We have three boys, ages 10, eight, and six, who were attending school in a small town private school. Our oldest child has always been extremely bright. He enjoyed being popular and head of his class (and the class ahead of him.) This past summer, my husband asked the school to move him up a grade to keep him challenged. The school denied his request. So we moved all three boys to a Catholic school in a larger town 25 miles away. It has only been two weeks and no one is happy. My oldest is crying morning and night. He has headaches, stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhea. He is not making friends well and has two to three hours of homework each night. He begs us not to send him back to the new school.
A parent writes, “Our nine-year-old son has begun to express an intense dislike for school. In the morning, he will say he is not attending school. He may refuse to dress and will do so after our most determined insistence only. He cries at times. He has repeatedly expressed feeling tired. He may willingly agree to do homework, but does it poorly, or does not complete it without some kind of unpleasant episode.” Read what Dr. Sylvia Rimm advises this distraught parent, about helping the child to overcome hurdles now and in the future.
Dear Dr. Sylvia, I have an eight-year-old daughter, who does not like to listen. Her teacher says she talks too much in class, and I have taken away some of the things she likes to do, but she still talks in class. It started in first grade and continues. I have read many books about discipline and have not found the answer. She is usually a sweet child, but sometimes she really gets out of hand and throws tantrums like a two-year-old.
School days, school days. If they're not already here for you, they're just around the corner. In this new millennium, going back to school involves more than new notebooks, pencils and lunchboxes. As children, their parents and teachers become more familiar with the Internet, it becomes a useful--sometimes invaluable--tool for doing research and homework. "We think the sites will be a big help for the kids' school work this year," said a New York mom of three.
Dear Dr. Sylvia, My ten-year-old son hates doing his homework and drags it out. If I don't push him, he won't do it, and when he does, it looks sloppy. His teacher estimates that each assignment should not be more than an hour. He takes forever, and it looks messy. Should I make him sit there before dinner and after dinner until it's done? I work full-time, so I'm not at home with him and his dad to make sure it's getting done. Any tip would be helpful.
Exclusive to WholeFamily.... QDear Dr. Sylvia I'm having a hard time with my twelve-year-old son. School has been in session for about two months, and he has five F's right now. He will not do school work or homework. He has already been suspended from school for three days because he took a bullet to school. He lies all the time. He hits his sisters a lot. I am a single parent, and I don't know what to do with him. A It sounds as if you're having a serious problem, and you could use more help than I can give you here. If you weren't firm enough with your son many years ago, it could be that he won't accept limits when you try to set them now.
QMy eight-year-old daughter doesn't want to go to school. For the past few months, she has said she doesn't feel well a couple of times a week and I let her stay home. She complains of stomach aches but the doctor says there's nothing wrong. Now she's fallen behind and has missed a lot. She likes her teacher and has friends. I don't know if this means the school isn't good or there are other problems. What do you suggest? A Guest expert Silvia Silberman, MA, answers: You may think of a tummy ache or other body pain as a way of expressing pain, preoccupation or anxiety that is otherwise difficult to express.
Dear WholeMom, I almost felt like I'm reading my own concerns about my almost twelve-year-old when I read the question about the "Unmotivated son." His teacher has advised that he will be failing his three major subjects on the next quarterly report card. His reading score in February of 99 is going to 40. He also was tested for ADD and learning disabilities, but very simply is not motivated. While his teacher has been fairly flexible, the simple fact is that success in school is measured by good grades and if you are in public school, there is very little room for special attention.
AD(H)D (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) has been a blessing for our family. We are better parents, all our children are successful in their own way, and we are able to be a therapeutic foster family. I sometimes wonder --if we didn't have AD(H)D, would we be so fortunate? There were the years of guilt, frustration, hopelessness, and many other emotions. My son, Ray, was difficult, moody (including drastic mood swings), very unhappy and by age six wanted to "make himself dead." We sought help with different professionals, agencies, playgroups - you name it.
