My Child Won't Go to School

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What if My Child Won't Go to School? 

My Child Won't Go to School  

What if My Child Won't Go to School?

My nine-year old daughter has started to dread going to school. She always has a head or tummy ache, and ends up missing two or three days a week. When I tell her she has to go, she acts as if she's truly afraid, and cries and screams.

We don't know what to do?

Situations like this require a firm hand. Do not be tempted to wait and hope that she will eventually go to school by herself. If left too long, she may never go back. At the same time, recognize that her anxiety and distress are genuine.

Getting angry at her will not work.

She may have one of three conditions that you need to determine: school phobia (fear of going to school), separation anxiety (fear of leaving you or your home, or agoraphobia (fear of crowded and public places). 

If it might be the first, check if she is being bullied, teased, embarrassed, or abused at, or on the way to, school.

Work closely with the teachers to identify and deal with any problematic situations. Take her to the doctor for a complete physical examination. Tell the doctor the whole story and ask him to rule out any serious illnesses. If he rules out an illness, then believe what he says. 

Don't have a lot of expensive tests.

Assume that your child is physically well and needs to go to school.

Keep assuring her firmly and confidently that she'll be fine (and so will you) once she arrives. If she still claims of physical ailments, you have two options; The first is that you insist that she go to school unless there is clear, measurable, evidence that she is sick, for example having a temperature, obvious diarrhea and vomiting, etc. Just "feeling unwell" is not enough to miss school, after all, many adults have to go to work with headaches or other symptoms.

Option two is to believe what she says. If she claims to be too sick to attend school, then she is too sick to be up at home.

Make sure she gets into bed. Turn off the lights, close the curtains, don't let her watch TV and don't bring her any snacks. Just maintain your daily routine. Make staying home a complete bore. If she isn't asleep then she could be doing her homework.

She definitely shouldn't have friends visit. Along with this, set up clear incentives (rewards, privileges) for getting to school. Be firm and remain calm. Let her know that you expect her to go to school, but don't argue with her if she resists.

The goal her is for her to want to go back to school. Once she goes and finds out that she's fine, her previous symptoms should disappear.

If none of this works, or if you are concerned about a serious depression or anxiety disorder, seek professional help through your family doctor.

The author of My Child Won't Go to School is Dr. Noel Swanson

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Source:  Article My Child Won't Go to School was submitted by Dr. Noel Swanson for publication.



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