26 January 2012

How?

We are back at school.  One of my kids hates it.  Let's call the kid Pat, for the sake of this blog post, a non-gender specific name, and let's go with she as the pronoun to refer to Pat, just because.

So Pat is miserable.  She is a smart, kind, funny, generous, well-grounded kid, and she is miserable.  She loved homeschooling...or so she says now, looking back, never mind that some days, getting her to participate in a modicum of school-like activities was challenging to say the least.  But I knew this transition would be toughest for her, of all the kids.

So she's truly miserable.  It's only a little over a week into the new arrangement, so we can still give it time and still play the wait and see game.  But here's the thing.  She's really miserable.

And if there's one thing we moms hate, it's seeing our kid miserable, suffering, struggling to make sense of what seems like the senseless.  One interesting wrinkle is that a handful of folks at the school have said things to me -- not aware that Pat is miserable -- that kind of tell an opposite story, that she's doing better than she's leading me to believe.  That doesn't really surprise me, as I think I would exaggerate to make a point, were I in Pat's shoes too, and not all exaggeration is falsehood.  So there's that.

But again.  Miserable.  After school, we have the sobbing, the gnashing of teeth, the questioning: "Why did you do this to me???"  We have literally hours of homework to slog through.  We have devastation and despair.  We have tears and sadness and frustration.  

I've tried many, many words to soothe the misery and help the poor kid out.  Words are falling flat for now, and I'm left with only words for myself, a mantra that isn't quite working yet: Be patient.  Be encouraging.  Be hopeful.  Wait for my words of wisdom to sink in, to show themselves to Pat as true.  Be patient.  This too shall pass.

So now, My Dear Internetters, I turn it to you: How do you best support a child who is miserable, when you cannot change the situation creating the misery, or at least cannot take him or her out of it, and when the child in question is highly, highly resistant to your efforts?

I want Pat to know she is loved, that she can handle this situation, that we are here to help, that the school is here to help, that good things can come out of bad situations, that she and we will prevail.  I want her to face this challenge with all the support necessary to overcome it.

But how?

Help.  Please.  I need some rockin' good ideas.

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4 comments:

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

Oh gosh, we are struggling with our kindergartener and her perpetual complaints about school. I wish I knew an answer that could help us both out.

nicole said...

wish i could help but i have no stinkin' idea. if you figure it out though, let me know.

wifemotherexpletive said...

oh man. i find popcorn and hot cocoa waiting when the bus offloads, helps my kid feel like it might be all worth it. . . sometimes. i hate to pay him with food, but I do it all the time. or tv... because, in truth, i know he LOVES school, just can't handle the time committment just yet..and wants to be home playing with his figures like his lil' brother... hang in there, pat'll be okay in another week most likely... get her a friend and its all over...

Kristin Sherman Olnes said...

This is only a suggestion. Decide a reasonable amount of time for her to "adjust" to school, say the end of this school year? If she has given it a good shot and she is still miserable, and it works for you, perhaps you could offer homeschooling again with conditions that you both agree upon.