At a recent national convention on ADHD, one speaker suggested "good science" argues that ADHD is entirely a pathological condition, a genetic illness, and that there is no value whatsoever in a person "having ADHD." Anybody who may seek to offer hope to ADHD children or parents was accused of telling "stories," the citation again being "good science." The speaker suggested that ADHD is purely a genetic defect; the neo-Darwinist theory being that sometimes genetic problems are simply "weaknesses in the evolution.
Dear WholeMom, Ever since my first daughter was born there was such a special way about her. She was different. I was delighted by her every move. I knew in my heart that she was gifted. By the time she was two, my sister and other relatives and professionals would comment to me about how wonderful she was. When she toilet trained herself, learned her colors, numbers, ABC's, and words to more than 30 songs by the age of two, I simply beamed with joy over her accomplishments.
Q: Dear WholeFamily Counselor, Hi, my concern is of my five-year-old son. I really think he has panic attacks and I don't know how to deal with this. It started about a month and a half ago at preschool. He said he was scared to be there alone without me anymore and wouldn't stay. I haven't been able to leave him there without a fight ever since. Nothing has happen to him there he just started fearing me leaving him. He gets hysterical and inconsolable. He also says that he feels like throwing up and that his throat feels funny.
Yes, the time has come. It seems like only yesterday you were holding an infant in your arms and the thought of sending him off to school seemed, oh, decades away. But as hard as it may be to believe, your son or daughter will soon be three and the big decision needs to be made. Now is the time to choose your child's first formal educational experience - PRE-SCHOOL! A child's pre-school experience lays the foundation for future learning.
Dear WholeMom, Why isn't there a test to determine readiness for kindergarten, instead of these magical dates that are law? I have a son whose birthday is 19 days past our state cutoff date, and I feel that he's ready for kindergarten now instead of waiting a year. He thinks he's ready as well, and has been pushing the issue. He has met all of the requirements listed by the school district, such as knowing his ABC's, counting to 20, starting to read, dressing himself, etc. and is extremely bored in preschool. He even does 1000 piece puzzles and uses my home computer to entertain himself! He's been in daycare since 3 months of age, so he's used to socializing.
We're expecting our second child soon. How can we best respond to our five-year-old's questions about how the baby got there, inside me!? Guest Expert, Lisa Kainan, MA, answers: When parents explain sex and birth to their children, they should take into account the child's level of understanding and allow the child's own curiosity to be a guide as to how much detail to give. The most accessible explanation will be one that is just one level above the child's current level of understanding. This level can easily be determined by directly asking the child some simple questions about where babies come from. Children can easily sense a parent's embarrassment or anxiety concerning this subject.
Q: Dear WholeMom ,My six year old daughter refuses to do her work at school. I have tried everything from rewards to limits on her activities. We have talked about it, we have agreed on the reward/limit system to no avail. I'm afraid she'll have to repeat kindergarten. At Wit's End WholeMom Answers: Esther Boylan Wolfson, Director, Early Childhood Development Center Answers: Dear At Wit's End, For some reason your daughter is not functioning in her kindergarten class. Without knowing anything more about her or your family situation or the class she's in, I can only suggest that you check all of the following: Is her kindergarten a well-run program in which the other children are functioning well and are happy? Is there anything going on at home that might cause her to be unhappy and to exhibit that unhappiness in school by not doing her work? If she's in a good program, has a warm, caring teacher and everything is fine at home, you should check the following: 1.
Some Tips To Help Your Child (and You) Start The School Year Off Right! Entering pre-school is a big step for children and their parents. Whether this is your child's first time away from home or whether your child is used to a babysitter or a daycare experience, a child's first experience in a formal educational setting is an important first step towards a lifetime of education.
Dear Dr. Sylvia, I have a five-year-old daughter who just started kindergarten this year. Her behavior lately has been way out of line. She had a problem in preschool with respecting authority, and it has now carried over into kindergarten. We have had a problem with it at home as well. She talks back to adults, and she yells. When we tell her that she will have privileges taken away if she doesn't do what she's been asked to do, she says she wants her privileges taken away. Whenever she does something for her dad or me, or if I've asked her to do something for her baby sister (one year old,) she always asks what she will get in return.
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