“Is there School Today ?” If Your Child Is Trying To Avoid Going To School, There Could Be Much More To It Than You Think
At one time of another, every child will have a day where they do not want to go to school. Some will pray that there was a school closing, and others will pretend to be sick. It is up to parents to figure out why their child does not want to go to school.
Reasons Why Children Will Want to Stay Home From School
- Being unprepared: One common reason that a child will ask “is there going to be school today”, or they pretend to be sick is because they are unprepared. They may have a test which they did not study for, or homework or a report due that they did not finish. Rather than get a bad grade, they will try to avoid school.
- Dreading a classroom activity: When a child is dreading a classroom activity, they may keep asking, “why is there no school today?” They may be required to get up and speak in front of the class, or maybe they are doing something in gym class that they believe that they cannot do.
- Social problems in school: Social problems are a common cause of children praying that there are school closings, or telling their parents that they are too sick to go to school. Of the three most common reasons that children try to avoid school, this is the most serious. If your child is trying to avoid school because of social issues, there is a very good chance that they are being bullied.
If you look in the dictionary, the definition of bullying states, “use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.”
This is the technical definition of bullying, however, it goes much further than that. A bully will physically abuse or mentally abuse their victims, or do both. Often times, a bully will try to get other people to bully their victim as well. Thanks to the invention of the internet and cell phones, bullying has evolved. In many cases, bullies will use electronics to bully their victims. This is called cyber bullying, and is just as damaging to the victim as traditional bullying.
Emotional Issues Caused by Being Bullied
Bullying and cyber bullying can have serious effects on children and teens. These effects can last well into their adult life.
- Anxiety issues
- Anger issues
- Self confidence issues
- Trust issues
- Drug abuse
- Alcohol abuse
- Illegal activities
Signs That Your Child is Being Bullied
- Poor grades: If your child was a good student, and suddenly their grades have begun to fall, there is a chance that they are being bullied. Rather than focus on their work in school, they may be focusing more on the fear and embarrassment of being bullied than they will on their school work.
- Avoiding school: As stated above, trying to get out of school is a very common sign that your child is being bullied. If they keep asking, “is there any school today”, or “are there any school closings today”, there may be someone that they are afraid of someone at school.
- Avoiding riding on the bus: The bus is a very common place that children are bullied. When a child is being bullied, they will try to avoid the bus ride. They may ask “is there a school delay today, so that they miss the bus, or they may ask “why is there no school today”, hoping that you will believe that there is no school, long enough for them to miss the bus.
- Avoiding going out with friends: If your child is no longer asking to go meet up with friends, there is a chance that someone is the group is bullying your child.
- Bed wetting: When younger children are bullied, they will often regress and begin wetting the bed.
- Change in appetite: Children who are being bullied will often lose their appetite due to the stress that they are under.
- Acting out: If your child has recently begun acting out, chances are something is going on to be causing this behavior. There is a possibility that they are being bullied.
If your child keeps asking if there is school today, if there is no school today, or if they are exhibiting signs that they are being bullied, it is important to act immediately. The longer that you wait, the worse the problem will be.
- Communicate: The first thing that you should do when you suspect that your child is being bullied is to sit down and talk with them. Often times, they may not be open to tell you what is going on. As long as they are aware that the lines of communication are open, there is a chance that they will open up to you.
- Get help communicating from another person: If there is someone else in your child’s life who they trust, such as an older brother or sister, enlist their help in finding out what is going on. They may be more likely to open up to someone closer to their own age.
- Contact your child’s school: If your child has told you that they are being bullied, it is important to contact the school immediately and let them know what is going on. The sooner that the school knows what is going on, the sooner they can intervene.
- Seek counseling: Bullying can cause long lasting effects that you child may not know how to deal with on their own. When you seek the help from a therapist, they may be able to help your child in ways that you cannot.
- Contact the police: If the bullying is at a certain level, it may be necessary to contact the police. If you child was seriously injured by the person bullying them, charges may need to be filed. If your child is a victim of cyber bullying, the police are the ones who can help to stop the problem.
When your child is being bullied, there are often physical signs. Your child may come home with a bruise or torn clothing. Also, someone may be seeing what is going on. When your child is being cyber bullied, there may be no physical signs, and chances are, nobody knows about it but them. Most cyber bullies use social media, text message, and email to bully their victims. These are all places that most parents are unlikely to look. If you want to make sure that your child is not being cyber bullied, there are a few steps that you can take.
- Know your child’s email password: If you can check your child’s email often, you will know if there is something going on.
- Know your child’s social network passwords: Many cyber bullies use social media as their platform. They may make comments on social media that are meant to embarrass and harm your child. If you have your child’s social network passwords, you will be able to see what is being posted on their page. If you do not want to go as far as asking for the password, require your child to “friend” you on the social network. This will give your child their privacy, however, you will still be able to see what people are posting on their page.
More and more often, there are stories on the news about children and teens who are bullied, and turn to suicide. Often times, the pain that these children are in is so severe that they see no way out.
Teaching Your Child to Be an Upstander Rather than a Bystander
When a child is being bullied, it is up to other children to step in to help. When a child steps in when they see bullying, they are no longer being a bystander, they are being an upstander. When a child is being bullied, and other children step in to help, they are taking the power away from the bully. When the bully has no more power, he is likely to back down.
Some children may not be able to step in and stop bullying. They may be afraid that the bully will begin picking on them as well. Your child can still be an upstander without coming right out and doing so. If you child sees bullying going on, they can quietly tell a teacher, the bus driver, the principal, or even you. By simply stepping up and letting someone know what is happening, your child is being an upstander.
If your child is often asking, “is there school today”, you should not dismiss their reluctance to go to school and chalk it up to laziness. There is a chance that there is an underlying reason.