This line carries no magic at our house. Being ‘sick’ is not an automatic ‘get out of school free card’. I do not want my children infecting the rest of their class if they are truly ill, but I also don’t want my kids getting away with lame excuses for not going to school.
Recently, I’ve been dealing with a child who has decided he does not need to attend school every day. He has a different excuse each time. I know he’s making it out to be worse than it is. I’ve decided that instead of yelling at him I will explain why his excuse is not acceptable each time or how we can fix the issue without him needing to be home. While this is happening I’m wondering if he notices a pattern yet? It isn’t even that he thinks school would be better somewhere else. He just assumes he has enough information to survive the rest of his life. I know this because we had a discussion where he said he wanted to home school because the then he wouldn’t have to do any school work. After clarifying that myth for him he decided home school was not the answer.
The first excuse was that he was sick and needed me to pick him up because he was pretty sure he would be vomiting soon. I told him as soon as he did to text me back and I would be right there. This was obviously not the answer he wanted. He did not text back. He has had others, but all have been greeted with a response of how to fix his situation etc.
So, last week he sent me a text asking if he could go home from school. The conversation went like this:
Me: Are you sick?
Me: Is someone bullying you or hurting you?
Him: No. I just don’t want to be here.
Me: I don’t want to be at work either.
Him: Can I go home?
Me: Can I quit my job?
Him: See you tonight
Today he sent a text saying his back hurts and could he go home because the chairs are not helping. I do know that his back is sore. That is a valid complaint. However, he will not be any more comfortable at home. He was not at school on Saturday or Sunday and his back was still bothering him then. So, I said “I will call the school and tell them you can have advil.”
I am not sure how long this phase will last. I’m hoping it ends soon. I know I still have two more. They are only in the beginnings of wanting to skip school. My daughter does not want to miss this year because she wants to get the ‘prize’ that is offered for not missing any days. I have no idea what the prize is, but she is like me and we are motivated by prizes – even small ones. I think that’s part of the adventure of motherhood. We get to find out what makes our children tick and help them learn to motivate themselves.