Son Hates School

Dear Sara,

My ten year old son doesn’t want to go to school. He often complains of stomach aches in the morning. I insist that he go to school but sometimes he throws up before he leaves. Luckily I am a stay at home Mom and I can take him and pick him up in the afternoon. He seems better by then. I have asked him what is the matter but he always says “nothing.” What can I do to help him?

Dear Joy,

The first thing you could do is visit with his teacher and try to find out if he is having problems in school. Is somebody bullying him? Is he having a tough time keeping up with his studies? If he is being bullied the school should take measures to protect him and you need to be really assertive with them to make sure that they do. If he is falling behind in his school work maybe you could find someone to tutor him for a period of time until he catches up.

He could have a physical problem. Have him checked out by your family doctor. He could have an upset stomach because he is anxious and some medication might help. If he is physically OK and there isn’t anything unusual at school maybe your next step would be to find a good child psychologist who could evaluate your son and give you some professional advice. If you can’t afford it there is probably a local mental health clinic in your area.

It’s sad to see your son be so miserable in something that should be a normal part of growing up.

Good luck.


  1. What is he eating for breakfast? Cereal with milk? He might have lactose intolerance. Abdominal pain/cramping, nausea, vomiting can all occur depending on the amount of milk consumed. Chocolate milk can sometimes be tolerated (theobromine in the chocolate).

  2. Jennifer Neace says:

    Years ago I had the same situation with both of my sons. It turned out to be the school atmosphere. It was negative. All the teachers were grumpy and always yelling at the children. This was happening in preschool and first grade classes. By the time my sons were going in to 4th and 1st grades we changed schools and all the problems went away. No more anxiety! I put them in a private school which may not be an option for every family. I didn’t just enroll them in any school. I researched schools in the area and set up shadow days. I wish we would have done it earlier. Never had an issue at their new school. They actually looked forward to going to school.

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