"I am not sure what has changed. Things were fine last year and now he wakes up with a stomachache and says he doesn't want to go to school. It takes me forever to get him out the door. We are often late. He ends up screaming at me and telling me I am the worst parent ever! I end up yelling at him and almost have to pull him out of the car. He leaves upset and I feel upset, worried, and angry. Why is this happening!?"
If it sounds like I was in your car this morning, that is because this situation is very common with children -- both with those I work and those I parent. On the outside, a child's life can seem so simple -- they go to school, play, and have most things done for them. However, on the inside, a child's life can be very complex. This complexity can result in a range of thoughts and feelings that go from "School is hard"... "I don't want to go to school"..."I hate school"..."I am not going to school", to "I wish I was never born" and "I wish I was dead." The latter statements are more alarming to parents for sure, yet all suggest something is going on.