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1st grader suddenly doesn't want to go to school - Page 2

post #21 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by pianojazzgirl View Post
The teacher refused to let him go and he wet his pants. He spent the rest of the school day in wet pants! My friend was irate and got in touch with the teacher and the principal.
i am sooo glad she did. dd has had a few accidents. they are taken to the office immediately and given a change of clothes. if they have none the parents are called. immediately. the child waits at the office.

i cant imagine keeping a child in wet clothes the whole day even for a minute longer.

in both the schools dd was in they knew accidents were normal and always treated it with much compassion.
post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by LightToast View Post
I'm hoping getting him to school tomorrow morning will be stress free. I sure do love this sweet little boy and I want him to be happy and enjoy his time learning at school. I know this is a period of great growth for him and I feel like he's on the cusp of something wonderful, yet I must tread delicately, carefully through these uncertain times with him.
I think you're doing great. I agree that as it's continuing to escalate it is a good time to get the school more involved and see what can be worked out about the bathroom, etc. It does sound like it's a bit more than usual adjustment woes in some ways.

But really - you're connected and listening and working for a solution. I think that is really the best you can do right now.
post #23 of 34
Thread Starter 
Okay, it's another day and he's still upset and refused to get on the bus, so I drove him in again. I offered to talk with his teacher if she was available this morning and that got him in the door. But his teacher was in a meeting. So, I wrote her a note and he gave it to her.

I feel very sad for him, knowing how hard this continues to be on him. I really didn't expect it. Hopefully, we'll get to talk with the teacher soon and that *might* help him feel better and provide more insight into what's going on.

It could be an option to home school, but I want him to give this school a fair shot before we make a decision that it's not a learning environment that works for him. I won't accept anything less than a place where he does thrive. However, only giving it a couple of weeks seems like a bit too early to draw conclusions or make a decision.

My gut is telling me to give it more time, but how much time should we give it?
post #24 of 34
Light Toast, you have my sympathy.

I would seriously consider moving him to a different teacher. I know how hard it is when you are new in a school, and don't know any of the teachers yet, and don't have friends and neighbors who can tell you who are the good ones and who to avoid. I would talk to the principal, and see if he/she can suggest a teacher that might be a better for for your son.

If that's not an option, or if it's not so much a clash of philosophy with the teacher, you definitely need to get the lines of communication opened up with her. DH and I used to walk our sons into the building so we could say Hi to their teachers in the morning, through 3rd or 4th grade. Email can be a fantastic way to keep in touch with a teacher, at her convenience. Meetings during her prep time or after school are also critical. You need to foster the feeling that you, the teacher, and the school are working together to do what's best for your son.

For now, don't get too excited about "learning environment". All of the kids are in transition, and I'm guessing that your ds gets a lot of learning opportunities at home. It's not like he's trying to learn calculus at this point - he'll easily catch up, once he's more comfortable in the classroom.

One of my sons had social issues in 6th grade. His teacher felt very strongly that at that age, working on his social skill was far more important than academics. I would think this would be just as true in 1st grade.

Your son may need more sleep, now that he has a more rigid schedule during the day. We are very careful (even now that my sons are in high school) to go to bed about the same time and get up about the same time - even on weekends - to stay in a good sleep routine.

I applaud you for getting him in the door every day. I know it's a LOT harder to force your baby to do something that's making him cry - the easy thing would be to let him stay home (at least in the short term). Hugs to you for doing what you feel is right, even though it is very difficult.

Keep us posted!
post #25 of 34
Thread Starter 
When DS came home Thursday from school he was gushing about what a great time he had at recess. And, yesterday was better getting out the door to go to school. There was no crying, but still some reluctance. I think DS is going to be okay though. He seems to be starting to feel better and more comfortable at school.

DH and I had a talk with him this morning about what his fears were and really tried to help him understand how to handle situations that come up, i.e. having to go to the bathroom at lunchtime and what to if no one acknowledges him when he been raising his hand to ask to go. We told him he NEEDS to just get up and go. There are always exceptions to rules, especially if the lunchtime aides aren't paying attention to the kids who've been raising their hands to get permission to go to the bathroom. If they reprimand him for breaking a rule then we need to know about it right away. Taking care of necessary bodily functions supersedes the lunch time "must stay in your seat" rule.
post #26 of 34
I would really want to know what is going on. But chances are, your child would have a hard time verbalizing it. Plus, if the teacher or some other staff member were being mean, your child might feel it is his fault and not tell you.
post #27 of 34
I think you guys continue to do great. (Hope that doesn't sound smarmy.) Have you been able to talk to the teacher about the rules?
post #28 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks, GuildJenn. We been having ups and downs. The "downs" take place in the morning before school. And, the "ups" are when DS gets home from school. Yesterday he said he had a good day, but then today it was the same trouble again in the morning, DS was crying, resisting, and just generally upset about having to go to school all day.

