How to address your child's school problems

Lexa Pennington's picture

At some point of being a parent, we will be faced with an issue with our child and the school they go to. Sometimes it’s in the form of a dreaded email from the teacher saying that your kid has crossed the line and that you must come in for a meeting, or the guidance counselor/principal will call to tell you that your teen has missed a week of school altogether, and you don’t have the slightest idea as to why.

Perhaps you’ve found out that your child’s grades have plunged to barely passing. What to do about it then? In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most common scenarios our children encounter at school and what we as parents should do during such times.

How to address your child's school problems

Acting out in school

Acting out in school is always worrisome, embarrassing, and frustrating both to the parents and the child. More than the actual misbehaviour, there’s the chance that he’ll make a bad name for himself. That the continued act as a troublemaker will follow him for the rest of his academic years. You can also feel blamed and judged by teachers and other parents for the way your child acts at school.

Kids act out when they feel left out or left behind. Ensure that your child can do the class work he is being asked to do. Being behind in class often creates frustration, boredom and anxiety. This can lead to some kids acting out verbally or physically.

Although for the most part, you can leave the disciplining for acting out to school officials. Understand that giving consequences is less important than knowing what your child needs to do differently when he or she acts out next time - and solving the problem that caused it the first time.

Dropping grades

Rule number one when your child’s grades are dropping: start investigating. In other words, you need to find out exactly what’s going on with your child. Is he or she having troubles at home or with other kids at school or with the teacher? Is he having a tough time adjusting to primary, middle school, or high school? 

You can schedule for a meeting with the teacher. Ask her for any ideas to help your child get back on track. A common issue for many kids is a lack of structure in their after school schedule, so ensure that there are sports or other clubs, too, but don’t forget to fit homework in at the end of the day.

And of course, talk to your child about what’s really going on. Have a frank chat with your child about his grades. Always ask your child about his day and show genuine interest; ask questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer.

Skipping school

If your child skips school by either skipping out of classes playing sick, you need to find out why. Is your being bullied, failing in grades, under the influence of substances, or does he have physical issues? Kids can develop anxiety around going to school, which can result in stomachaches or headaches.

With a child that is chronically skipping school, it’s oftentimes the result of an issue that has built up for some time. It’s oftentimes the end of a long string of problems. Thus, this is an issue that’s crucial to be addressed at an early stage. When your child’s grades start dropping or he’s coming home sad and moody, intervene ASAP.

What if it the problem with the school can’t be addressed? 

If you think that the issue goes beyond just your child’s own, then it could be the very school he or she is attending. It may be time to consider enrolling your child in another private school in Singapore or some top-tier international schools, like One World International School (OWIS) in Singapore. They offer holistic educational approach where balance, autonomy, and international mindedness are a focus – a new environment where your child or teen can get a fresh start. They offer international baccalaureate Primary Years Programme for early childhood to grade 5 and Cambridge IGCSE Programme for grades 6 to 10.

Note that education is your child’s foundation to a successful adult life, so it’s best to keep your options open. This is a big step, so tread lightly and consider other options first.

If you can get one thing from this article, it’s to keep the communication open and always stay interested in what’s happening to your child daily—it will pay off in the end. Best of luck!