What Parents Should Do When Their Child Hates Their School

GIIS communications team
May 24, 2021
Parenting Tips
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Some children are excited to go to class. They want to see their classmates. They look forward to the lessons. But what if your children hate it? It's not enough to ignore the problem, thinking that your children will change their minds, that they will eventually give in and enjoy school. You need to address these issues, especially since your children might have a good reason for feeling the way they do. 

Here are some strategies you can try to help with the situation 

1. Don’t Change Schools

If your children hate school, the first thought that occurs is - let us change schools. While it is a good idea, if the child is bullied or in an environment not suitable to their mindset, the better idea is to engage with counsellors to understand the issues. Once you know why the child hates the school, take a decision to either address the issue or change the school. 

 If you are relocating to Japan, your children might have difficulty adjusting to a public or private school, especially if they don't speak the local language yet. That, or they could be having a hard time coping with the curriculum. Putting them in an international school in Tokyo that uses the same curriculum as your home country will make it easier for them to transition to a new learning environment. 

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2. Don't Assume They're Bad

Your children don't hate school just because they’re rebellious. Ditch that assumption right away. If you're coming in with that idea, you'll only alienate your little ones. Instead, find out what's causing the behaviour.

There are plenty of reasons why your children might feel like they no longer want to go to school. Find out. Ask them questions. Talk to them. Cultivate the kind of home environment that makes them feel that they can come to you about school problems. 

3. Be Understanding

Your children might be feeling overwhelmed with the lessons. Imagine having to cope with social media pressure, challenging academic requirements, friendship trouble, and more. These are some of the things that your children might be facing; now, you can add the challenges they encounter now that schools have transitioned to virtual classrooms

Children are dealing with a lot these days. Give them a break. Your children might hate going to school or their lessons. What you can do is to understand. Do not scold them or make them feel like their feelings aren't valid because they are. The trick is to help your children hold on to their calm, to what helps them feel alright. 

4. Look at Yourself

Most of the time, children take on whatever they see around them. They are excellent mimics. If your children are stressed out and don't want to go to their online classes anymore, listen. Their fears might not even be directly related to the school but you. Are they taking on your stress? Lots of parents, families, and communities right now are having a tough time because of the pandemic. 

If you just lost your job, feel overwhelmed with all the work coming in at a relentless pace, and can't seem to find the time to rest, then your children might be reacting the way they are because they take their cue from you. Start taking better care of yourself. If you are mentally sound and healthy, then that positively impacts your children's mental health, too. It could be a long way to eliminate their fears, which could be one reason why they are starting to hate school.

5. Listen to Your Children

When you ask them what is wrong, are you hearing what your children have to say? Don't ask them that question and be unwilling to hear that they're not okay. You need to be prepared for when they say, "I'm afraid," "I'm overwhelmed," "I'm tired," and more. If you're only asking because you already have a script in your head, that won't help your children. Be prepared to extend real assistance. 

When they say something, go over the words, the statements. Listen carefully, too, to what they might be trying to communicate between words. By being a listener, you can understand things; you can figure out what is holding your children back, what they feel, why, and how you can help. 

6. Talk to Their Teachers

Schedule a video call with your children's teachers. Ask them if your children have had any problems at work. Sometimes, children get into trouble, and they are afraid of what you'll say, so they hide those problems. But what if they're getting bullied at school? What if they have low scores because they don't understand the lessons or have difficulty coping with the online classes? What if they're sad because they can't spend the day with their friends in the way they used to before the pandemic happened? At GIIS Tokyo, we encourage one-on-one parent and teacher participation.


Your children might not tell you all about these things, but their teachers will. That's why checking in with their teachers is a must. Make sure the teachers know they can come to you if anything happens. 

7. Don't Use Threats

You're tired. And you still have a ton of deadlines to chase at work and home. Meanwhile, your children are saying they won't go to their next class. What do you do? While there are certainly plenty of ways to handle that situation, one thing is clear: what you shouldn't do is use threats. Using threats works in much the same way as taking their allowance or phones: they won't work in the long run. 

What you want is to fix the problem, not turn them away from you. By using threats, you run roughshod over their emotions. You don't find out what's wrong. That threat will only worsen your children's behaviour and lead to considerable gaps in your relationship as a parent and child. This instance could even stay with them for years. If you want your children to trust you, then don't use threats on them. 

8. Don't Lecture

When did you ever listen to a relative to change your eating habits because that's healthier? Never? Your children will probably do the same if you nag at them every day. That's not an efficient use of your influence on your children. Never lecture. Instead, understand them. Where are your children coming from? Show them you do understand, that you know what it's like for them. Understanding gets through them. 

Knowing what they're going through, that you aren't judging them or thinking badly about them, and that you're rooting them on will change their viewpoint completely. That can be the turning point for them. The change won't happen overnight, but you'll see how your children turn from hating school to being okay with school and later on, to having fun. 

Scoring high on their core subjects is good. But, don't force them to focus on their academics all the time. At GIIS Tokyo, we offer extracurricular activities that help children explore a range of passions and interests. Let your children experience that. Discuss the options, and help them build a healthy relationship with you along the way. Discovering that they love writing, playing sports, or the performing arts will help them cope with the changes that the current situation brings. That could go a long way to helping them love being in school again. 



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GIIS communications team

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