Wednesday, February 10, 2010

So many kids hate school!

How many children begin each day begging their parents not to send them to school? And how many parents listen to their kids and keep them home, and how many offer useless placation and send their kids off in tears?

In order to live a full and healthy life we rely on four essential functions, according to Patricia Evans, feeling, sensate, intuitive and thinking. There are many ways we damage these basic functions in children, and forced schooling is the cause of plenty damage.

A child cries about not wanting to go to school because every day this week they have been picked on. The child uses their intuitive function to predict what will occur today, and yet the parent brushes this aside telling the child "it'll be alright, you don't KNOW what today will bring".

A child cries because they can not compete with their peers in an academic or physical subject, and the parent tells them "go on, try your hardest, you can do it". The child uses their feeling function to understand anguish, and the parent ignores their feelings - obviously with good intentions, but it is still ignoring a function the child is using to navigate their way through their day.

Intuition and feeling are very powerful and useful, crucial, senses, however we are socially conditioned to use our "thinking" function above all else, and the thinking function can not give us all the information we need for decision making. The other functions are viewed as weaknesses, failings, little more than an inconvenience in all things, from work to relating to other people.

Many of the parents who send their children to prison despite their tears are switching off their intuitive function in order to do so. Using their "thinking" function to override their intuition, telling themselves that the benefits of education outweigh the negatives of the "feeling" function of their child, and the child's intuitive fear. This is something that the parents of the parent most likely drummed into them in order to raise fully functional human beings. It has somehow become the norm to use only the thinking function to the detriment of all other functions, and the detriment of the human beings being raised to ignore such essential parts of themselves.

What does this teach children?

In order to be a successful human in our "dog eat dog" world, we rely on all the senses, and we rely on a connection to them, within ourselves to be fully functional, independent, whole beings. When we ignore a child's functional senses, we teach them to disconnect from themselves, we teach them that our thinking function is more worthy than their intuitive or feeling function. When in actual fact ALL of these things must operate together for harmony to exist within us, and we must be aware of them for them to guide us. We are teaching our children to disconnect from their inner voices, voices which may one day be relied upon in life and death situations .... and yet by then they are unable to access them, or they do not value the messages their senses are sending them.

I am well aware the homeschooling isn't a viable option to a lot of people, but I do believe that it's an option to more people than ever consider it. If homeschool isn't an option for you because you have court orders preventing you from making decisions by yourself, if you are a sole, working parent, or any other myriad of reasons prevent you from learning at home, you can still listen to your child and validate their feelings. You can work with them to find a solution for their aversion to schooling. You can employ a counselor, demand the school steps up to the plate and meets the needs of your child, you can look at changing schools to a school that has a different approach to the particular problem your child is encountering, or you can simply allow your child to have a "mental health day" now and again to relieve some of the stress.

If more parents did this the world would be a happier, more functional place! Our children would be healthier, less inclined to experiment with sex and drugs, and able to form more complete adult (and youthful) relationships with both themselves, other people, and the world around them. Imagine a world where children learnt to use all their feelings, without ever judging the value of one above another, and they grew up to raise children the same way!

Here are some other ways to value and encourage your child to develop all their senses and functions.

  • If your child falls over, don't tell them it didn't hurt and that they'll be ok. Just hold them close and comfort them quietly.
  • If your child tells you they don't like a particular food, don't tell them that it's actually tasty - you probably don't like green cordial, and couldn't be convinced of its' virtues.
  • If your child doesn't like a particular relative don't tell them the relative is nice, they should get to know them, let your child feel protected by you.
  • If your child does not wish to have physical contact with a particular person do not force it upon them, who cares if the adult is upset, it's your job to protect your child, not another adult's feelings.
  • If your child finds something too difficult, don't tell them it's easy, they will either grow into the skill or find other skills which they can accomplish easily.

24 comments:

karisma said...

