Your child clings desperately to
you, crying "Mamma, please
don't leave!" It could be your
kindergartner's first day of
school, or your older child still
reeling from the effects of a move.
Your child could have special needs
and expect only frustration behind
the school gate.
Whatever the cause, school phobia can
have gut-wrenching effects on both
parents and child. The daily refrains:
"Mummy, I don't feel good."
"I don't want to go to school."
"Why do I have to go?"
Professionals call this syndrome 'School
Refusal'. Mothers simply call it a
The unwillingness to attend school is
invariably due to emotional distress. It
differs from truancy - truant children
generally do not fear school but are
merely angry or bored with it. Children
with school refusal, however, feel actual
anxiety or fear towards school.
Approximately 1-5% of school-aged
children manifest this syndrome, and it
commonly occurs in children aged five
to eleven. The rate applies to both
genders, and socioeconomic differences
are not a factor.
Severe emotional distress about
attending school. It may include
anxiety, temper tantrums, depression,
stomach aches, nausea, vomiting,
diarrhoea, dizziness, palpitations or
headaches in the morning. These
improve if the child is allowed to stay