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Daughter does not want to go to school

Everyday my daughter refuses to go to school. She is 10 years old. If we do get her to school she goes to the nurse saying she does not feel good. We took her to the doctor she is fine. At night she starts saying again "I am not going to school tomorrow". I realize there is a problem and have an appointment with a behavioral doctor next week. Should I force her to go to school until then or let her stay home?

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Asked by GJM at 10:07 PM on Nov. 7, 2013 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 1 (2 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • I'm assuming you've asked her why she wants to go to school and have gotten an insufficient answer from her.

    She has to go to school. This may be as simple as a power play. If so, btdt, and I'm so sorry. :( You don't "hear" that she's not going to school. You just move from one task to another without mentioning school. It's time to get dressed. I don't want to go to school. We'll deal with that later; right now we're getting dressed. It's time to eat breakfast. I don't want to go to school. We'll deal with that later; right now we're eating breakfast. And so on until you have her wherever she needs to be to go to school. Do not engage with her about going to school.

    You may need to pack her backpack for a while just to not have to fight one more battle.

    Good luck and I hope the behavioral doc can help.

    Answer by May-20 at 10:16 PM on Nov. 7, 2013

  • Don't let her stay home, maybe someone made her fell bad or maybe the teacher did. Avoiding things is easy when your young. When my dd was young I told her a story about little girls in other countries who instead of going to school they had to go to work, pan handling, brick making, sex slaves and in some countries they are just not allowed past grade 3. She was so shocked I also explained that this country we live in gives everyone an equal opportunity to learn and do what they love but if you give up in elementary then your giving up your chance at freedom. Show your child pictures of how unlucky kids are everywhere else and find out why she is doing what she's doing. Good luck.


    Answer by pinkparcel at 10:20 PM on Nov. 7, 2013

  • Force her to go to school. My kids pull that "I don't wanna" card every once in awhile. I tell them that it is part of life and there are things that I don't want to do but I do them anyway.

    What does she do when she is at home when she is supposed to be at school? I would make her life very boring. No tv, no video games, no computer. Nothing but laying in bed. Unless she wants to do chores.

    Answer by tempsingl3mom at 10:31 PM on Nov. 7, 2013

  • What reason does she give you for not wanting to go to school? I don't want to be sitting here proofreading this college composition book for fifty cents a page, either, but guess what? The bills have to get paid, so I'm doing it. We all have to do things we don't particularly want to do. I'd make her go till you get answers from the doctor, unless she's been threatened or is in some kind of traumatic or dangerous situation, which doesn't sound probable.

    Answer by Ballad at 10:45 PM on Nov. 7, 2013

  • Some things in life we have to do whether we want to or not. That includes school.
    I assume you have spoken to her teacher and the nurse and of course to her to try to get some answers.

    Answer by Dardenella at 10:55 PM on Nov. 7, 2013

  • This happened with our daughter. After the principal got involved, it was discovered that she had been bullied and had been threatened with death if she told anyone.

    Answer by NannyB. at 8:03 AM on Nov. 8, 2013

  • I'm glad you're looking into the situation & taking advantage of resources that can help.
    You can hold an expectation of going to school while still making room for all the feelings that come up around the issue.

    Not wanting to go to school can be many things. That "solution" reflects important feelings, whatever they are, and they matter. That doesn't mean you "agree" with the terms she's trying to set (her "solution" is a favored strategy to solve the issue OF the feelings) but that you care about the feelings & can understand the impulse to avoid the whole situation. You can validate & acknowledge all of it without "agreeing" to the terms.

    My instinct would be to hear & acknowledge the reluctance & aversion first, without jumping right to questioning "Why?" Of course, I would explore the reasons that go into the feeling, but I'd first prioritize the feeling itself. I'd rather avoid focusing her on defending & explaining.

    Answer by girlwithC at 5:32 PM on Nov. 8, 2013

  • My guess is that when you first started hearing her express reluctance or resistance, you responded by going right to the validity of her desire--pointing out how she had to go.
    That's typical but it puts the focus on a struggle between you. Another option is simply to acknowledge what she wants/doesn't want, or how she feels. (That she didn't want to go to school.)
    Making space for feeling that way can sometimes bring resolution to the situation, in itself. (My children have announced that they're "not going" to this or that, including school, and when I respond simply to the feeling, showing some understanding/acceptance for it, the issue has sometimes resolved itself!) My guess would be that there's something specific she's trying to avoid, so I'm not suggesting that acknowledging how she didn't want to go would have made the issue "vanish." Rather, I'm pointing out a response that doesn't automatically resist the feelings.

    Answer by girlwithC at 5:54 PM on Nov. 8, 2013

  • I agree with above, def sit down and have a talk with her.

    Answer by dragonmommy8 at 2:21 PM on Dec. 11, 2013

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