“I don’t want to go to school”

April 15, 2008 – 8:59 pm

Find out how ChildLight help stop those tamturms at the school gates.Eddie was five years old and had been going to a local Primary School for several months. At first he had seemed keen to go, liked his teacher and enjoyed playing with his new friends. However, he had suddenly started to get very upset about Mummy leaving him and began worrying about going to school the night before. His Mum Katy was getting very upset as he cried all the way to school and screamed when the teacher took him by the hand and clung on to Katy as she went to walk away.

The school assured Katy that once she had gone he was absolutely fine but both she and Eddie were getting very stressed about the whole issue.

The counsellor was asked to help and invited Katy along to meet her in School to gather some background information.

Katy was a single Mum who lived alone with Eddie. She told the counsellor that she hated leaving Eddie in School as he obviously didn’t like it and that they both looked forward to the weekends when they could spend more time together.

After Katy had left, the counsellor collected Eddie from the classroom and he seemed bright and happy and was eager to play with the soft toys in the counselling room. They chose a toy to represent Mum one to represent Eddie and one to represent his teacher. Using play therapy over the next three sessions, the counsellor discovered that Eddie did like school but was worried about what happened to Mum when he was at school enjoying himself. He felt he ought to be there looking after her or that she might be lonely without him. Subconsciously, Eddie was picking up Katie’s sadness about having to spend the day alone.

The counsellor gradually helped Katy to develop some strategies to show Eddie that she had ‘grown up’ things to do when he was at school, things that she looked forward to. She joined a group for single parents, enrolled in a keep fit class and invited other Mums round for coffee and considered looking for a part-time job to keep her occupied.

On the way to school, she and Eddie only talked about positive things. If he started to get upset she showed him a card he had made with the counsellor featuring a smiley face. Once she arrived at school she left him with the teacher with a smile on her face and walked away without a backward glance. This was very difficult for her at first but she knew it was necessary for both of them. The teacher kept a record of every time Eddie came into school without crying and he was given a special certificate once he had managed to do this for a complete week.

After four weeks, things were fine. Eddie was able to recognise that he could enjoy school whilst Mum could enjoy her day too.

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