In some children, fear and anxiety about going to school become so strong that they literally worry themselves sick. Symptoms such as extreme stress, shaking, and panic attacks may begin to show any time the child even thinks about going to school. This ailment may sound like a very rare disorder, but doctors estimate that as many as one out of every twenty students suffers from some degree of school phobia at one time or another. With school back in session, it is important to watch your child for signs of school phobia.
A Misunderstood Problem
Many students that suffer from school phobia are believed by teachers, administrators, and even parents to be faking illness to avoid doing schoolwork. While symptoms are psychosomatic, those symptoms are very real. Children do not choose to feel so stressed or to suffer through the headaches, stomachaches, and other physical symptoms that manifest as a result of that stress. Fortunately, with understanding, children can learn to cope with the anxiety and calm themselves down.
Combating the Problem
Children that suffer from school phobia can be taught breathing and calming techniques in order to deescalate anxiety before a full blown panic attack strikes. Therapists and counselors can help teach children these techniques, and teachers and parents can help by recognizing the signs and working with children. It may also help children to learn that they are not the only ones dealing with the issue, that there are others out there going through the same things and there are ways to calm down.
Unfortunately, what makes it difficult to diagnose school phobia is that there are many kids that don’t like school and simply don’t want to go. This is not the same. Children that don’t like school will generally skip to hang out with friends, engage in troublesome behavior, and hide behaviors from parents. Children with school phobia will generally beg parents to stay home, participate in school work willingly at home, and only engage in troubling behavior that relates to getting out of school.