't do it. and i wondered what it would do to the marriage (honestly, how are you intimate with your husband when your child is sleeping with you?... not judging, just truly curious!). i also said that i didn't understand this method of parenting. i was not judging anyone.

    i know that when my kids are sick, they occasionally sleep with us and NONE of us gets a decent sleep.

    i also think that co-sleeping has very little to do with her daughter's hatred/fear of school

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