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My Child Hates School: What Parents Can Do?


Does Your Child Hate School?

It’s not uncommon for a child to say, “I hate school!”  This comment may come after a child has successfully completed several years of school with no complaints.  So, what happened?  Why does any child come to the point where they claim that they do not want to go to school?  This article reviews some of the reason why children all the sudden hate school and what parents can do to change the child’s opinion.



Why Some Children Hate School

  • The child has no friends.
  • The child feels that he or she does not fit in.
  • The child is being teased or bullied.
  • The child finds it difficult to socialize.
  • The child is not experiencing success in academic classes.
  • The child is bored.
  • The child has a medical condition such as anxiety or depression.
  • The child does not feel connected to at least one school staff member.
  • The child’s parent(s) seldom say positive things about school.

What Parents Can Dodv1940034 To Help

Talk with your child.  Really listen!  Ask your child to name the best parts of their day and the worst parts.  Ask your child to: name some friends he or she eats lunch with, who their favorite teacher is, who teases, who praises.  Be objective and caring.  Try to avoid putting words in your child’s mouth.

Set up a meeting with your child’s teacher, school counselor or school social worker.  Discuss: Grades, behavior, friends, medical concerns and your child’s school history.  Keep the meeting positive!  Seek advice and help.  Avoid putting the teachers on the defense.

Is your child in middle school or junior high?  These are typically difficult years in school for many children.  Girls are often more verbal and begin to play “odd girl out” game.  Boys are generally more physical and grab, pull and laugh at each other.  Begin to recognize developmental stages as your child goes progresses through school.  The school counselor or school psychologist will help you with more information.

Let your medical doctor know your child’s concerns.  During your child yearly physical exams, let your family doctor or pediatrician know that your child “hates school.”  Your doctor may provide more helpful solutions.

Finally, it’s important for parents to speak positively about school and the importance of education.  If you had a bad experience attending school, try to keep it to yourself unless your child can learn something positive from your experience.

Go to: Ask A Counselor if you have more specific questions regarding your child’s school experience.

Discussion Topics:



  • Rosa says:

    My child is in the 4th grade & has been giving me problems since last year i’m a single mother with 4 kids 14 yrs. to 5
    & my 10 yr old does not want to go to school ????!!! im just really lost & upset with myself cause i dont no what iu did so wrong i ask my self everyday for 2 yrs its bringing alot of problems to the family both inside and out & i just dont no where to begin??
    Please can someone help?

    • Scott says:

      Hi Rosa:

      As a school counselor, I have worked with hundreds of children and families over the years who shared your same concern; “My child does not want to go to school.”

      Here are some thing that you should do:
      1) Contact the school counselor or school social worker, or school principal and ask for help. The fact that you want your child to be in school is important. The school person who you talk to will meet with you and your child to discuss:
      a. why your child does not want to be in school: grades, bullies, teasing teachers, not friends etc.
      b. come up with a plan to help you get your child to school: own alarm clock, make-up time for missed school, incentives or rewards.
      c. Doctor referral: see a medical doctor to make sure that you child is medically safe> Assess: ADD/ADHD and other medical conditions.

      Read the following ScottCounseling article: My Child Hates School: What Parents Can Do?
      School Anxiety: Questions & Answers From A Counselor

      If this does not help- Go to Parenting Counselor or Ask a Counselor in ScottCounseling and send me a specific email to:


  • Donna says:

    My son is in 6th grade with ADD and Hates school…He is made fun of because he already has a Mustash coming in..He will sit for Hrs not doing a bit of his homework and is now failing all of his subjects…He is in Special needs classes but they are not helping..
    He now lies alot and sneaks play time in the middle of the nite..
    We are at our wits end…
    Please Help!!!!

  • Scott says:

    Hi Donna!

    Do not give up. There are answers to your questions. 1) Yes, kids are teased and we can bully proof them by using the following tips provided in the “Bully” category of ScottCounseling. Your son’s school counselor can help you too.

    Speacial needs children are not dumb! …they do, however need modification made in their school curriculum. Ask to have an “IEP” meeting. An IEP stands for Individual Education Plan. From there, meet individually with his special education case manager.

    For ADD, the best investment that you can make comes by the way of Total Focus program presented to the right of this reply. Also go to the ADD/ADHD category of ScottCounseling for tons of information.

    Donna, contact me through “Parent Counselor” (click on the red life saving tube or Parent Counselor).

    Good Luck!


