Fear of School: Alas, my child does not want to go to school!

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In the early period of schooling, especially in the first year of the child’s meeting with the school, fear of school is frequently encountered. In primary school first grade students, fear of school is short term (not exceeding one month), decreasing in quality and in a level which does not cause serious problems. The family must take the child to school in a determined manner and this familiarization period must be carried out in cooperation with the school guidance service and teacher.
Fear of school may require psychiatric support in some cases.
At which stage should parents apply for psychiatric support?
If your child has a fear of a school that lasts more than a month and does not decrease over time, you may need support from experts. These school-feared children may complain of physical ailments such as headache, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting when school time comes. Therefore, there may be multiple doctor applications. These symptoms may be accompanied by anger outbursts, intolerance, fear of separation, or family behavior.
Most of the time, children do not want to leave their parents who come to school, they like to go out and go home during classes. Complaints of the child sent home usually disappear at home, and complaints appear again the next morning. Sometimes children may refuse to leave the house.

Why do children fear a school?
Moving, change in family dynamics and such stressful events may have triggered school fear. The underlying causes may be something that happens to parents when they are in school, fearing another student, bullying, or fear of failure. Transition periods (starting school for the first time, changing schools, starting with secondary school or high school, etc.) can trigger school fear.
In cases where the fear of school is not resolved and concerns are kept away from school for a long time, serious educational or social problems may arise in the child. Treatment of fear requires the cooperation of health personnel, school staff, guidance teacher and the whole family.
What can the family do to overcome school fear?

1. Seek help from child mental health workers (child psychiatrist, specialist child psychologist, etc.).
The most important step to overcome the fear of school is to understand the cause of fear. The reasons underlying the reluctance of your child to school are tried to be understood by using various techniques and the most appropriate treatment method is provided to the child. It may also be comfortable for your child to know that it is always a safe place to go and talk.
2. Talk to your child.
Your child needs to share his feelings and concerns with you. Don’t show that you don’t take the child’s fear seriously by saying in over time “. Talk about her fears and show that you understand her and you’re willing to help.
3. Talk to school staff.
Teach teachers, guidance counselors, infirmaries and the school head. Together we collaborate in a solution-oriented manner.
4. Get your child to school gradually (eg by increasing school hours each week).

5. Highlight the beautiful aspects of the school.
Emphasize that your child can play with friends at school, make new friends, have fun at recess and learn new things at school.
6. Remove all fun activities at home during school hours.
If your child refuses to go to school, avoid access to all televisions, tablets and toys in the house. When the child is at home, he / she should not have a more enjoyable time at school.
7. Tell your child that he / she can reach you at certain times (during breaks, lunch breaks).

8. Knowing that your child can reach you or another adult during school hours makes him feel safe and secure.
9. Tell your child that his family will be safe when he / she is at school.
Patiently repeat that there will be nothing happening to you when you go to school, hugging your child, saying nice and positive words.
10. Guide your child to hobby and interests.
Entertainment means relaxation. With hobbies, your child may be headed for other things and help them think less of school-related concerns. Hobbies also increase self-confidence.
This article Prepared by Tuba Mutluer.
For more information, please contact our Child and Adolescent Mental Health (Psychiatry) department.

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