Suffering from our divorce
Published: Monday | December 14, 2009
Q. I am sincerely hoping that you will be able to help my 10-year-old son who is currently in grade five at a primary school and should be preparing for GSAT next year. His father and I are divorced; we got separated just as he was about to enter grade one at six years old. I thought that he was too young at that time to understand what was happening, as he showed no sign at all.
During grades one to three, he was above average in his schoolwork. However, since grade four and now grade five, I have noticed that his grades have been going down. He reads well, but is unable to spell as well as he reads. He will do math today and will get them all correct, but forgets how it is done the next day. I have been sending him to extra classes but I am still not seeing any improvement with his grades. This is really depressing me right now as at times I do get upset with him when I keep explaining and he doesn't seem to be getting it. His sister, who is attending university, also gets upset at times when she is teaching him. I was surprised when she came home last week and told me that it is possible that the effects of our divorce is just now affecting him.
Can this be possible? Please note that he sees his father only when he happens to pass him on the road. His father has been out of his life since my separation. He is the third of three children.
A. It is very important that you get your son assessed by a psychologist who will evaluate him for the academic problems he is having and the emotional problems he may be having. Many times, as family members, we want to help each other but if we are not specially trained to do so we only frustrate ourselves and the family member we are trying to help. After your son has been assessed, ensure that you get a tutor who is qualified to teach children who have academic problems, and if he needs counselling, it would be best for you to get a child counsellor or child psychologist.
Q. I am so happy that the prime minister spoke out about children with HIV in schools. I was so angry that we have educators who behave like that towards our children who are so innocent. What can we do to educate the educators?
A. I am sure many educators have no problems with children who are HIV positive being at school. It seems, however, that an HIV awareness refresher course for principals and teachers would be helpful to those who have concerns about these children with special needs attending school. We all would benefit from such an educational campaign. I am ready to help and I hope you are too.
Q. My daughter wore jewellery to her last prep school and it was no problem and now this new school is letting me know that no jewellery is allowed. They showed me a sign at the school and the writing was so small. They have my money and my daughter wants to wear her special chain and earrings. The jewellery is not affecting her learning. What should I do?
A. All organisations have rules which must be respected. The school has its reason for its rules which must be respected. There are only two weeks left in the school term, I think your child will cope without her jewellery for two weeks. If you do not wish to abide by the rules you may start looking for another institution that meets your needs. Please read all guidelines that you are given when you register your child. Also, ask questions regarding the wearing of jewellery.
Orlean Brown-Earle, PhD, is a child psychologist and family therapist. Dr Brown-Earle works with children with learning and behaviour problems throughout the island and in the Caribbean. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or send to Ask the Doc, c/o The Gleaner Company, 7 North Street, Kingston.