Most of the parents encounter the problem of a child missing the school bus deliberately. Why should not they? If they hate riding on the school bus or the morning assembly, missing the bus can be the best ploy.
Now, the parent’s reflex reaction is to drive their kids to school right away which is what you should do generally. But what when skipping the bus becomes frequent. Then giving your child a free ride teaches him how missing the bus is a good idea. The free ride serves as a reward for missing the bus, rather than a punishment. Parents need to set up certain consequences for such action.
Understanding the Cause
We can’t define the consequences without knowing the cause of the problem. Start thinking from the POV of your child and figure out the reasons for missing the bus.
The most common cause is being bullied on the bus or being eve teased. Figure out if that is the reason by talking to your child and his friends. Once confirmed, contact the school authorities to resolve the issue. Support your child and help him slowly face his fear.
If the kid just feels too lazy to wake up in the morning and get ready, figure out ways to help him get ready quickly. Try inculcating earlier bedtime in their routine.
If the kid just goofs around doing everything, then put a timer to motivate him. Like “The time is set for 10 minutes. Can you beat it?” and if possible, devise a method to earn rewards for beating the timer which can be redeemed later in the form of extra playtime, chocolates etc.
Establishing Negative Consequences
Problem-solving alone won’t be able to help. You need to set up punishments for missing the bus. But how to decide the punishment?
A couple of punishments that come right off in the mind are:
Making him walk to school. But what if the distance is long and the weather is harsh? Does not seem like a nice idea. However, you can get them a taxi ride to school and fork out their own cash for it.
Another idea would be to not send him to school. But missing the bus can not serve as a purpose to miss school.
What about taking away the games or unenroll him from the hockey class he loves? But that will be just too harsh.
So, how do we decide what is a fair punishment for the offence?
Here are some things to keep in mind before deciding the punishment:
- Occurrence (How many times has this happened before?)
- The offence (What did he do? What is the gravity of the offence?)
- The punishment (What should be a fair punishment based on the above two points? When not to punish?)
- The outcome (What are you trying to accomplish from the punishment? Will the punishment provide expected outcome?)
In hindsight, it is much better to have a plan devised in place that is mutually agreed upon by both parents. Both parents can provide their inputs and build from there.
Hope this helps. Happy Parenting!