  • Anna says:

    My daughter is in Grade One and she is school phobic. She is bright and does well academically. She is a very sensitive child, very artistic and a bit lost in the clouds sometimes. She is also very astute. She gets tied up into knots each Sunday, knowing that school is ahead of her and begs not to go. There are no issues of bullying, just the normal grade one girls not getting along sometimes issues. We have spoken with her teachers, whom she likes very much, she has gone for counselling, because of issues of loss that she is dealing with also, due to the sudden deaths of a number of close family members last year. She is currently in an excellent private school that really does try to work with each child individually. She has a few friends, but is an only child and is a bit of a solitary person. Her counsellor hasn’t really talked to me about anything that she talks about in her sessions. Maybe I should get a different counsellor. She has been going for three months now, twice a month, but no improvement on the hating school. I hate to see her suffer, but other than home school, which I don’t want to do as she needs the social interaction, I don’t know what to do.

  • Scott says:

    Dear Anna:

    To Help you, click on the orange life tube (Parenting Counselor) at the top of this page. I have some ideas that have worked for other school phobic (or school avoidance) children to share with you.


  • Tammy says:

    My daughter is in 5th grade. She says she hates school. If she applies herself, she does very well. But she does not do that often, saying she does not care. She has never brought home a d or f on her report card, but she has brought home alot of those on tests and homework. I have met with the “old” principal (have a new one starting this year), her teachers, and the counselor. Since she gets c’s and a few b’s, they don’t understand my concern. I check her homework, and she always has to redo it because she only reads half of the directions. She rushes to be the first done with homework and tests. When she is made to redo it, and take her time her grade goes from an f to an a. How can I get her interested and care about her school work?

    • Shelley says:

      Why is there no answer for Tammy? I have a daughter the exact same age and grade and problem.. Shelley

    • Oma says:

      My daughter in 5th grade has the same problem. Please answer Tammy’s question.

    • CC says:

      Same here… Our 5th grade girl is very bright, loves to sing, act, dance, and play. She is homeschooled due to financial and the nearby public schools not being good, and detests academic work. She is smart- unfortunately her k-1 years were not the best due to highly stressed out teachers. Her head is sometimes in the clouds and often times needs to repeat the problem or question until she gets it. I need help.

      PLEASE give us answers!

    • CC says:

      Oh one more thing: she cries when she has to do school work. She says she hates it and literally cries tears. She is sensitive and cries easily, yet is so strong in personality at other times.

  • Nilam says:

    Hi Scott

    i am very concerned about my sister she only last week started secondary school and after her first day she came home and she sad she doesn’t want to go school anymore. the next day she was determine not to go in somehow we had persuaded her to go. after that she was fine and this week it has started again she does not want to go school. no one is bullying her she has friends that are in most of her classes so i don’t understand why she doesn’t want to go to school.

    i am stuck and i need help i feel very upset about this as she used to love going primary school and the fact is she was looking forward to going secondary school.

    please give me some help and advice.

  • Scott says:

    Dear Concerned Sister:

    Some students (as they enter high school) feel overwhelmed. The thought of “every class counts,” going to homecoming, driver education and “high school is tougher than middle school,” raises most students anxiety level.

    Here’s what to do: 1) be reassuring- tell her to “give it time.” 2)email one of her favorite teachers and share your concerns. This teacher will keep an eye on her, 3) help your sister with the thought…”you do not have to do everything all in the first year.” Say, “Not everyone has a boyfriend, has to go to Homecoming, has to get involved with everything…has to be perfect!–slow down.” 4) Encourage her to see her school counselor. This is not psychiatric stuff; it’s problem-solving for an overwhelming feeling. School counselor are very helpful toward the needs of first year students.

    Thanks fo r being a caring sister!


  • Anna says:

    My 16 year old son hates school. He is always late in school and willing to take the consequences. He used to do well in every subject but not anymore. He is not a big homework fan at all, and that’s a problem becuase they grade student toward their homeworks. In every subject, he lost 20% of his homework grades. He can do very well in his quizes, but 20% that he lost could fail him. He used to have a few good friends to hang out with, but not anymore. I asked him, he told me that he just don’t want to hang out with them anymore. He spend most of his time placticing quitar and music by himself. He has good behavior overall. He even talks about going to college but he seems to lost interest in his school. I’ve met with his couselor numbers of time, she doesn’t seem to help much, considering his school has average 30 students in each class. I think may be he feels that he doesn’t fit in. I don’t want him to get to the point that want to quit school.

    • Denise says:

      Anna, Your description is my son. I am at my wits end. How is you son doing now? How did you handle him then?

      • Ellery says:

        You’ve described my 16 year old daughter perfectly! She’s so creatively talented, but is barely passing. There doesn’t seem to be a positive or negative way to motivate her. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Elsa Flores says:

    My Child is 4 years old and he gets really upset in the morning and does not want to go to school. He is really mad in the car. I have to carry him out from his booster seat and then when we get to the class he is perfectly fine. He is happy that he is at school. Help

  • mom of three says:

    Hi Scott,

    My son is in 8th grade and wants to be home schooled. He has a IEP but also is a awsome basketball, and breaks high school records for track. I have talk to the school counseler and teachers about the other kids calling him a gay and butt banger! ugh We dont know what to do we have been these are nice kids and they are just joking?? He doesnt like joking he does not get dumb humor. Help!!

