It is a common problem among parents that their child doesn’t want to go to school. It might even turn into an ongoing conflict between the child and the parents which results in exhaustion both in the parents and the children.
Even though it is normal for your child to refuse to go to school sometimes, it becomes a consistent problem extending beyond the limits for some parents. If the child’s unwillingness to go to school turns into a psychological issue, it is known as “school refusal”.
Especially at the ages of five and six, children reject going to school. Nonetheless, at about the age of ten or eleven the problem shows up again as the sources of anxiety for the scores at school are multiplied in this period such as the increase in the academic workload and the need for the ability to think within abstract structures.
As a result of anxiety, children don’t want either to go to school or to stay there. However, it is not the same as skipping school. Children who skip school generally deceive their parents for being there and go unnoticed by their parents.
On the contrary, children who refuse to go to school are usually obedient and decent aside from their unwillingness to attend school. Also, their parents are aware that their child is not in school. Parents of these children put so much effort to convince their child to go to school which ends up with failure.
Approximately 1-2% of children refuse to go to school at some point their life as they feel anxiety for it and they continue not attending school on a regular basis. It generally occurs after long periods of breaks in schools such as vocations and sickness or after alterations in the school life such as the change of the school or starting a new grade.
However, there is no singular specific reason for school refusal. It is the result of the combination of several problems in school or in the family. For example, the child might be afraid of going to school because of fear of peer-pressure or anxiety over academic success.
Your child might suffer from pains in the stomach and head due to the anxiety. However, they are generally cured after a short while when they don’t go to school. Also, he/she might demonstrate aggressive behaviors to resist to go to school.
This condition is a source of concern for the parents. Aside from worrying for their child, they have hard times complying with their daily schedules. For instance, it is possible that you need to take a day off work or your other children cannot attend school at the
Nevertheless, you should stay calm and approach your child with empathy. Instead of complaining about your being late for work which would accrue the conflict, you should ask for logical explanations for his/her reluctance to go to school.
The reason for his/her reluctance might be his/her feeling tired. You should remember that children between the age of six and twelve need nine to eleven hours of sleep.
However, if your child gets a good night’s sleep but still refuse to go to school you should discover the reason at the core. It might be high academic expectations or trouble with his/her friends such as bullying.
After the long summer breaks, most of the parents hear their child complaining about going to school. Thus, you should know that you are not the only one dealing with the distress of this problem.
You need to develop successful communication skills with your child so that you can solve the problem more calmly and convince your child to attend classes.
Steps to Take to Deal with the P
It is very common among parents to feel frustrated about their child’s school refusal. The first thing to do is the find out the reason behind the problem in order to solve it. For example, your child might be feeling overwhelmed because of the intensity of the academic work or his/her way of dealing with the bullying he/she is exposed to at school.
It is crucial that you observe your child and understand if the problem stems from a lack of sleep or problems with friends. It is also possible that your child doesn’t know how to cope with the problems like not wanting to go out of the bed.
Also, you should be alarmed for the possible bullying your child experience at school as school refusal is one of the most telling signs of it.
Furthermore, your child might feel the anxiety of being under the authority and the structural organization of the school. By avoiding school, children feel more free and independent. Whatever the reason is, you should be aware that school refusal is your child’s coping with a problem.
However, children usually fail to solve their problems on their own. For that, you should make him/her improve problem-solving skills.
Another reason for school refusal is that your child might get bored in school. Their boredom turns into aggression towards school which ends up with avoiding school.
Nevertheless, parents need to remind frequently their children that going to school is one of their responsibilities. Even if they are bored, they should know that they need to go to school regardless of their mood. Also, you should encourage him/her to find something less boring about school.
Here are 11 tips that can help you to overcome this problem:
1. Check for Physical Causes
You should see a medical doctor in the case that your child says that he/she has pain in his/her body. Although generally there is no problem with the child’s physical health, you shouldn’t assume that. It is always better to be sure about it by consulting a doctor.
2. Speak to Your Child
Inquire about the reasons for his/her reluctance to go to school. Also, prepare a roadmap to make him/her turn back to school. However, don’t forget that not all children have the ability to clearly express their problems.
