Do you let your kids play hooky from school?

Avatar for melissamc
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-22-2007
Do you let your kids play hooky from school?
13
Thu, 01-31-2013 - 12:47pm

I was just reading a piece from Today's website that I thought raised an interesting question, on whether it's okay to let your children miss school for events, fun stuff or just a day off.  Here is the link if you'd like to read it:

http://www.today.com/moms/parents-split-over-whether-its-ok-let-kids-miss-school-1B8186531

When I was growing up, we had to have at least a fever or vomiting before our parents would let us stay home sick, just feeling crappy wasn't a good enough excuse.  There were a couple of exceptions when I was in high school when my parents let me miss for a fun reason (and probably only happened because I was the youngest!).  We did a day trip when my oldest sister was visiting from out of town and another time we went for the day with my dad to NYC when he had a meeting.   I don't think two days in my entire high school career did any harm ;)   I would do the same under very special circumstances, I have let my boys stay home for one day if the grandparents are visiting so that they can have some one on one time with them.  I've also taken my youngest and one of the twins out of school for a week to go visit my parents, my mom's health is too fragile to travel.  I wouldn't take my high schooler out just because with his issues makes it's impossible for him to get caught back up, and I honestly don't think he would want to miss a day either.  I also wouldn't take any of them out for trivial matters like a haircut, and try to schedule all their doctor/dentists appointments for after school if possible.   While my dh was allowed to take "mental health days" in high school, that's not a practice I plan on adopting.

The one part of the article that really has me shaking my head (for lack of a better word) is the mom who will let her daughter be absent for just about any reason, and that her daughter gets A+ for all subjects except ones that have a participation grade.  JMHO, but I think you are setting your child up for very bad habits as an adult.  When she gets a full time job, will she be calling out sick once a week, because she just doesn't want to put in the effort to get up and go to work?  When she gets to college, will she just sleep through her morning class because she doesn't want to go?  If so, she's going to have a huge wake up call.   I consider school to be my children's "job", they have to show up, do their work and get paid with an education.   Fun opportunities need to occur after school hours, just like in the real world.

What do you think?

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Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Thu, 01-31-2013 - 1:14pm

My DH is pretty lax when it comes to things and he would be more lenient about letting the kids play hooky.  I, on the other hand, don't let them unless its a pretty good reason.  Visiting relatives, unless it can't be avoided and scheduled for a non-school time, isn't a reason IMO.  But I am also like you, school is their job and it sets up good work ethic and habits for later down the road.  I can always tell when my ODD is truly sick, unless she's truly sick, she'd have an anxiety attack if she missed school!  I do get frustrated at times when I call teh doctor or dentist to schedule an appointment specifically when they have off of school and am told the office is closed because of the same reason.  Really, can't these offices schedule a day or two a week or a few days a month when they are open later in teh evening for us working parents with kids in school?  But that's another topic altogether.

I did have one friend through high school and into my 20's that would regularly call in sick for a mental health day or if she had went out drinking the night before and had a hangover.  She didn't have a retail job or anything, she actually worked in a doctor's office or for a time in a hospital.  While I understand mental health days, things like a hang over are IMO just unacceptable as an adult, and I know that her parents didn't set a very good example when she was in high school.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Thu, 01-31-2013 - 1:33pm

I think there's something really wrong with a society where kids feel so pressured they need to take mental health days just to stay mentally healthy. My son missed all or part of about 20 days (yes, 20 days) during his 8th grade year because he was depressed and anxious. We never lied and called in sick--I told the school exactly what was going on and they were fine with it. His grades did suffer, although I don't think it's possible to know whether this was because of the mental health issues or the missed days. He's now in a small independent school with a much better work/life balance and has not missed one day of school for anything other than a fever or once, a trip to my parents' 50th wedding anniversary party.

I think it's fine for kids to miss a day or two for special occasions, but it's important to set a good example and tell the school the truth. I'd never call them in sick if they weren't really sick, for example. I also don't think it's cool to pull kids out early every Friday during ski season just so you can get a jump on the traffic heading up to your mountain house, as many families in our old school did. That disrupts learning not just for the students who leave, but for the whole class as the teacher has to waste time catching the kids up.

