School Refusal

School Refusal

Children with school refusal may complain of physical symptoms shortly before it is time to leave for school. If the child is allowed to stay home, the symptoms quickly disappear, only to reappear the next morning. In some cases a child may refuse to leave the house. Children who suffer from school refusal tend to have average or above-average intelligence. But they may develop serious educational or social problems if their fears and anxiety keep them away from school and friends for a long time.

Signs of school refusal: –

  • Frequent complaints of illness before or during school, such as stomach aches, headaches, nausea, diarrhea.
  • Tearfulness before school or repeated pleas to stay at home
  • Tantrums, clinginess or running away before school
  • Difficulty attending school after weekends, holidays, school camps or sports days
  • Long, unexplained absences from school
  • Periodic absences or missed classes for which no explanation is given
  • Frequent lateness to school
  • Long periods spent in the sick room 

Causes of school refusal: –

There are lots of reasons why a child might refuse school, and pinpointing the cause can be difficult. Often there are a number of factors that contribute to a child’s non-attendance. It is important to understand and address underlying issues when supporting children to return to school or attend consistently. The following factors might be involved in school refusal

  • Anxiety about social situations or activities that involve a performance or evaluation, such as sports days, speaking in front of the class or tests.
  • Anxiety around being separated from parents.
  • Academic problems or learning difficulties. 
  • Peer issues, such as social isolation, bullying or conflict with friends.
  • Difficulty or conflict with teachers
  • Traumatic events, such as family illness, grief or parental separation/divorce.
  • Difficulties with transition, such as moving to a new school, returning to school after a long absence due to illness or entering/exiting primary school.
  • Rewards inherent to staying at home, such as spending time with a parent, watching TV or playing video games. 

Treatment: –

If your child begins refusing to go to school, arrange a meeting with the school counselor, or with a therapist. Most kids who refuse school will need to talk through their concerns with a psychologist. Family therapy can also help your family find ways to support your child.

Tips for parents: –

  • Act as a supportive partner and listener.
  • Talking to your child about their reasons for not wanting to go to school.
  • Talking about positive aspects of school, such as friends or a favorite subject.
  • Meeting with your child’s teacher to discuss the problem.
  • Helping your child build a support system.


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Psychologist Jayesh K.G

Jayesh KG Consultant Psychologist & Remedial Educator

Jayesh K.G is an experienced and eminent Psychologist based in Thrissur and Kochi. He is currently working as Consultant Psychologist & Child Specialist at POSITIVE Psycho therapeutic Clinic, Thrissur. He worked as a Consultant Psychologist, Dept. of Child and Adolescent Guidance Clinic, Healing Minds-A clinic for mind wellness, Kochi. He is also leading the Department of Child and Adolescent Guidance Clinic at CHILD Development & Psychotherapy Clinic, Kodungallur and Olive Health Care, Vatanapalli.

Jayesh undertakes programs to increase awareness regarding mental health issues among the general population with the help of visual and print media.

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