I talked to the school counselor yesterday (at the request of DS). She was very nice, but that's about it. She said she is going to meet with him tomorrow (she's not there today). I'm not sure how much help she will be. She said that she's got several K and 1st grade boys dealing with the same or similar issues. Hmm, I wonder why it's just the boys?? She said that girls do not typically have this problem.

This school counselor believes that little boys tend to be very attached to their mothers and that is why they have a harder time with going to school. (FYI, I don't really believe that theory) I told her I think DS is having issues because he fundamentally doesn't feel comfortable there and that's why he doesn't want to stay all day. (He has been away from me all day on other occasions and it has never been a problem for him.)

So now, I'll just have to wait to see what happens...these stressful morning routines are a real downer
post #29 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by LightToast View Post
This school counselor believes that little boys tend to be very attached to their mothers and that is why they have a harder time with going to school. (FYI, I don't really believe that theory) I told her I think DS is having issues because he fundamentally doesn't feel comfortable there and that's why he doesn't want to stay all day. (He has been away from me all day on other occasions and it has never been a problem for him.)
I've noticed this at my son's school on and off too. I think there are a lot more reasons for it than 'very attached to their mothers.'

To be a little stereotypical and noting that lots of kids don't fit their socialized gender norms, I think schools are set up with more activities that appeal to girls right now, with fewer opportunities to explore physically. I think the girls may be slightly ahead, which makes them feel successful in that environment. I think girls may be ahead in socializing and associate school with friends.

Which leads me to one thought I had - does your son have special friends at school? Would maybe having some playdates with a few kids make him look forward to seeing them there?
post #30 of 34
Thread Starter 
He does have a couple of special friends at school, but that doesn't seem to be enough of a good reason to look forward to going to school. I'm feeling sorry for him because he can't seem to find it worthwhile to go. But we are trudging along and taking it one day at a time

He's gone on play dates with friends outside of school as well and that just doesn't seem to be enough either. I sure wish I could be a fly on the wall at school and REALLY see how things are going because I really can't get how he has such an aversion to the environment.

As an outsider looking in, the people seem generally kind and professional. However, I cannot be certain of this because DS is so, so unhappy every single school day morning.

I find myself questioning all of this but can't pinpoint an answer. I've talked to some of the other moms and they have had similar experiences with their first graders not liking school. Does the resistance merely stop in successive years because they have just resigned themselves to the fact that school just isn't going to change for the better? I'm reminded of Elizabeth Kubler Ross and her stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

I sure hope this is not the case. I'm trying to remain optimistic during this marathon. He is such a smart, sweet kid. So where's the justification for all the woes? And what's it worth? I keep asking.
post #31 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by LightToast View Post
He does have a couple of special friends at school, but that doesn't seem to be enough of a good reason to look forward to going to school. I'm feeling sorry for him because he can't seem to find it worthwhile to go. But we are trudging along and taking it one day at a time

He's gone on play dates with friends outside of school as well and that just doesn't seem to be enough either. I sure wish I could be a fly on the wall at school and REALLY see how things are going because I really can't get how he has such an aversion to the environment.

As an outsider looking in, the people seem generally kind and professional. However, I cannot be certain of this because DS is so, so unhappy every single school day morning.

I find myself questioning all of this but can't pinpoint an answer. I've talked to some of the other moms and they have had similar experiences with their first graders not liking school. Does the resistance merely stop in successive years because they have just resigned themselves to the fact that school just isn't going to change for the better? I'm reminded of Elizabeth Kubler Ross and her stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

I sure hope this is not the case. I'm trying to remain optimistic during this marathon. He is such a smart, sweet kid. So where's the justification for all the woes? And what's it worth? I keep asking.
Those are really hard thoughts. I'm not sure we ever really get an answer to them either. It's very hard to find the right balance. Since you started this thread my son, who's 5 and has loved loved his Montessori for years, has started to have issues with it.

Working with the staff I think we've pinpointed that he's struggling with writing (not doing it, wanting to do it), and because they're preparing them for grade 1 they are expected to write most if not all days. They don't make him write but then when he doesn't he's upset his book doesn't have words written in it. (Don't ask me, I don't get it either, but it's clearly extremely painful for my kid.)

It is really hard to know whether to back off or continue or what. The advantage I have that you don't is that I really really trust this staff to be caring with my son, so even if we err on either side it will be done with respect, and that will have to do. But boy is it hard.

I know a lot of people believe homeschool is the answer and maybe it is but...I'm not sure that kids would have any way to resist homeschool either if it weren't working, because it's their parents too. If that makes sense? Probably it doesn't, Fri afternoon and my brain is fried.

