Most parents, who hear about school phobia for the first time tend to take it very lightly – after all there are so many children, who do not like to go to school and would try anything to stay at home and miss the upcoming test. But for many children the fear of going to school is not a laughing matter, but a serious problem, which can have many different causes and very serious symptoms. Each case requires different treatment, but there are few things you can do to help your child and discover the source of the problem.
What are the symptoms and causes of school phobia?
The typical symptoms of school phobia are intense anxiety, combined with stomach ailments, nausea, heart palpitation, difficulty sleeping, frequent nightmares or depression. The intensity of these symptoms may vary, but if they reappear over the span of few weeks it is a reason to become concerned. The main causes of school phobia have psychological foundations. Traumatic experiences, such as divorce or death in the family are known to cause school phobia. Bullying is also one of the common reasons why children do not want to attend school. But the causes can also be rooted in some academic problems: children with learning difficulties and poor academic performance are so terrified of being laughed at by their peers and teachers that they start to develop school anxiety. Average students might feel enormous pressure to do better at school and find it hard to deal with the stress.
Finally, even the brightest students might feel uncomfortable at school, either because they put too much pressure on themselves to be always the best in class, or because their dedication to studying is a subject of jokes. To establish the reason and decide on the best way to approach the problem you always have to start from talking to your child about the situation. Be patient – many children, who suffered serious trauma might feel like talking about it is too much for them, so it might take some time before they open up. Do not stop at simplistic explanations provided by your children. If you kid is telling you that he or she does not want to go to school because it is boring, but at the same time the child is having serious symptoms, such as heart palpitations or nausea, you can be sure that the problem lies elsewhere and your child is not telling you everything.
What can I do to help my child deal with the problem?
The treatment and the help your child needs depend on the source of the problem, its symptoms and their intensity. Letting your children know that they have a full support in you is mandatory, but if the symptoms are more severe you should contact professionals – psychologists, psychotherapists – who will be able to work with your children, start therapy and prescribe antidepressants and other medications, if they are needed. If your child is bullied at school never let the problem be left unattended. Do not put it aside, but always react immediately before the situation worsens. Inform the teachers about the problem and discuss the way they are going to handle it. If your children have learning difficulties also make sure that you know what is the nature of the problem and talk about it with the teachers.
Sometimes getting your kid a personal tutor or enrolling at online tutoring program is what the kid needs to improve his or her performance and feel more confident at school. Online tutoring is recommended for parents, who cannot afford regular 1:1 tutoring sessions, but want to provide their children with means to improve their performance. If you are looking for interesting math exercises and tutoring courses for elementary students check one of the online resources on the web.
The good news is that school phobia is a problem, which can be solved effectively, especially when the children receive professional help and feel the support of their parents. Do not neglect the problem or treat it too lightly – remember that your children count on your help and some things, which to us, adults, seem insignificant, children and teenagers see as too difficult to deal with alone.