I think a lot more people would homeschool if they knew it was an option. In the few years we have been at home so many more people have joined the ranks due to others spreading the word. I had no idea it was an option until my child was feeling just the way you are describing here. It was pure frustration after trying everything humanly possible and getting no where that made me search between the cracks in the BOS website. They really don't make it easy for us, although it is improving.

Having said that, I know a lot of people around here who have the "tough up" attitude towards their children and simply don't care. Very sad.

Great post!

mum+dad=akira and linkin and elijah said...

Great post. This gestating stuff is making you so wise and philosphical!!

Teresa said...

Where do you find all these miserable children? I have worked in schools for 20 years, and I find that very few children hate school. My own children adore it and count down the days until the school holidays finish. (This is in contrast to me - I love my job, but I love the freedom of being on holiday!)

Some children do cry for a little while when they start school. Transitions are hard for little kids and they can miss their families while they are away. Often those same children cry when the school day ends as well - not because they don't love being at home, but because they are having fun and transitioning from one thing to another is difficult.

There are some children for whom school is not a good fit, and there are families for whom homeschooling or unschooling are a good fit. But your blog post makes it sound like sending children to school is abusive, and that is not the case for most children.

I don't know what sort of parents you know, but most parents I know would go and see the class teacher if a child was being bullied. Most teachers would follow up on it too. Bullying is taken very seriously in schools.

You might like to look up discussion of psychological resiliance. Some of your post would be beneficial to resiliance - identifying and acknowledging feelings, close connections with family etc. But some things that school can be good for - peer relationships, having the chances to overcome difficulties etc - are also good for developing resiliance. This is important for coping with the negative things that life can throw at you.

Alice and Mother said...

Hi Teresa.

I sent my daughter to school for nearly 6 years, so if sending them to school is abusive then I am an abusive parent.

If you go further back in my blog you will see how the schools my daughter attended dealt with bullying. It was by no means effective. Their methods left the bullies more empowered and my daughter more afraid. That was my experience of school bullying too, when my parents tried to fix it, it got worse, and so did the threats of retaliation if I ever spoke up about it again. I don't know what school you go to, but there is no way schools CAN deal effectively with bullying. Read the news paper some time. Children commit suicide over bullying that schools claim to have dealt with.

The idea that the negative things schools throw at children creates resilience is absurd. LIFE creates resilience. Sending children to a school, when they are not thriving in that environment, to learn coping skills actually does exactly the opposite. People spend years in therapy dealing with the fall out from main stream schooling.

I was schooled, my parents were teachers, my daughter attended school for nearly 6 year. In that time I have met many people who openly acknowledge the failings of the system. Perhaps if you were less enthralled with it you could see the problems within the system. At the end of the day schooling is an institution, and no institution ever succeeds fully at what it set out to achieve.

ThreeBeans said...

As a parent who is strongly considering homeschooling as an option for her three pre-school aged children, I found your post offensive and really offputting.

You are assuming that ALL children do better in the homeschooling environment which is outrageous and silly as saying that all children should be in traditional school.

My two older ones attend public preschool. Not once have they 'cried or begged' to stay home. In fact, every morning is prefaced with the question of "Is this a school-day?" and excited cries of "yay!" if the answer is in the affirmative.

They have warm, supportive teachers, little friends, and a curricula which follows their interests and particular focuses for the week. A few weeks ago one of the children expressed an interest in boats. Right now they are building a giant boat out of cardboard boxes in the middle of the classroom, and practicing making water-worthy craft in the water tub.

Once more, your insistence that a parent who sends a child to school in the face of protests is 'disconnected' from the child. Again, not true. The fact of the matter is that children are children and their parents are their parents, and sometimes, believe it or not, the parents know the children need something that the children may be not too keen on. My kids are currently not keen on vegetables, but that doesn't mean I don't dish them up two to three times a day.

The smug arrogance in your post is incredibly distasteful, and more likely to turn a reasonable parent away from homeschooling than encourage him to try something new.

sanctimommy said...

