Hi, My Name Is Ralph Bass...This Is My Library

The second in our series of counseling case studies.

DEAR PASTOR: My 6 year-old boy started first grade this year and is not doing well. He will often complain of stomachaches, or complain he is too tired, or it’s too boring to go to school. The teacher says that he has a hard time sitting still in class and paying attention and he often disturbs the other students. He just doesn’t seem to get along well with his classmates. He acts silly and often does very annoying things just to get attention. The teacher thinks we should see a doctor so that he can get medication to help him “pay attention’ and to “be successful.” I’m not sure that this is the way to go. What do you think? Pam S.
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Counseling Case Study 2

ANSWER: Do not let anyone medicate your child in order to make him manageable. Consider; why does the teacher want him medicated? She does this to make him easier to control. This makes her life easier. And can you blame her? What other options does she have? Paddling is out! These medications are designed to substitute for discipline by the school, and self-control by the student. The solution is to reinstate discipline at your school and, demand from your son behavior that evidences personal self-control.

Now he may be a very bright boy who is bored by a mundane school curriculum, or he may be too immature for 1st Grade. However, even if one of these possibilities proves true, and no better educational outlet is available, he must still be required to discipline himself to the rules of the school. If the school will not provide your son substantive discipline, that makes your job immensely more difficult.

However, this problem can become a great blessing in your home. To solve it, you will need to become involved with him in the details of his day. Your communication with the school will need to be daily. You will need this information in order to discipline him for any unacceptable behavior at school. Such intimacy, if exercised in an environment of love, can draw you closer than ever. Start by reading Withhold Not Correction by Bruce A. Ray. Establish a plan to instill self-control in his life. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” Galatians 5:22-23. If God requires this to be in his life, he requires you to see that it gets there. Don’t expect the school to do it, it can’t. You must do it.

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