What is School Phobia

This article will discuss how to deal with school phobia and how parents may assist their children in dealing with it.

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What is school phobia

Parenting is not an easy task and comes with a plethora of challenges throughout different phases of the child’s life. When their child is accepted into school, parents face the first challenge in their child's education. Eventually, your child will refuse to go to school. This is referred to as "school refusal," and it is a relatively regular occurrence. Although addressing these issues can be difficult, it is not impossible. Parents must identify the various causes in order to make their children feel more at ease at school. This article will discuss how to deal with school phobia and how parents may assist their children in dealing with it.

What Is School Phobia?

School phobia in children is a complex syndrome that is impacted by the temperament of the child, the school context, and the family circumstances. School phobia, often known as school refusal, is a type of anxiety condition that is linked to separation anxiety. Children refuse to go to school because it causes them to feel uneasy, stressed, anxious, or panicked. When forced to attend school, many youngsters have physical symptoms such as dizziness, stomachaches, and headaches. When children are between the ages of 5 and 7, they are more likely to develop school phobias. Adolescents (teenagers) can, however, also suffer from school phobia.

This anxiety about going to school can be quite stressful for both your child and you. Later in life, school fear can also lead to anxiety or depression. But fret not as school phobia can be easily treated if handled early on and with the right therapy and counselors. In this article, we will read about school phobia in further detail and about how a psychologist can help you and your kid with school phobia treatment.

Causes of School Phobia


One of the factors your child may suffer from school anxiety is a fear of being separated from you. Separation anxiety is the term for this. Furthermore, if you are distressed about being away from your child, he/she may develop a fear of going to school. To help your child you also need to understand how to teach them good habits so that they can go out in the world confidently and not be scared of being away from you. Causes of school phobia can also be linked to the environment at home and at school.

1. Home Causes

  • Dysfunctional Family
  • Family Relocation
  • A family member’s accident, illness, or death
  • Divorce
  • New sibling

2. School Causes

  • Fear of mean or strict teachers
  • Afraid of bullies and mean classmates
  • The anxiety of sitting alone and not having friends
  • Afraid of failing academically
  • Scared of violence in school or on the way to/from school

Symptoms Of School Phobia


  • When children refuse to go to school, they usually try to persuade their parents to let them stay at home, though some just refuse to leave the house.
  • Dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shaking or trembling, high heart rate, chest pains, and back, joint, or stomachaches are all frequent physical symptoms. When a youngster is allowed to stay at home, his or her symptoms normally improve.
  • Temper tantrums, sobbing, angry outbursts, and threatening to harm themselves are some of the behavioral indicators.
  • It's possible that your child is depressed and doesn't want to be around other people. He may be unable to concentrate at school or even at play.

How Can A Psychologist Help Your Kid With School Phobia?

The absence of explanations for physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, nausea, or dizziness, as well as the findings of a battery of psychological tests, are used to make the diagnosis. The psychological examination varies depending on the other results and the child's age, but it normally includes various anxiety evaluations as well as a behavioral checklist that assesses the child's behavior at home and at school and understanding the causes of school phobia.
On the basis of the evaluations, the psychologists will suggest the following counseling or therapy types to help your child cope with school phobia treatment and help you understand them.

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT counseling will help the child to cope in life by assessing them and suggesting methods on how to deal with social phobia. This therapy aids in the identification of a child's cognitive patterns and the development of adaptive replacement behaviors. In this school phobia treatment, children are taught how to confront and overcome their concerns.

2. Family Counseling


Psychologists have therapy sessions with the parents and kids to help the parents understand their child better and the causes of school phobia so that they can support them instead of aggravating the situation or being overly worried. Family counseling provides a safe space for the family so that the child can speak up without hesitation and share their problems with the psychologist and parents easily.

3. Child Counseling

A period when your child can meet with the therapist alone. They will discuss how to deal with school phobia and how to help your kids feel more confident in themselves. Child counseling will not only help your child deal with school phobia but also help them in feeling more at ease in different environments and tackle any other problems that they face in their daily lives efficiently. School phobia treatment with child counseling also includes tackling social phobia in kids.

4. Educationa

Support Therapy – It consists of a mix of educational presentations and supportive counseling. Children are taught to discuss their worries and to distinguish between fear, anxiety, and phobias. Written assignments are given to them, and these are discussed in follow-up meetings along with tips on how to deal with school phobia. Children keep a daily journal in which they write about their worries, thoughts, coping techniques, and feelings.

Other Approaches Used By Psychologists

1. Relaxation


It's a way to divert your child's attention away from his thoughts of school phobia in the child. Good fragrances, for example, can assist your kid to relax and change his attitude. Good fragrances may also aid the production of endorphins in his brain. Endorphins are a natural "feel-good" chemical that can help with stress, anxiety, and pain which are all causes of school phobia. He might enjoy music or take a bath with aromatherapy oils, for example. Scents can be used in a variety of ways, including candles, massage oils, and scented bubble baths.

2. Interventions Between Parents and Teachers

Clinical meetings with parents and consulting with school personnel are among the parent-teacher interventions. Parents are taught behavior-management techniques for school phobia treatment such as accompanying their children to school, offering positive encouragement for school attendance, and reducing motivation for staying at home. Specific advice to school staff to help them understand how to deal with school phobia and plan for the child's return, words of encouragement, and academic, social, and emotional considerations are all part of the school consultation process.

What You Can Do As A Parent To Help Your Child?

Parents must inform the school of their kid's troubles and take a firm approach in collaborating with the school to tackle any concerns about safety or bullying that may be hindering their child from receiving a comprehensive education.
Accepting that your child suffers from school fear is difficult. You may be angry, upset, or afraid as a result of your child's school phobia. These emotions are common. Discuss your concerns with your child's psychologist, family, or friends. Your psychologist can assist your family in better understanding school phobia treatment and how to respond to a child who has a fear of school. Inquire with your health care practitioner about literature that you can read. You might gain a better understanding of how can psychologists help children with school phobia and understand your child's issues by reading about it.


Refusing to attend school is not something that can be overcome suddenly. You may see growth at times, but you may also endure severe setbacks following school holidays or recurrent absences due to illness. Spend time with your child, understand ways to strengthen relationships with your kids, and seek professional support from a psychologist to understand the causes of school phobia and to help your youngster overcome school phobia as soon as possible. Recognize your child's issues, communicate honestly and openly about them, understand how to deal with school phobia, express empathy, and demonstrate unconditional love and support to your child.

People Also Read:

Getting Your Child Ready For School Again

School Life Problems | Child Psychologist | My Fit Brain

Role of A School Counsellor | Student Counsellor

20 Success Mantra for Schools | Child Psychologist

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Rutuja Joshi

Rutuja Joshi

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Rutuja Joshi

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Counselor, Consultant Psychologist Mumbai, India

Area Of Expertise : Parenting, Self Improvement, Work Stress, Job Stress, Personality Test, Decision Making, Career Counselling, Adolescent Counselling, TeenAge Problems, School Counsellings

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