LOL then maybe you can be the one who tells my preschool aged daughter tomorrow morning that there's no school because of the holiday. Have fun dealing with the tantrum. The part where she puts on her shoes and stands at the door pouting is downright cute, if it weren't for the tears.

Alice and Mother said...

Where did I say that ALL children hate school? Where did I say that they ALL should be kept home? I think it's funny that one of the more forgiving posts about schooling has upset so many people, and some of my past posts got ignored.

My daughter loved school, but she loves home school more. And I really love your lists of reasons to school, they're the same as my reasons to unschool. My kids do fabulous little projects and have great friends!

Why don't you all go back to "school is wonderful land" and forget that anyone ever has a difference of opinion, since you're clearly unable to interpret the meaning of my post, an it has you all in tears.

Alice and Mother said...

And furthermore, there is a HUGE difference between pre-school and school. HUGE.

Genie said...

My now 18 year old womanly daughter went to school and never cried or wanted to stay home. She was a social butterfly and she never did learn anything at school other than how to pick up the cute boys and how to apply make up, how to skip school and hand out at malls without being caught, how to smoke cigarettes and blow smoke rings.. you get the jist.
She was nicely pigeon holed by the system and given the choice of hairdressing (beauty) or childcare to get her year 12 certificate. She doesn't want a career in either and her year 12 pass hasn't given her a job, or self esteem, or happiness. She's been sucked into a superficial state of mind wanting to be in style and have it all, but she isn't given those things because the school decided she wasn't University material. HELLO school system.. YOU were giving my child her education. TEACHING FAIL!!!!

My other 2 daughters hate going to school and beg to stay home. They love being here where they don't have to compete for friendships, high marks and praise all day.

Unfortunately for them, I have finally realised my actual potential after being pigeon holed into the same group as my eldest child during my childhood and young adult life. They put me in the wrong hole.. I'm an honours student at University now and breezing through.. how did that happen? I taught myself at home and gave myself the skills needed to get through Uni. For once in my life I feel worth while after a whole childhood of having my esteem and self efficacy crushed by the system on a daily basis.

I just hope to finish my studies in time to rescue my children from high school before the real abuse starts.

phenske said...

I think that perhaps people really should actually READ the post before replying, it's apparent to me that the "schoolers" who replied are lacking something really important - the ability to understand something they've read.

I really enjoyed reading your blog entry, a lot of valid points and concerns. I value your opinion and the way you look at things.

-The mother who actually READS things instead of twisting someone's perspective (and who also sends her kids to school)

mummyvamp said...

Not once in this post did she say that ALL children should homeschool I agree with Phenske I think people should actually READ the post before commenting.
IF school works for you good on you I'm sure we are all happy for you and your children but if it doesn't then dont just tell your kids to suck it up and deal with it actually DO something about it.
My daughter use to LOVE school but she was so advanced that the school couldn't keep up with her. I have since changed her to an inderpendant school thinking this would be a happy medium for us but it has left her not wanting to go to school and being miserable.
I am no fighting my X to homeschool my daughter.

our job as parents is to love, nurtuer and RESPECT our children.

Children are People too so again read before commenting

Built In Obsolescence said...

I found this a very good addition to the plethora of information of home schooling. I myself loved going to school and on my first day skipped in the school gate, however by grade 3 I was begging to stay at home.

My 9 year old niece recently told me about the humilation she suffered from a male teacher in a "good" public school in an affluent suburb.

Every year we see children crying and clinging to their parents legs, their hearts breaking, they will miss their family because 4 years old is far too young to be sending chilren to school, yet we see this as cute. This situation is as much about responsible parenting as it is about schooling. Keep on blogging, I enjoy reading about your journey.

九份 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ThreeBeans said...

