Edwige Antier: "School failure is not admissible"

Yes, we can give back the desire to teach our children, reassures the pediatrician Edwige Antier. Through a real partnership between parents and teachers and a daily investment.

Interview by Violaine Gelly

Psychologies: The child's grades are falling, repetition is being considered, the teachers are worried. How to react?

Edwige Antier: You have to start by asking yourself the real questions in order to understand the child's difficulties. Or he always had facilities, and it should look for what could have destabilized: a move, a teacher with whom things go wrong, a family event ...

Or, since kindergarten, you hear : "He does not hold up", "He is too dreamy", and we must understand why. How many children who are victims of a real school phobia are, for example, undetected gifted, who are bored with the system? Take stock, with a psychologist. Or ask yourself if your lifestyle does not shake that child up too much.

What to say to him not to discourage or make him feel guilty?

First, there is no point in doing moral lessons, let alone punishing him. No need to add on the theme: "But what will you do later?" The child does not project himself into the future. He wants you to be proud, he wants to honor you. The important thing is to show him that you have understood that something is wrong and that you will try, with him, to overcome the difficulties. Avoid any final judgment of style: "In any case, it is not made for the school system." All the children have an appetite to learn extraordinary, it is the school which must answer it by avoiding to pose reducing labels: "It is an artist", "It lacks maturity" ... As far as the parents accepting these labels reinforce them more or less consciously. School failure is not admissible: these brains that we, pediatricians, deliver to society are not different from each other. There are no mathematicians, sportsmen or artists. Everyone is not Einstein, but any normal child is able to arrive, if it is his choice, in scientific terminale. How many have dropped before because of a lapidary diagnosis by a teacher or parent? Do not condemn our children to reducing cadres in which they will take refuge in conformity with the parental predictions.

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