Cool for School: Anxiety or School Refusal

Posted at 3:57 PM, Nov 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-02 12:17:45-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - We all know that feeling...the first day of school jitters, stressing out about exams, even playing hooky, but what about kids who have minor anxiety and are still struggling with going back to school, weeks into the school year? According to Family Therapist Jane Marks, that is a real condition.

"The term is called "School refusal", says Marks, "and the child has multiple complaints in the morning, gets chronic anxiety, or they don't feel good, have stomach aches, they're afraid, haven't gotten work done."

Marks says it's a real condition, especially for those with chronic anxiety, but there are ways to help.

First: parents, remain calm and set firm limits.

"For parents, sometimes when anxiety goes up in a child, it also goes up in a parent, so parents, make sure you remain calm," suggests Marks.

Second: sit down and find a solution with your child on how you are going to correct it. Sometimes, says Marks, it's a matter of changing diet, sleep, or even the person who takes the child to school.

"I'll tell you a big one," Marks says, "is to make sure you've had the conversation to determine 'what happened last year?' For example, difficulty with bullying, failed experiences, set up a child who's prone to anxiety for anxiety at the beginning of the school year."

Finally, Marks' rule of thumb is, if there is still a problem six weeks into the school year, then consult a specialist who can guide you through the steps.

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