Wow, so much arrogance and stupidity from homeschoolers in the responses here. Honestly? It's people like you that give homeschooling a bad name. Seriously. As I said, I'm considering it. No, scratch that. If school ever becomes inappropriate for my kids, I will homeschool, as simple as that. And if I ever become as obnoxious and superior as some of the people here, I hope someone dumps me in a lake for my own good.

Amazing how you can provided thoughtful insights and be met with nothing but whining and tantrumming.

phenske said...

"Wow, so much arrogance and stupidity from homeschoolers in the responses here. Honestly? It's people like you that give homeschooling a bad name. Seriously. As I said, I'm considering it. No, scratch that. If school ever becomes inappropriate for my kids, I will homeschool, as simple as that. And if I ever become as obnoxious and superior as some of the people here, I hope someone dumps me in a lake for my own good."

I'm guessing you weren't taught to "read" at school?
At the end of my post it clearly states that my children are in school.
Perhaps you should stop using words that are demeaning to others, I'm guessing you learnt that at school?

Alice and Mother said...

Threebeans, if we offend you so badly I suggest you read another blog! Although as Phenske said ... you're not reading this one !? There was ONE home schooler who responded to your vitriol ....EVERYONE ELSE WAS A SCHOOLING PARENT. And they're not offended, not do they find me to be "arrogant".

Your carrying on is extremely arrogant! And you are clearly unable to have an adult conversation without name calling so I suggest you go and troll someone else's blog. I'm bored by your antics.

Suj said...

[This is in continuation of the previous post by me .. since there was a character limit]


This is a child who cannot be enticed with ice-creams, cakes, lollipops, TV, fave shows, trips, anything because this child also knows how to defer gratification. Even after one successful day at school when he came back and was given a huge yellow lollipop with a smiley face as a reward, he wanted to hold it, and asked to have a lick. When we said he could but it might be better to have his lunch first maybe since his tummy needed food now .. He agreed. And then later after lunch when he asked for an ice cream lolli stick we let him go down and enjoy it. He remembered later in the evening the unlicked lolli and said he was saving it for later.

He'd not even touched his lolli that was in the tiffin box as a treat. He said he was saving that for later .. but when I asked him if he's like a taste.. he took a few licks declared it's like strawberries, asked me to have a taste and watched as I said yum .. smiled and said, "And now put it back in the bag . I will have it later. Maybe tomorrow." I have never said there was a scarcity of lollis ever. He can have as many long as long as it is not during meal times. Such things were so easy to reason with and use logic and explanation ..

BUT SCHOOL?? Nothing is working and I am at my wit's end. So when I see those children laughing and going to school and those who cry when they are a home I feel troubled and sad and tearful that my child who is so bright and cheerful and happy and kind and so trouble-free in general finds it so repulsive going to school.

Yes I also know that had the school hours been short .. like 3 hours .. even 4 .. it would be manageable for him .. but he leaves at 8 and is home at 3:30. Gruelling for him .. however hard he tries .. his self control in the face of adversity cannot last that many hours.

I don't even know why I am writing in at this forum / blog .. I am not thinking of home schooling I don't have the skills to handle that. I do know my child will bloom in a boutique place with few children and more personalized care .. but that is not the setting in a country like India.

After today's battle we have decided that it is time to see a counseller .. or skip a year .. Alice and Mother I am so afraid of blunting this sharp and sensitive child .. He has already become withdrawn and lost interest in so much that gave him joy. He wakes up in the night crying into his pillow saying he does not want to go to school.

Suj said...

This is a child who cannot be enticed with ice-creams, cakes, lollipops, TV, fave shows, trips, anything because this child also knows how to defer gratification. Even after one successful day at school when he came back and was given a huge yellow lollipop with a smiley face as a reward, he wanted to hold it, and asked to have a lick. When we said he could but it might be better to have his lunch first maybe since his tummy needed food now .. He agreed. And then later after lunch when he asked for an ice cream lolli stick we let him go down and enjoy it. He remembered later in the evening the unlicked lolli and said he was saving it for later.

