School Refusal

What ‘School Refusal’ Means and How to Fix It – WSJ.com

Anywhere from 5% to 28% of children will exhibit some degree of school-refusal behavior at some point, including truancy, according to Dr. Kearney, a leading authority on the behavior, and other experts. For kids with anxiety-fueled school refusal, the fear is real and can take time to overcome. Families may struggle for months to help a child get back into the classroom. Ignoring the problem, or failing to deal with it completely, can lead to more-serious problems later on. . . .

The problem affects the whole family. “If your kid doesn’t go to school, it is hard for you to keep your job,” says Helen Egger, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C. . . .

Well-meaning parents can make things worse, psychologists say, by allowing an anxious child to miss school, attending school with them as, for example, a classroom volunteer—or home-schooling. Such accommodations send the message that school is too scary for the child to handle alone and the fear is justified.

Here we see home-schooling portrayed as “school refusal,” a way of denying reality. However, public schooling is a way of denying the reality of parenting, pretending that you have no responsibility for your child. With that said, I would agree that a child’s anxiety about public school is not, in itself, a reason not to make them go. If the parents are too busy or too stupid to take care of their children, they should let the public school teachers babysit them.

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