Avatar for melissamc
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-22-2007
Thu, 01-31-2013 - 2:38pm
I'm always up front with the school as well, ashmama. If I pull them out because the grandparents are here, than I tell them that. Since my in-laws only make it up here once a year,, than I feel the time with them is more important. I do prefer it when they visit in the summer versus the school year. Just makes for a less stressful visit when we don't have school and sports taking up most of the day.

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Avatar for melissamc
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-22-2007
Thu, 01-31-2013 - 2:40pm
Tracy, just to clarify, my mom can't fly and is in very poor health. We don't know how much time there is left to visit, so I don't have the luxury of waiting for when school is out of session. I wish I did though :(

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Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
Thu, 01-31-2013 - 9:52pm

No, they need a good reason to stay home. We have pulled them out fir vacations, but they were always short weeks, two and half days. We did that 3 times in thirteen years.

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

Avatar for 3EggsnAL
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-06-2012
Thu, 01-31-2013 - 11:37pm

I don't let them stay home just cause.  They have to be sick and we live a high allergy area so that happens more then I'd like.  I try to keep them on allergy meds but we forget and they end up miserable.  Also, I have pulled from for funerals and once to run to Texas to see my grandfather who they were close to and we knew he'd die soon, he did 2 months later.  Also, once and only once I let my son go in late after a concert we went to up in Nashville.  It's a two hour drive and so he slept in a bit and I took him.  That was just once.  I try not to ever do that if at all possible.  There have been nights where my son won't be able to get to sleep.  He has troubles with that when he is highly stressed.  He also has some metal health issues that will cause him to have I guess what you'd call a panic attack if I didn't let him stay him to sleep in and go in tardy.  Lack of sleep and stressing about something will cause him to panic and he curls up in a ball and wants life to just pass him by.  He is better now that he is older but I don't want to go back to that so we are careful.  He is learning to let things go and not stress so much.  He had that break through this year actually.  

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Fri, 02-01-2013 - 11:05am

Melissa, I think your situation is a little different with a relative in frail health.  I was thinking more along hte lines of just plain visits from family in general.  My parents can't come during holidays because my mom works retail, so they come visit during "off" times for her, but they always do their best to plan it around when the kids are off for an extended weekend or on spring break because it doesn't make sense for them to come to visit the kids if they are going to sit at my house all day long while the kids are in school and I am working, that's all I meant by that.  We had a family we were close friends with back in Michigan, the mom would let the daughter stay home on any old half day because she said it didn't make sense to get the kids up and out to school for a half day when likely there was no learning going on.  I thought that was a completely crazy reason IMO, but I guess to each their own!

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Avatar for melissamc
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-22-2007
Fri, 02-01-2013 - 6:01pm
I have to say I agree with you, that isn't a valid reason to let them stay home!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-1999
Sat, 02-02-2013 - 11:34am

The tone of that article was kind of a set up, suggesting that the alternatives are missing school only for a dire emergency or missing school for any ol' whim.  I'd say it's highly dependent on the kid, the school, the age, and even the classes to be missed.  I do not agree that school experiences translate into future work ethic.  The kid who is earning A+s without attending class is likely in a learning situation that just doesn't match up with him.  He may well be miserable sitting through classes and needing the break from them and he may have no options.  I think we all hope that that isn't what the working world holds in store for our kids! 

And then when I read Melissa's response that her mom is ill and can't fly, my immediate reaction was that of course the kid would miss school to see his grandparent!   Or if I had a child struggling with anxiety or depression, I'd be pretty liberal with the time out of school, particularly if this was endorsed by a therapist.   Or if there is a kid who is in school while also performing or competing on a professional level (believe it or not, we know two in dd's school), the kids miss a great deal of school.  On the other hand, the parents who cavalierly put their own needs over the needs of the school and their own children and pull their kids every week to head up to the ski house early are hard to justify.  To my way of thinking it has to be decided on a case by case basis. 

And yes, I would take my dd out once in a blue moon to see a show or get her hair cut, lol.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Mon, 02-04-2013 - 9:55am
Melissa I thought of this post this morning as I was writing ODD a note saying she was missing first period, which is her cheerleading class, because she was at a cheerleading competition all weekend, didn't get home til 10 last night and still had a mess of homework to do. LOL! If it wasn't that class, she would have dragged her butt out of bed to go to class, but knowing 3 other girls in the class, as well as the coach who has a daughter who was also at the competition this weekend, were going to be out, she didn't see a reason to sit around and do nothing when sleep was a bit more important.
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