New school blues
How long do you let your child be unhappy before you decide to make a change? This single dad of three considers the options.
Maddi started at her new school in mid-Jan, by the end of the month, she had had it, and like a petulant footballer, she handed in a transfer request.

In the end she won, and we enrolled her at another school where some of her little buddies from her previous school had ended up. So far so good, after her first day at the new, new school she was all smiles and joy at having hooked up with Jack and Jill again. We are holding thumbs that she will settle in.

Yes, I know we should have held firm, and made her stick it out until she settled in at the first school, but I sensed that there was something that did not sit well with her there. She really hated it, and would talk about it at night before bed, dreading having to get up in the morning to go there.

 I tried everything, I even promised (and kept my promise) to fetch her early until she settled in. And each day I arrived while the other kids were having their afternoon naps, Maddi would be wide-eyed, sitting up waiting for my arrival. She’d also remind me up to 10 times not to forget to fetch her early.

I don’t think that there was anything wrong with the first new school per se, I just think Maddi’s intuition set off alarm bells about their compatibility with her personality.

Not fitting in

It made me think of the last corporate job I had. I was head-hunted by a huge multi-national, the offer they made me was bordering on the obscenely generous, yet two months into the job I realised I would never be able to fit into their way of doing things, and a month later I resigned.

Although I was riddled with guilt and angst about Maddi not fitting in at the first new school, I knew I had to get her to try to give it a go. And she’s a brave little mite, she really did try, but in the end it was clear she just hated it, period.

I bumped into a dad I know who was picking up his little boy at the same school one day, and without prompting he told me his little guy wasn’t wild about the school either, so maybe it had something to do with the actually running of the place, I don’t know.

The thing is, as parents we have to balance teaching our kids not to give up, with tuning into their very real sense of intuition. Kids know good and bad without having to see it. Their sense of intuition, especially when they are younger, is almost always spot on!

As they get older, in my experience, they also learn to use this intuition to manipulate us to get their way. So it’s a tricky old game we have to play. But if you are in-touch with your kid’s moods and personality, you should be able to separate real angst and concern from petulance.

How long do you give a child to settle in before you move them?

Read more by Marlon Abrahams

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