I have this one boy, Bobby, who has been complaining that his stomach has been hurting him for two weeks now. Bobby’s not a bad kid, he’s just lazy. Anyway, every morning he comes in and lays his head on his desk and won’t contribute to class. I ask him what’s wrong and he tells me his stomach hurts. I ask if he had breakfast, he says yes. I ask him what he had, he says cereal. I ask him if he thinks his stomach hurts from the cereal, he just shrugs. I also ask him if he wants to go to the nurse, and he says “no.”
Apparently, his stomach hurts enough to not be able to work in class but not enough to go see the nurse. And what can I do? Accuse him of faking? I have to give him the benefit of the doubt, but now he’s missing days of work because he claims to feel too awful to work.
I called mom about it this afternoon and she says she’s been noticing the same thing, but his stomach doesn’t seem to hurt him when there’s something he wants to do. Likewise, in school, Bobby seems fine when it’s time for recess, gym, or lunch.
I’m guessing that because he doesn’t want to do his morning work he convinces himself that he has a stomachache, like a bratty kid that suddenly gets full when he doesn’t like the food at dinner.
For other kids, it’s pretty obvious when they’re sick or pretending to be sick. When kids are sick, they’re run down and they stop being loud. I would actually prefer a room full of sick kids compared to my room of loud, obnoxious beasts from below.
Anyway, I supposed my best bet with Bobby is to find something that can motivate him to “work through” his pain.