It’s been a long day today. In fact it’s been a long week, month and year. It seems to be going so fast but also so slow if that makes any sense.
I have been battling what seems to be a bit of school avoidance with my soon to be 15 year old. Who would have thought?
I deal with other people’s children and this issue all the time. Never did I think it would be mine. I sit across the table from worried and tired parents who have tried everything, but they cannot get their child to school. After all it is more common than you think.
It starts slow, a day here and there. You try and be the understanding parent when they are exhausted, anxious and assessments are building up. One day becomes two, two become three and soon enough it’s a daily battle.
I’ve watched this slowly unfold in my house.
Why does it happen? I can think of a few things….
It’s Thursday, day 4, week 2. The first week of actual classes after a full on activities week. They are already exhausted after the year it has been and it is just compounding.
Yesterday it was her tummy….. it was sore.. she can’t poop…. so being mum I say; ‘harden up’, drink some cranberry juice, eat some pears and get on with it. Little did I know kids have a fear of pooing while at school? I mean when you got to go, you got to go. It’s natural.
Anyway we conceded in her coming in at morning tea. I was not happy but just did not have the energy for the fight. This was my first mistake.
Today, again… my tummy is sore… round and round we go. Two pears, prune juice this time, vitamin C and more. I mean how is her poo still not coming out??
Again, I don’t have the energy to fight or argue. I say come in at morning tea. She debates this. However, she comes in and has a lunch meeting. Then comes to me to ‘sign out’. If you haven’t guessed she attends the school I work at. I stand my ground and say no. You can last the rest of the day.
It’s not even 40 minutes later and I am texting my mother saying how she is at school and it’s a small win… only to find out the almost 15 year old is in the toilet also texting mum, or nana. In tears.
Off I set, in a huff, prepared for whatever is to come. Three toilet blocks later I find her. There is nothing like listening to the tears on the other side of a door when your angry and helpless. What’s going on after all? Is it her stomach? Is it now something bigger?
I sternly but lovingly coax her out. She hugs me…. now for those of you who know us, that’s a rare thing. She used to love hugs and cuddles but that changed a few years back.
It took me by surprise and I felt some of the anger slowly melt away. I did however stand my ground. She was either to go to the nurse or go to maths. Just like any other student. Home was not an option… tough love is hard sometimes.
Needless to say the bell rang, she’s home and it’s like nothing happened???
Tomorrow’s a new battle it seems!
I was speaking to my mum, who asked; ‘did you ever wag school?’ I thought about it for a while and I said ‘no’.
I was allowed home to do French by distance education but I never wagged.
Why? I thought.
Maybe it was because we had no choice. We feared getting in trouble from our parents, we feared being grounded.
Why has that changed? It seems that fear had disappeared along with manners and respect.
Maybe it was because that’s how I saw my friends. We never had Face time, snap chat, NBN or our own laptops. It was a Nokia something or other which had the best version of the game ‘snake’ on it and that was it. To send a text and get the letter ‘C’ you had to push the number one three times…… what an effort! It was easier to ring and have a conversation. Or to see them at school and make the most of it.
There was no discord, no teams or zoom. No instagram or games where you all log on and play at the same time. Our internet would never have coped.
For us, it was one desktop computer in the study. Never in our rooms. You had a time limit and if you did not do what you had to do, tough luck.
Homework was reading books, turning the pages, using the index, looking up words in a glossary and writing with a pen.
How it has changed. I am not opposed to the change but I do wish they had a chance to unplug. There is no need to use it everyday, all day for all their learning.
However, what can one do when that’s what the world is doing. It’s what they know, it’s how they learn. It’s so different.
They have no need to go to school, it’s all online after all. They can literally teach themselves if they wished, online.
So where to from here? Who knows?
All I know is I will continue to laugh, cook and be present for her as much as she needs. Tomorrow’s battle is tomorrow’s battle.
Tonight is tonight.