I do know one thing for myself and my personality and it is that I have almost never liked anything for the first 3-6 months of it. Every change in school/classroom, going to university, going to camp (was more like 3 weeks...out of 4), going to Italy, every job I've had - the first while has been torture. I have figured out that I'm the kind of person who hates not knowing things. So any situation where I'm the new person, I just hate by default.

I'm really really glad that this hasn't stopped me from doing things. I don't feel that I went through denial and grief and all that, or that I do now. I just do not like that space of newness...but not enough to stop doing new things.

My parents were utterly clueless as to how torturous it was though and it would have made a world of difference to me if they had just listened and hugged me for it, you know?

Anyways that is rambly. I would myself try to pop in a bit, keep being caring and listening to him at home, and stay tuned in. I think if by November he were not at least starting to seem more at home I would, myself, start re-evaluating.
post #32 of 34
I've been reading this thread with interest (and tears). I am having very similar issues with my daughter (turning 6 in November), who started full-day K this year. It's a small private school that does play-based K--lots of outdoor time, free play, art, etc. I trust the teachers and believe it is a good environment for her.

Yet. Every day this week, drop-off has been horrible. Tears, clinging, pleading, all ending in teacher intervention (i.e., prying her off of me). It breaks my heart, and I'm a mess most days afterward.

As far as I know, there is nothing happening at school specifically that is bothering her. She has made friends, and talks about things she's done at school in a positive way. The teachers say she does great after I leave.

Still, it is so so hard to get through those mornings. Then, when she's home from school, she is really emotional--upset over small things that ordinarily wouldn't upset her, expressing anger (throwing things, sometimes hitting....but we're working on that). It wears me out.

I wish I had advice, but I have only sympathy. I will be watching this thread to hear, I hope, a happy update.

ETA: My daughter too is something of a perfectionist who hates surprises and the unknown. I have recently figured out that it is extremely uncomfortable for her to be what she considers incompetent at something. I'm sure this aspect of her personality plays into her current challenges. I just am feeling helpless about what I can do to truly help her.
post #33 of 34
Reading through this whole thread at once has me wondering about two things. First, I wonder if the main problem has to do with lunchtime. It sounds like the only issues your DS has specifically named happen during lunch. An awful lot of schools have either fairly crazy or overly controlled lunchrooms (or some weird combination of both, LOL), and either can be really overwhelming, especially for the little ones. Often the kindergarteners get a special time or space for lunch, and then starting in 1st they are in a big, crazier group. Is that the case at your DS' school? This could also explain the dread in the morning and happiness in the afternoon... he may be really enjoying the vast majority of his day, but dreading that half hour in the cafeteria could be making him not want to face the day each morning.

If that rings true, you might want to meet with his teacher and share your hunch. Ask if she has any suggestions for helping him feel better about lunchtime. She might be able to arrange a different seating arrangement or even eating in a different space for a while.

The second "wonder" I have is whether there is another way to get your DS to express where the dread is coming from, since he seems to mostly like school but be really, really worried about something. I wonder if a prompt like "I would LOVE going to school in the morning if..." or "Let's write a story about your perfect school and all the perfect things that would happen there" might help you uncover the problem more completely.

This is so, so hard! I remember going through (thankfully brief) periods of dreading going to school when I was a kid, and my heart goes out to you and your son as you work through this.
post #34 of 34
Thread Starter 
Stefka, I think you might be onto something with lunchtime being a primary stress point for DS. I'm still trying to get to the bottom of things though. However, the impression I do get is lunchtime is BOTH chaotic and overly controlled, just as you have stated. I will need to talk more about this with his teachers and the school.

He still won't take the bus to school in the morning, but we've tabled that issue for now since it really isn't much trouble to drive him in the morning. I asked him to let me know when he's ready to start taking the bus again. (He does take the bus home though)

There was a issue that happened in the classroom on Thursday that really upset him. The teachers have a "behavior system" and he had to move his clip onto "yellow". But he felt that it was unjust. This was the first time EVER that he had to move off "green".

According to DS, another classmate was tickling him while they were at their desks. When he told the classmate to stop tickling him, the teacher told him to move his clip to yellow because he was talking when he wasn't supposed to be. The students are supposed to get 1 warning before they have to move their clips, but he wasn't given one. He said he was too afraid to explain to the teacher why he didn't think it was fair that he had to move his clip to yellow. He said that even the offending classmate told the teacher that is was her fault and that he should NOT have to be on "yellow".

So on Thursday he was pretty upset when he got home from school because of that incident. I told him it was no big deal, but if he felt strongly about the lack of fairness he would need to explain that to the teacher.

While I'm not a fan of this type of behavior system, we need to work within those parameters because that is what the teachers have decided to use in the classroom. There are some special needs children in the class. I'm not sure how many, so they may have decided that it is useful to have a system like this. The problem is some kids, like DS, nearly have a heart attack about being on yellow. It ruined his day and Friday he was a mess going into school. He's super sensitive perfectionist kiddo.
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