School Refusal and how to Deal with it

From 6 year-old children to university, many students attend to school reluctantly. School phobia (or school refusal) is the fear of going to school, and it is not a rare phobia. Many students don’t name it that way, some are not even aware of their reluctance, but it’s there, and it can lead to more phobias and disorders. 

”School sucks!” they say. ”I can’t wait to leave school!” they cry. Parents like to say that it’s temporary, that it will all work out just fine soon, and it’s all going to be alright. And some are right: it happens that things work out just fine. But it happens that it doesn’t.

Of course, hearing your teenager say ”school sucks!” doesn’t mean he automatically has school phobia. Many students just hate school because it’s not all fun and games, and it’s not the same at all. School phobia is a real phobia, which can lead to stomachaches, nausea, fatigue, shaking, a racing heart and frequent trips to the toilet. 

It can start anytime in school: your teenage might have been okay with school until his/her very last year, and a few months before the end, they start school phobia. Why? There are many causes, and here’s a few.

→ The most common reason for school phobia is for very young children: the first day at school. This can be a very traumatizing moment, for it might be the first time they are all by themselves, or at least, for so long.

→ Bullying is also a very common cause. Being bullied(which includes not having friends and being the last chosen for teams) is one of the worst thing that can happen to a student, mostly because it’s not only for once, or one day, but probably for the whole year, and those that are yet to come.

→ Illness or death can also be a cause for school refusal. The child’s own illness can make them miss days or weeks of school, and they might be frightened of coming back after, because changes probably happened and they are not aware of which changes happened yet. The illness or death of a member of the family, friend, or even an animal, can affect the student’s life and make them reluctant to go to school: what if another member of the family felt ill or died and they wouldn’t be there with them?

→ Finally, a simple holiday could trigger school phobia. Summer vacations or spring break are long enough for a student to become used to another lifestyle, waking up late and not going to school, playing with friends or watching television. The change of routine is a reason enough to trigger school refusal.

If you want to help your children or teenager, the faster you do, the best it will be. The longer the school phobia stays, the harder it will become to get rid of it, and it may even trigger more phobias or problems such as agoraphobia. A boring routine and reassuring your child about many insecurities, encouraging them to think about events to look forward to each day will help them overcome their fear. School phobia is not an easy phobia to overcome, and just like any other phobia, it is irrational. Even though, there is always a way to get rid of school refusal, it only depends on the child or teenager.