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How to help when your child hates school

It can be normal for kids to dislike school from time to time. When this feeling is persistent and causes significant stress for the student or the family, it may be time to seek professional help.   

There are several common reasons a child may dislike school: 

  • An underlying learning difficulty may cause the student to struggle to keep up. He or she may avoid that subject or stop trying.
  • Anxiety about academic or test performance, especially when there is an emphasis on standardized tests.
  • Bullying is an increasingly common problem for kids. This can happen in school and through social media, text messages and online communications outside of school hours. Cyberbullying can go unnoticed by those entrusted to care for a child's well-being at school.

If your child dislikes school, try to learn why. Talk with your child. It may also be helpful to talk to siblings, especially if you are having a hard time connecting with the student who dislikes school. Siblings may have noticed something during their time together, either at home or school. Ask your child's teacher about behavior at school, and alert them to your concerns.

Talk to your child's teacher or health care provider if you suspect that a learning difficulty may be involved.

If bullying is suspected, work with your school to ensure that your child is safe and the bullying stops.

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between a temporary frustration with school and an actual problem that needs to be addressed. Think about how it is affecting your child. Is he or she more tearful? More quiet? Socializing less? Quicker to anger or expressing violent behavior? Are grades dropping dramatically? These are all signs parents should step in, learn what is going on and seek professional help.


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