Is Your Child Not Thriving in his/her Current School?
Every day in the wrong school is a missed opportunity for your child
There are many reasons that your child may not be thriving in school. Whether it is for a week or a year, a child’s unhappiness is of great concern to parents who want to understand the reason for their child’s difficulty and take some sort of action. If your child is struggling the reason can be academic, social, situational or emotional. He or she may have trouble keeping up with the class – either because s/he doesn’t understand the material or simply because s/he lacks a particular building block on which the next concept is based. You may be aware that your child has experienced a loss – of a grandparent, pet, or even a nanny. Children may be sad if they aren’t asked to sit “at the popular table,” or worse, are bullied. Or your child may be mismatched with a teacher causing him or her to lose motivation and become reticent about attending school. Of course there are more serious situations – learning differences or emotional factors – that are best addressed by a professional.
If your child experiences a change in behavior patterns – sleeping more or less, eating more or less, suddenly becoming tearful, fearful or angry, these are signs that your child needs attention. Start by talking to your child to see if s/he has any insight into what is bothering him or her. Many children may not want to discuss these things with their parents, so the next conversation should be with the teacher to see whether what you are observing at home is also taking place at school. As you piece together information, you may want to try out one possible solution or another.
Children who attend the wrong school often struggle in one way or another. An anxious child in a very pressured school may be a poor fit. A bright and ambitious child who is ahead of his or her peers may need more challenge. A shy child who is forced to take a debate class may find the rest of his or her school experience ruined. If a child is not an athlete in a school that emphasizes sports it will affect not only his or her experience on the field, but also in the classroom and in the lunch room. Typically parents don’t know much about their child when they select their first school. But as you see his or her strengths and weaknesses emerge, it is important to make sure that their educational environment supports their personality, learning style and interests.
If your child is not thriving in school for any reason, it may be wise to consider your child’s unique characteristics in view of his or her school experiences to see whether the educational environment inspires or depletes confidence. Making a thoughtful change which focuses on making the right match may be all it takes to see your child happy and productive once again.