What to do when your school-ager stages a sit-in
Great. Your school-ager has just pulled a tantrum and the family reunion starts in 20 minutes. Or it’s time to leave for dance class and she’s in jeans, reading a book in her room.
Children from ages five to 10 will sometimes dig in their heels and refuse to attend their after-school activities or family commitments. So what’s with the attitude?
Find the reason
“It’s not just about the child being defiant for the sake of being defiant,” says Sara Dimerman, a Toronto-based child and family therapist and the author of Am I a Normal Parent? “For children of this age, there’s something going on.”
It could be that she’s worried about being bored at Aunt Mabel’s house. Or perhaps she has an illogical fear — that she’ll have to swim in the deep end after just a few swim classes, for example. The problem could also be something more serious — such as a cousin who bullies her when the grown-ups’ backs are turned.
Ask your child what’s up. After discussing his concerns, you may decide together that he’ll drop out of basketball at the end of the season. Or maybe he simply needs to hear that while Grandma’s nursing home may be smelly and dull, visiting her is important. It might not be the answer he wanted, but at least he’ll feel listened to.