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School phobia or school refusal or school avoidance is a kind of anxiety disorder, mostly in school going children who have a constant fear of going to school. This phobia is very common among school going children at some point or the other. Both boys and girls, mostly in the age group 5 to 11 years can suffer from school phobia.
Causes of school phobia
Some children have the ability to adapt to new surroundings, while others face problem in blending with a new environment. For these types of children, going to school may worsen the situation and make the school phobia more intense. Here are certain situations that may worsen the school phobia:
- Divorce or separation or any kind of bereavement in the family.
- Arrival of a younger sibling
- If there is an illness in the child or in the family
- Long absence from school due to some illness or vacations
- Changes in the environment due to grandparents moving in or out, shifting home or school or new caretakers
- Depressed or stressed parents leading to lack of care giving
There may be some other causes that are school related that may cause school phobia, like:
- Teasing by other children
- Learning disabilities or any kind disabilities
- Fear of failure
- Threats or physical harm from school bully
- Perceptions that the teachers and other students are mean
Symptoms of school phobia
If any older child faces problems in staying away from home, it refers to school phobia. Any kind of reactions from the students suffering from school phobia is different from the anxiety of a smaller one when they cry, show temper tantrums especially when separate from their parents. Children suffering from school phobia are sensitive, insecure and unable to deal with their emotions. They express extreme fear, temper, angst, uneasiness and depression when they are told to go to school.
Most of these children also tend to show some other health illness when they are asked to go school. These symptoms are mostly unclear and distracted but in some cases it may include chronic symptoms like abdominal pain, dizziness, headaches and nausea.
How to deal with school phobia
- The first and foremost thing you need to do is to find out the source of the child’s school phobia
- Try to train your child to deal with school phobia and mostly with the reasons for it.
- You can also take the help of a doctor to know if there is any medical conditions that may lead to any kind of anxiety
The best thing you can do to save your child from any kind of phobia is to help him/her deal with the fear instead of suppressing it. You have to find out ways to help you child come out of school phobia.