He'd not even touched his lolli that was in the tiffin box as a treat. He said he was saving that for later .. but when I asked him if he's like a taste.. he took a few licks declared it's like strawberries, asked me to have a taste and watched as I said yum .. smiled and said, "And now put it back in the bag . I will have it later. Maybe tomorrow." I have never said there was a scarcity of lollis ever. He can have as many long as long as it is not during meal times. Such things were so easy to reason with and use logic and explanation ..

BUT SCHOOL?? Nothing is working and I am at my wit's end. So when I see those children laughing and going to school and those who cry when they are a home I feel troubled and sad and tearful that my child who is so bright and cheerful and happy and kind and so trouble-free in general finds it so repulsive going to school.

Yes I also know that had the school hours been short .. like 3 hours .. even 4 .. it would be manageable for him .. but he leaves at 8 and is home at 3:30. Gruelling for him .. however hard he tries .. his self control in the face of adversity cannot last that many hours.

I don't even know why I am writing in at this forum / blog .. I am not thinking of home schooling I don't have the skills to handle that. I do know my child will bloom in a boutique place with few children and more personalized care .. but that is not the setting in a country like India.

After today's battle we have decided that it is time to see a counseller .. or skip a year .. Alice and Mother I am so afraid of blunting this sharp and sensitive child .. He has already become withdrawn and lost interest in so much that gave him joy. He wakes up in the night crying into his pillow saying he does not want to go to school.

Suj said...

After today's battle we have decided that it is time to see a counseller .. or skip a year .. Alice and Mother I am so afraid of blunting this sharp and sensitive child .. He has already become withdrawn and lost interest in so much that gave him joy. He wakes up in the night crying into his pillow saying he does not want to go to school.

Suj said...

Since the word limit is there I had to break up my post into several Alice.

Any way so here is the update. While I wait today for a feedback from school about how they plan to help us in this process of getting him to go to school we have told our son that he only gets attended to on urgent basic needs ONLY till 3:30 pm [which is when he comes back from school on regular days] because everyone on the house is busy and dad is off to work and all the househelp is also busy and his nanny also cannot spend time with him .. No Lolli ice cream today [he asked if that was happening in the late afty] since he only gets that if he has fought hard and tried to work hard at getting to and staying at school.

As a result he has just quietly been moping around the house listlessly .. following me everywhere without bothering me except on occasion rubbing up against my body for some form of acceptance which I gave him with a stroke and a hug and a gentle reminder,"Baby see how busy mom is when she is at home .. you getting bored? That is why i think it might be more interesting in school .. at least you get to see so much stuff .. even if you hate lot of stuff there."

I hope to talk with him after 3;30 deadlock and help him see that even if it's a HORRID world out there you have to make your way in it and the only way you learn to do that is by being in it.

NO I am not convinced of that thought or that method at all that I just mentioned. BUT I am just this parent with a child who is so lost in the sea.

Suj said...

I forgot to tick follow up comments ..

Alice and Mother said...

Hi Suj,

I'm sorry you find yourself facing this dilemma with your child. I have just written an article about home schooling that you might be interested to read.

I'll post it here for you.

Good luck!

Alice and Mother said...

You can find the article here

http://whole-woman.com/

Quickening said...

Hi Suj, it sounds like you're at a loss to what to do to help your son and are limited in your options being in India.

Are there other smaller schools in your area that you could send your son to instead? Have you spoke to your son's teachers and principal about why he is so reluctant to go to school? Perphas he is being bullied or something.

I just wanted to say that it is OK for you to put your son's needs first and if that means giving him a year off while you explore other options like distance education schooling for instance or other schools in the area, then by all means do it. What our children most need from us, is for us to hear and acknowledge them, validate their feelings and be there for them. It might be a good opportunity to find out what is going on by sitting down with him and hearing him out instead of trying to get him to see things your way. Everyone makes their own way in the world differently, and school isn't necessarily the best place for every individual - we're all different!