  • Deanna says:

    My 11 year old refuses to go to school. He literally makes hisself sick in the car at the bus stop. H e has talked to Councelors at school but nothing is helping. I dont know what to do. I cant do this for 6 more yrs. I never had trouble in school. My daughter is in 7th grade and excells at school. What to do?

    • rosemary says:

      my daughter hated secondary school when she first started and then seemed ok then she got a virus and complained of tummy aches and then she got depressed and is having weird thoughts i.e. that she hates family members when really she loves us – it hurts her to have these thoughts – i am terribly upset as she is so loved and i want her to be back to her happy fun self – her eyes dont smile anymore – help

  • Terri says:

    Public school is not for everyone. Has anyone here thought of homeschool? It’s not what it used to be, there are so many more resources out there now.

  • Dave says:

    I Hate School

  • Chandra Taylor says:

    My 13 year old daughter hates school. She has ADHD and has been taking Adderall XR. She hates school. She is extremely quiet and gets mad in front of because of her quietness and the way she looks. She has been called ugly and skinny, etc. My daughters grades are up and down. I have no idea how to help her. Please help!!!

  • Stressed out mother says:

    I have a 7 year old son that is in the first grade. He has a high IQ score and complains of being bored in school. He cries each morning when it’s time for school saying he’s bored and hates school. We have had the meetings with teachers, principals and counselors and things will change for a few weeks then it’s right back to the same old same old. He says he doesn’t feel challenged enough and that the work is too easy for him. Please help, 11 more years of this is too much.

  • Leslie says:

    Hi Scott:

    Well, can you believe I am a mom who is a teacher, with similar problems as above. My daughter is 10 years old and in the 5th grade. She no longer likes school. This is very sad for me to see her so upset, and worrying about what the next day will bring her.

    Also, my husband was diagnosed a year and a 1/2 ago with a chronic illness that has put us on an emotional roller coaster. My child has a lot on her plate, and I have been very open with her teacher. One of the reasons that I chose her teacher was because she had experienced losing her own father at the age of 10.

    I teach Special Ed.,in my child’s school, and thought that it would be a great incentive for my daughter to join as a peer buddy to a special needs child. The whole idea was: She must keep her grades up, and complete all of her work. My daughter came to one practice, and then her teacher told me that she didn’t want my child to miss Science, due to the Science TAKS…my child was devastated! She cried and cried, and she stated, “I am angry, and that this was one thing that I really wanted to do, to help others, and it was taken away, there is more to life than school work and homework.”

    Now my daughter says that she is overwhelmed with all of the schoolwork and projects that are due, and doesn’t feel she has a reason to try. She has been having panic attacks and has been pushing her fingernails into her arms to hurt herself. It is very difficult to calm her down. When we do get her calmed, she opens up and talks to us, and from all that she says, I can understand her frustrations.

    Tonight, just the mention that it was time to take her shower, started the anxiety.

    My husband and I are going to talk to the teacher, but not knowing how this will all work-out, what would you do next? How would you approach the teacher?

    Thank you for your time!

  • Elissa says:

    A couple months ago, my 7 year old daughter suddenly started not wanting to go to school and there’s a lot of tears in the mornings. She first started telling me that she bored and she didn’t want to be away from home for so long. Just a few days ago, she told me that there’re a few boys who always follow her around and bother her. I’ve talked to the teacher and the teacher thinks she’s just making these excuses up to get my attention and she doesn’t think that it’s necessary to separate her from the boys since she needs to learn how to face the problems and not hide from it. The teacher also thinks that she tries to make me worried so that I’ll give in. I’m really confused and don’t know what to do. How do I know if my daughter is making up excuses or if there’s really a problem at school? She has also started to become very attached to me as well. I also notice that she’s been quite emotional lately. She cried the other day while watching TV because one of the characters magically turned small and his friends couldn’t find him. She’s never done that before. What can I do to find out what’s going on in her mind?

  • Eddie says:

    Hy am a teenage who hate school I don’t know why I hate school but I just hate going to school,I need help what can make me love school

  • Deborah says:

    My 5th grader hates his class. He attends a private Catholic School which only overs 1 classroom per grade. He use to love his school and class until this year. He says the boys are mean and don’t like him. Everyday he tell me he doesn’t want to return to school. He gets straight A’s and gets along with everyone in other grades but hasn’t made the connection with his classmates. He tells me they hate him.

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