We’re a couple of weeks into the new school year by now and I hope that for most of you the morning drop-offs have gotten a bit easier than they were in the beginning.
But some of you may still be struggling with a child who doesn’t want to go to school, who resists you leaving at drop-0ff time, and who might be suddenly suffering from stomachaches and headaches (particularly on Sunday nights or weekday mornings) that had not previously been a problem.
Today’s interview with Dr. Jonathan Dalton, director of the Center for Anxiety and Behavioral Change in Rockville, MD is going to help us understand whether our child is having a ‘normal’ amount of difficulty transitioning to school or if they are struggling enough that they might need extra help – and if so, what to do about it.
Bergin, C., & Bergin, D. (2009). Attachment in the classroom. Educational Psychology Review 21, 141-170.
Dalton, J., & Beacon, V. (2018). School refusal. In D. Driver & S.S. Thomas (Eds.), Complex disorders in pediatric psychiatry: A clinician’s guide (pp 11-22). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Egger, H.L., Costello, J., & Angold, A. (2003). School refusal and psychiatric disorders: A community study. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 42(7), 797-807.
Hallinan, M.T. (2008). Teacher influences on students’ attachment to school. Sociology of Education 81, 271-283.
Hamre, B.K., & Pianta, R.C. (2001). Early teacher-child relationships and the trajectory of children’s school outcomes through eighth grade. Child Development 72(2), 625-638.
Houts, R.M., Caspi, A., Pianta, R.C., Arseneault, L., & Moffitt, T.E. (2010) The challenging pupil in the classroom: The effect of the child on the teacher. Psychological Science 21(12), 1802-1810.
Jerome, E.M., Hamre, B.K., & Pianta, R.C. (2009). Teacher-child relationships from kindergarten to sixth grade: Early childhood predictors of teacher-perceived conflict and closeness. Social Development 18(4), 915-945.
Kearney, C.A. (2016). Managing school-based absenteeism at multiple tiers: An evidence-based and practical guide for professionals. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
Kearney, C.A., & Albano, A.M. (2007). When children refuse school: A cognitive-behavioral therapy approach, Therapist guide (2nd Ed.). Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
Kearney, C.A. (2006). Dealing with school refusal behavior: A primer for family physicians. Family Practice 55(8), 685-692.
Kearney, C.A. (2002). Identifying the function of school refusal behavior: A revision of the school refusal assessment scale. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 24(4), 235-245.
King, N., Tonge, B.J., Heyne, D., & Ollendick, T.H. (2000). Research on the cognitive-behavioral treatment of school refusal: A review and recommendations. Clinical Psychology Review 20(4), 495-507.
Ladd, G.W., & Dinella, L.M. (2009). Continuity and change in early school engagement: Predictive of children’s achievement trajectories from first to eighth grade? Journal of Educational Psychology 101(1), 190-206.
Ladd, G.W., & Buhs, E.S., & Seid, M. (2000). Children’s initial sentiments about kindergarten: Is school liking an antecedent of early classroom participation and achievement? Merrill-Palmer Quarterly 46(2), 255-279.
Last, C. G., Hansen, C., & Franco, N. (1998). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of school phobia. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 37, 404–411.
Pianta, R. C., Belsky, J., Vandergrift, N., Houts, R. M., & Morrison, F. J. (2008). Classroom effects on children’s achievement trajectories in elementary school. American Educational Research Journal 45 (2), 365–397
School’s in! How’s it going for you and your child?
On the first day of school, did your child give you a sweet hug and run off cheerfully to play with their friends?
Or were they stuck to you like a limpet, screaming “Don’t go! Don’t go!” as you tried to extricate yourself, highly ambivalent yourself about whether this transition was the right one to make?
And on the second day, did they happily get into the car and strap themselves in, or skip along beside you as you walked to school?
Or did they dig in their heels and refuse to get into the car seat, and then refuse to get out of the car at the other end, and give you the “Don’t go! Don’t go!” treatment again?
This episode revisits the concept of the 30 Million Word Gap concept, which we first covered in an interview with Dr. Doug Sperry a few weeks back.
After she heard that I was going to talk with Dr. Sperry, Dr. Roberta Golinkoff – with whom we discussed her book Becoming Brilliant almost two years ago now – asked to come back on to present a rebuttal. We’re going to learn a lot more about the importance of child-directed speech!
This episode serves two purposes: it helps us to understand another aspect of the 30 Million Word Gap, and it also demonstrates pretty clearly that scientists – both of whom have the best interests of children at heart – see very different ways of achieving that end.
We recently did an episode on the impact of intergenerational trauma, which was about how the ways we were parented, and even the ways our parents were parented, ends up influencing the relationship we have with our children – and often not in a positive way.
But there’s another side to this story: relationships between the generations can actually have enormously beneficial effects on children’s lives, even when these are affected by issues like radically different parenting styles, and mental illness.
Today we explore the more positive side of intergenerational relationship with Dr. Peter Whitehouse, who (along with his wife, Cathy) co-founded The Intergenerational School in Cleveland, OH, which is now part of a small network of three schools that use this model.
Have you ever thought about how you talk about ageing effects what your children think about older people? (I hadn’t, but I have now!) Do you struggle to navigate the difference between the things your parents want to say to and buy for your child, and your own values? Do you worry about what your child might think of their grandparent’s absent-mindedness or volatility? Join us as Dr. Whitehouse and I navigate a path through these and other issues.
“I spent the whole morning painting and doing origami and felting projects with my daughter – and not only did she not say “thank you,” but she refused to help clean up!” (I actually said this myself this morning:-))
“We took our son to Disneyland and went on every ride he wanted to go on except one, which was closed, and he spent the rest of the trip whining about how the whole trip was ruined because he didn’t get to go on that one ride.” (I hope I never have to say this one…I’m not sure I could make it through Disneyland in one piece.)
You might recall that we did an episode a while back on manners, and what the research says about teaching manners, and how what the research says about teaching manners comes from the assumption that manners MUST be explicitly taught – that your child will NOT learn to say “thank you” unless you tell your child “say thank you” every time someone gives them a gift.
We also talked about how parent educator Robin Einzig uses the concept of “modeling graciousness” and that if you treat other people graciously, when your child is ready, she will be gracious as well. The problem here, of course, is that most people expect your child to display some kind of manners before they are developmentally ready to really understand the concept behind it.
But what really underlies manners? Well, ideas like gratitude. Because when we train children to say “thank you” before they are ready to do it themselves they might learn to recite the words at the appropriate time, but they aren’t really experiencing gratitude.
Dr. Jonathan Tudge of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro tells us much more about this, and how we can scaffold our child’s ability to experience gratitude, if we decide we might want to do that.
Dr. Tudge’s book, Developing Gratitude in Children and Adolescents (co-edited with Dr. Lia B. L. Freitas) contains lots more academic research on this topic if you’re interested.