Is he stubborn? Probably. Is he bored with school? Perhaps. But he may have school phobia.
School counselors say that every year, they see a few cases of children who are actually terrified to walk through the school doors.
“There are people afraid of high places and afraid of enclosed places,” says Judith Ladd, vice president of the American School Counselor Association. “It just so happens school is the focus of the reaction for these students.”
What should you do if your child refuses to go to school? Ask for help. School counselors and pediatricians are well trained. They can usually spot the child who’s just trying to get out of taking a math test.
But if the experts say your child has a phobia, you need to take it seriously. If your child tries to stay home by saying she’s sick, treat her as you would a sick child. Put her to bed, don’t let her watch TV, and leave her alone.
If your child is unable to walk through the doors of the school, you may need professional help. A psychologist trained to deal with phobias can help your child.
School phobia is rare, but it’s real. Early treatment can make the difference between a minor problem and one that interferes with a child’s ability to be successful.
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