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Thursday, 22 March 2001

Son Unhappy with School Move

Written by  Sylvia B. Rimm, PhD

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QWe have three boys, ages 10, eight, and six, who were attending school in a small town private school. Our oldest child has always been extremely bright. He enjoyed being popular and head of his class (and the class ahead of him.) This past summer, my husband asked the school to move him up a grade to keep him challenged. The school denied his request. So we moved all three boys to a Catholic school in a larger town 25 miles away. It has only been two weeks and no one is happy. My oldest is crying morning and night. He has headaches, stomach aches, vomiting, and diarrhea. He is not making friends well and has two to three hours of homework each night. He begs us not to send him back to the new school. Our other children are adjusting better.

Can a small school educate as well as a larger one? Is our son not mature enough to handle the change? Is he pulling our strings? Will his grades go down? It upsets me to see my son so unhappy. My husband has a domineering approach to the situation. He keeps telling our child things will get better. It is so hard being a parent sometimes, and we want to be good ones. I enjoy watching you on the "Today" show and would value your expert advise.

-- Uncertain Parents --

AThe size of a school has little to do with its quality. Although it is difficult to see your child unhappy, you need to understand your son's problem better before you make a decision to change. A psychologist can assist you by evaluating your son's ability and skills and determining the basis of the problem.

One possibility for your son's unhappiness may be that he was ahead of all the students at his first school but isn't at his new school; thus, your son may be feeling the effect of competition. After being at the top, being in the middle may not be validating. He may be having problems coping with either the difference in school work, how he ranks compared to other students, or simply to the newness of the environment. Give him some time to adjust.

Dr. Sylvia

Last modified on Sunday, 03 April 2011 09:53
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Sylvia B. Rimm, PhD

Sylvia B. Rimm, PhD

Dr. Sylvia Rimm is a psychologist and best-selling author with a national following. She is the director of the Family Achievement Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, and is a clinical professor at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.

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