“Thank you for sending your son to school,” a principal told me years ago, when I saw him about an issue my son was experiencing.
“Many parents don’t send their kids to school when things are too hard.”
This was from a highly-experienced educator, whose judgement I trusted completely, from much experience in dealing with him.
A guide on how to talk to adults, and kids with anxiety. Post continued below.
I know what he meant – school avoidance is a real issue for many families. I know lots of parents who’ve let their kids have a few days away from class because they were struggling with peers or their workload.
This principal was a man who really believed in ‘grit’ – hard work, and not giving up. Determination. Facing fears. What he said to me was totally appropriate in that situation,
and I really respect those life lessons.
But another life lesson that’s equally important is knowing how to take care of your emotional needs. Which is why I’ve always let my son have mental health days.
The most recent one was earlier this term. He doesn’t mind me sharing this as he’s very open about the need for emotional well-being. He’s not ashamed of it, nor should he be.
Normally a kid who loves school, he told me he didn’t want to go that day. He was feeling flat. There was no test, no lesson he was avoiding. So, I said he needed to go, and once he was there, he’d feel better.
I watched as he walked into the school gates that morning. He turned around and came straight back to the car.
“Mum, please don’t make me go today,” he said.
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