What do I NOT say when my child doesn’t want to start school?

(1-minute read)

Of course, we’re trying to savor every relaxed moment, every sunshine, every raindrop (we got plenty of those this summer!), every late night with no worries about being late for the school bus tomorrow, and every no-homework night.

But some parents and children are starting to think about school again and some might even be dreading it. So what do you NOT say when your child says, “I’M NOT GOING TO SCHOOL THIS YEAR!!!”

In our workshop this week on EmotionEQ: Mastering the Parenting Path for Children with Strong Emotions one of the ideas we discussed is the way we attempt to talk kids OUT OF their emotions because we want them to feel happy. But when we do that, it makes kids even more upset because it is quite invalidating. Here are some ways that we are unintentionally invalidating: (The phrases are colored in red as they are red behavior for us, the adults.)

Attempts to Talk Someone Out of Their Feelings


“Lighten up.”

Get over it.”

“Stop whining.”

“Deal with it.”

“Enough already.”

“Stop complaining.”

“Don’t make such a big deal out of it.”

Ok, if we can’t say any of the above, what do we do instead???


1.If you catch yourself wanting to say something invalidating, STOP! Don’t say it!
2.Listen quietly while making eye contact with your child. Rather say nothing than say something invalidating.
3.Write down the list of reasons why your child doesn’t want to go to school.
4.Problem-solve some of those reasons. (Most kids are satisfied if you solve at least some of the problems. You don’t have to fix all of their reasons for not wanting to go to school.)

Do you want to see how the above strategy is implemented? A couple of parents were kind enough to do a role-play in this week’s workshop in which I modeled how to validate their children.


Dr. Devora

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