Why Some Tweens Hate School

Boy Having Problems With His Homework
A child who can't keep up in class will likely not enjoy the school experience. Slobodan Vasic/E+/Getty Images

The middle school years can be challenging, and even children who loved elementary school may now announce that they hate school. It's tough for a parent to deal with a child who really doesn't want to go to school. But if you want to help your child through this difficult time, it's important to understand why he or she dislikes school so much. If your child is among those tweens who hate school, consider the following possible reasons why.

They're Being Bullied

Bullying behavior escalates during the tween years, peaking at around sixth grade. Even popular kids can be bullied, or struggle with mean spirited classmates. Girls are just as likely as boys to face bullying or mean girls who pretend to be friends, but really aren't. Bullying is nothing to take lightly, and if your child suddenly announces that he or she doesn't want to go to school anymore, you should consider the possibility that bullying could be part of the problem. Signs that your child is being harassed include withdrawing from family and friends; losing belongings or having damaged belongings; bruises; emotional problems; and low self-esteem. If you suspect bullying has become a problem, try to get your child to open up to you, so that you can take the proper steps to stop the behavior.

Teachers are Disengaged

A good teacher is an inspiration. Unfortunately, parents and students know that some teachers are anything but inspirational, and some are downright incompetent.

If your child has a bad teacher, that could really put a damper on the school year. Nobody is perfect, but a teacher who insults students, berates them, or is incapable of teaching the classroom material is going to negatively impact your child's learning experience. Teachers who are disengaged, or merely hand out worksheets as opposed to actually instructing are equally as bad.

Addressing your concerns with the school administration can sometimes help, but sometimes a student may have to live with the problem teacher until the school year is over. If that's the case, try to assist your child by tutoring him on the side yourself, or by trying to engage him in the material, so he or she doesn't lose total interest. Equipping him or her with the skills needed to deal with a difficult teacher is also a good idea.

They're Struggling Academically

Students who aren't keeping up with class or who are struggling academically may also be less than enthusiastic about school. If your child is struggling, ask about after school help or tutoring. Start with your child's teacher, or ask the guidance counselor for tutor recommendations. A fellow classmate might be able to assist your child and may be less expensive than hiring a professional tutoring service. Or, consider helping your child with homework a few nights a week. You might be able to determine what's holding him back academically. If your child is still struggling, you might want to see if there are other issues at play, such as problems with friends, or issues at home. 

They Haven't Made Any Friends

If your child doesn't feel accepted at school, he or she is likely to hate going to school.

If your child is the new kid at school, help them find friends through after-school activities, or through school clubs or sports teams. Once your child has a few friends he or she can count on, his or her opinion of school may improve.

There's Too Much Drama Going On

Middle school is all about drama. When friendships go south, or when breakup drama complicates your child's day, it's going to affect the entire day. Gossip, mean spirited behavior, competition for attention and other goings on will add to all the drama. If your child has had enough, help him or her cope by minimizing usage of social media, limiting texting, and engaging in activities after school where he or she can escape all the nonsense.

They're Not Sleeping

If your tween isn't getting enough rest, that's likely interfering with his or her school experience.  A tired student can't keep up in class, doesn't have enough energy to get through the day, or even make the most of after school clubs or sports.

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