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Daily Life

Overcoming Problems at School

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The following is Ikeda Sensei’s guidance on supporting our kids through all the experiences they may face at school. It can be found in Happy Parents, Happy Kids, pp. 53–56.

Children experience many things at school that help them become stronger. It is important that they spend time with other children so they can learn to function in group situations. When interacting with different personalities, there may be unavoidable conflicts, but these enable students to grow. In childhood, associating with all kinds of friends is important and necessary. Sometimes, what might be considered negative from an adult’s perspective may, for the child, just be a matter of course. Children may misbehave or use objectionable language. They may even sound like delinquents. But such things are part of the process and foundation for becoming an adult.

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Children’s spirits are sensitive and vulnerable. Children can become distressed by seemingly trivial matters at school or home; they may also become physically or emotionally exhausted. More children these days are feeling heavily pressured by problems with their studies and friendships, as well as from incidents arising from various school activities. A child’s refusal to go to school, which used to be considered a serious behavioral problem, is looked upon today as something any child might go through. If this is the case with your child, there is nothing shameful about it. If parents are impatient or shun their child for not obeying them, then even if the child’s suffering is not that serious, the child will feel they have no place to go.

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Children may have different reasons for not wanting to attend school. There is no set approach for resolving this problem, so rather than seeking quick solutions, it is important for parents to listen to children carefully and try to understand what is causing their suffering and anxiety. It is especially important to create a home environment where children can feel safe and secure. More than anything, children crave their mothers’ attention. It is a mother’s responsibility to nurse her children’s wounded hearts, warmly embrace them, and instill in them the will to live courageously. You need only regard each difficulty as an opportunity to become more aware of what is in your child’s heart and further deepen the bond you share as you grow together as human beings.

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It is natural for anyone to feel anxious when leaving a familiar environment and starting something new. This is especially true of children starting kindergarten or nursery school. It’s likely the first time they’re experiencing being away from their mothers for more than a few hours. Everything is new and strange: the classroom, the teachers, being in a group with other children. After a while, though, they will probably become so absorbed in playing with their classmates that they will even forget about their mothers for a time. This is how adaptable children are. When children feel lonely, their deep bond with their mothers and the knowledge that they will be warmly welcomed at home enables them to tap the fortitude to overcome any difficulties they may encounter in their new environment.

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