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School phobia in children

School phobia in children
Everyone experience fear and anxiety at least once in their lifetime. But what if it is debilitating,
disturbing and severe? What a child loses his /her admission to a school just because he/she is
afraid? More often than not, parents think it is a deadly sin, rather than a disease with
underlying pathology. Since the condition last very long, it is frustration to both the child and
the family members. The untreated cases might result in life-long panic disorder. If not treated
well, it can lead to anxiety and panic disorders in adulthood. Fortunately, early diagnosis and
acceptance of the condition makes the treatment very easy. One of the major hindrance of
school phobia is its interference with social, cognitive, motor skills resulting in poor grades,
lack of interest in learning and disturbances of physical health of the child. Society must
understand the fact that school phobia alone may not exist instead, it is an early stage of anxiety
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One study in US has proved that 1.3% of teenagers (14-16 years ) and 4.7% of children a( 7-11
years) suffer from school phobia. 5% of school-aged children are identified as kids refuse to go
to school . School phobia is closely linked with brain function and its chemistry. Our brain has a
region called Amygdala and the chemical imbalance of brain strikes this region to respond
negatively. Neurotransmitters responsible for brain functioning undergo a state of imbalance
causing panicky. But as a parent, one must also explore the reason for what triggered the illness.
This might be because of the family and school environment or Peer issues, traumatic life
events in the past. On the very first day of schooling, if a child witness an unexpected threat –
unpleasant experience, then this could also be a reasonably an acceptable fear factor. Teachers
and parents must also dwell deep into the fact that a child must love being a school child. Many
times kids though fearless, they pretend to be afraid to keep the school at bay. Some of the
children dislike specific subject or teacher can surprisingly develop.
Symptoms of school phobia
School phobia may coexist with other worries expressing a strong resistance to attend school,
complaining of frequent stomach aches, headaches and other physical complaints, temper
tantrums, separation anxiety, feeling insecure, not willing to talk to other children. Few children
may show clinging behavior, difficulty going to sleep in the night time. In extremely chronic
cases, child feels depressed, frequent nightmares, fear of the dark, poor memory and attention.
Teachers and parents must be quite familiar with the symptoms of school phobia. They must
have their own modus operandi in place to tackle the situation. A true assessment of the
complete picture is much necessary to decide the treatment options. In most of the cases, a
change in environment, parental support, a short-term diversion, counselling by a professional
counselor would suffice to manage the problem. However, if the symptoms exist for more than
3 months, psychotropic drugs might help a lot .for tackling it. It is advisable that a closest parent
must accompany the early days of an young child`s schooling. Teachers must advise the coping
strategies that can help to manage when a child fells anxious due to school BEST IELTS
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Psychological therapies for school phobia
The treatment of school phobia is multimodal encompassing assistance from Doctors, nurses,
teachers, parents and counsellors. Some of the well-known therapies are as under
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - CBT: This works on the fact that every behaviors can be
learnt and unlearnt. The therapist will teach how to unlearn the specific phobia. It is one
of the derivative of Behavior Therapy.
2. Systematic Desensitization: The child is taught how to modify his/ her reaction to the
fear factors within the school.
3. