When did it become “normal” for children to be tired and miserable all the time?

Most mothers I come across love their children and want the best for them. Not all, of course, but most. But over and over I am finding myself in conversation with mothers who are telling me how difficult life is for their family because life is just so demanding and difficult for their very young child or children. I am talking about children as young as 5,6,7 here. The thing that is making life so difficult, producing tired, miserable and even frightened children is school.

Mothers speak in tones of shrugged powerless shoulders as they explain how their child has been bullied, has to face (at the age of 6) that he isn’t good enough at something and must be thrust with strangers for the morning. The same child having just about adjusted to this change is thrust into the exam fever as SATS approach. He is SIX!

Mothers tell me how they must rush hither and thither dragging tired and disgruntled little ones with them to fit school, afterschool and extra stuff into their evenings. Clubs, groups, events getting later and later so that rest and even getting food become a major obstacle.

It seems to me, from outside this lifestyle now (thank God) that we have made child misery “normal”. These mums don’t want this for their children. Who would? But they are part of the great “groupthink” that expects this and must have it.

Things aren’t that easy in my world either. But I tell you, something absolutely drastic would have to happen before I would allow a child of mine back into that life of school, misery and exhaustion. Especially as so little actual learning takes place.

I am normally very careful about not being too critical of sending children to school. I am well aware that most people think it’s the best thing to do. I am also well aware that far too many of us made that decison with no understanding and I am very aware that school is rarely the best place for a child whatever their age. But I am left shaking my head as mothers tell me how miserable they and their children are- and tomorrow they will do it all again.

I’ve been listening to HS through the hard times today. Get it while it’s there and check out the book download too. There is some great insights and she even mentions a HS mum who uses a wheelchair (so I’m not the only one). One part well worth hearing is about how she began to HS her nephew. Her experience of him just out of school rang very true for me. I remember the same problems when I pulled Alex and Iona out. Enjoy.

All I can say to parents who are unsure is, think very hard before putting your children into school.


4 responses to “When did it become “normal” for children to be tired and miserable all the time?

  1. Sadly true. Though I fear it is parents and not teachers who are the main culprits, often driven by fear that they are not good enough at parenting.

    A good school (always sus out the head) will try to prevent as much of this misery as possible, but too many parents expect it. “Tiger mothers”, “helicopter parents” we haz em.

  2. My ten children are not tired & miserable & all have been or go to school. Of course they are home the rest of the time so we have the best of both worlds!

  3. Yes, jolly good point. That was one of the reasons I took my two out of school. Until I did they only did things THEY wanted to do and for which they were not tired. I believe that dragging small children everywhere, and not giving them time to relax and be themselves is child abuse.

  4. Thank you ladies.
    Yes Rita I think you are right. Many, in fact I would say just about all the parents of my children’s school friends are afraid that if they don’t get the A levels they wont get to the right Uni and do the right degree and get the right job and have the right life…It is truly vicious cultural yoke they feel forced to carry.
    While this blog was really abut under 7s whom I believe should not be in any institution, let alone a school all day, I have seen just as much tired misery among the teens I know.
    Then parents decide NO after school activities so they don’t get to do anything remotely non-acedemic. So many of them miss out of events because they have homework for hours each night.

    I am glad you think school has worked for your children Jackie.

    Danae, I think the parents I talk to, beleive they HAVE to do this. School takes up the whole day so the other stuff, music, sports, scoutish stuff and anything else remotely good fun and healthy is always later and later in the day. It impacts on Home Educators too becuase we have to wait until evening for our children’s activities because everything is geared to the all consuming institional approach to education.

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