Recently I got forwarded a very interesting blog post. It made me think about my own experience as a father, professional and as someone who tries to raise awareness about the importance of the child-centred approach and systemic work with the families.
Can you imagine a situation where a child is coming to school and soon before the end of the day, becomes anxious, agitated and uneasy? What would you assume? The same child refusing to go and get picked up by the parent, trying to stay at school and cries when it’s time to go. What would you think about this child, about parents or about the whole environment of this child? Would you be concerned?
Would you believe that something isn’t right and you would start to question parenting, looking for signs of an unhealthy relationship or some kind of abuse signs? You would investigate and you would inform Head Teacher about your worries, right?
Tell me, as a parent, would you worry if your son’s pal would refuse to go back to his house every time after visiting your house, would you have concerns? Sure, right?
Yet, from my personal and professional experience, I can see when parents are telling educational establishments that their child doesn’t want to go to school, is anxious about being in the class, is experiencing, so called, meltdowns before entering the school, we assume that parents of this child need to sort this out and we assume that if child is relatively behaving at school, it needs to be something wrong with parenting.
In addition when parents are telling us that they are very worried about their child behaviour, emotional state while in school, teachers tend to say: She/he is ok at school, we need to look into strategies at home. If attendance is getting worse, we look for an improvement plan for home. We’re assuming that parent’s need to be more strict, eventually we’re calling other agencies as Social Work or Support for Learning – what if the school is an issue here? Did you ever think about that?
Our education system is created to fit the needs of the average citizen, regular child, raised by today’s parents. What about children with additional support needs, with undiagnosed mental health issues, autism, PDA, ADHD, anxiety, childhood trauma. By not addressing those issues and how we are approaching those families, schools creating even more stress and trauma. It’s ok to see flaws in the parenting of our pupils and call Social Work, but we don’t see our system and our teaching unfit for every child. Maybe we should look closer?
Many times, when parents are expressing their concerns about child mental health, behaviour at home, schools says – “At school he/she is alright”. We don’t see any issues, right? Many schools don’t want to even dig deeper, taking for granted parenting flaws, some schools do not really believe parents and they think that some of them are making things up. Simple – We do not see any issues at school – this is not good enough. Time is passing, the child’s mental health is deteriorating and we are losing focus on what is important – our child wellbeing.
What can we do in these cases? What do you think? Shall we fight school and prove that it’s not our fault as a parent and ask the school to take us seriously or move our child to a different school? I’ve seen it so many times, this is wrong and this is sad and unfair.
Feel free to comment below. From the perspective of a parent, as well as a professional? Any thoughts?