Refrain from pushing him/her to carry out this conversation. You should make him/he feel that you are always with him/her to help to solve the problems.
Demonstrate your understanding of him/her by saying that you see that it is challenging for him/her to go to school but you would help him/her.
Here are some tips for the conversation:
- Ask him/her what would make him/her feel more secure and relaxed at school instead of talking about going to school
- Implement a positive and constructive tone such as praising his/her going to school which will help your child be more self-reliant.
- State your thoughts clearly and instead of telling him/her “if” sentences about going to school use “when” sentences which would make him/her understand the point better.
- Don’t leave him/her the place to say “no” to your commands while getting up in the morning, be direct.
3. Avoid Lecturing
You should refrain from having a one-way conversation from you to your child about the vitality of going to school. Lecturing would make the problem get worse and continue.
Remember that everyone gets bored with the long lectures regardless of their age.
4. Be a Detective
Observe the recurrence of the illnesses in your child. When and how often they repeat? Do they occur n holidays? Keep the record of them objectively and be a detective.
However, never accuse your child of them so that he/she doesn’t feel the need for defending themselves. Only observe the reasons behind his/her avoiding school.
5. Collaborate with the Teacher
Don’t put the blame on the teacher or the school. Also, the teachers shouldn’t think that it is the parent’s mistake. Although it is easy to blame the others when distressed, keep in mind that it doesn’t solve the problems.
You should address the real issues your child faces at school such as peer pressure.
6. Don’t Make Staying Home a Fun Activity
Your child should know that being sick means seeing a doctor, resting in bed, not watching TV etc. He/she shouldn’t enjoy staying home.
Don’t show him/her so much love and attention when staying home. Although it is a bit harsh, it is a good tactic to make the time he/she spend at home boring.
Most of the children want to avoid school as they enjoy being at home. At the end of the summer holidays prepare your child to school by scheduling bed time.
Let them know that sick day is not fun day.
7. Make Him/Her Study at Home
When your child stays at home although he/she is not sick, make him/her sit on the table and study or read. Also, put a limit to the time he/she sleeps.
If you are working parent, it might hard for you to implement these tips but at least try it. You can ask for help from the people around you stay at home with your child and make sure that he/she is studying.
8. Put Some Rules Beforehand
You might say that your child will go to school unless he/she has a fever as a rule. The nurse at the school might send him/her back home if it is necessary. These rules make it easier to get the children ready for the school in the morning without leaving space to daily struggles about going to school.
It is also necessary to note that the struggles in the morning make your child feel important as they draw your attention. Therefore, don’t make the discussions continue long if you are sure that your child has no medical problem.
9. Encourage Your Child
The self-worth and self-reliance of children are shaped during the school years as they see their capacity and abilities. However, when they feel they lack the competence for academic duties they would feel fed up with school.
It leads to negative feelings about school and they might feel insufficient and unsuccessful.
In order to increase your child’s self-esteem, you should make him/her feel that you love him/her and trust in him/her. Remember that they always need your support to deal with problems.
10. Refrain from Disputes
In order to improve their problem-solving skills, you shouldn’t discuss it in the morning of their refuse for going to school. At that moment, he/she will only focus on convincing you not to go to school and ignore your arguments.
Also, make your child realize that being late to or skipping school has its consequences applied by the school such as detention.
Never shelter your child from the results of their actions. Older children would fail their classes as a result of not attending school.
11. Find Out the Problems
Look for the reasons behind your child’s school refusal and anxiety about going to school. There might be problems with his/her friends or teacher or he/she would be afraid of the academic workload of the next grade.
Bullying is one of the most important reasons for school refusal and you should ask for professional help in order to solve this issue. Keep an eye on the social circle of your child and his/her experiences.
Although most of the parents feel alone in their endeavor for making their child go to school, keep in mind that it is a very important task as the school is where your child develop his/her skills and personality.
You will observe the change in your child’s confidence to deal with his/her problems by implementing these tips and making him/her go to school.