Does your child actually panic at the thought of going to school? Does your child become physical sick at the thought of going to school? Does your child actually become physically sick as he/she tries to attempt to go to school? Are you wondering what may be wrong with your child? You child may be suffering from an anxiety disorder that is known as school refusal.
Yes, this is a real disorder. This is not something that children are just making up to get out of going to school.
What is school refusal?
School refusal is an anxiety disorder that causes a child to not be able to go to school. When a child suffering from this disorder tries to go to school a panic overcomes him/her. This panic fills their entire being and it can actually make him/her physically sick.
What are the signs or symptoms of school refusal?
• Basic stomach aches
• Trouble sleeping
What can be some of the causes of school refusal?
• Performance anxiety – This can stem from the fear of underachieving due to wanting to impress their teachers and their parents. Plus, just the idea of wanting to achieve for themselves.
• Separation anxiety – fear of leaving mom and dad (especially in younger children)
• Bullying – The fear of being picked on.
• Family trauma – (divorce, a sudden move, death of a family member, even a death of a pet).
What should a parent due if he/she things that their child may be suffering from school refusal?
1. Begin by first giving your child permission to stay home for the day. Now watch your child closely. Do you see immediate relief in your child? If you do, then this may signal that your child is suffering from this disorder.
2. If you believe that this is what your child is suffering from, now you must investigate what is triggering the panic in the first place. This means you need to start communicating with your child ask him/her some questions such as: What is going on at school. Ask some specific questions to try to find out what the problem is.
3. Next you need to contact the school and let them know that there is a problem.
4. You may also need to see if you can get permission for your child to come in later and stay in school for a shorter period of time, until this matter is resolved.
5. You should also consider the fact that your child may very well need some counseling to get to the root of his/her problem.
6. Finally, help teach your child relaxation techniques to help him/her get through these panic attacks.
What are the typical ages for school refusal to start?
It can start at any age, if a trauma has occurred. Yet, typically this is an anxiety disorder that will first appear in elementary to middle school ages.
It is a common disorder that can affect as many as 2% to 5% of all children.
Children with school refusal can be treated. For this reason, you must understand when you child is faking being sick and when he/she has a real anxiety problem that may be hindering him/her from attending school.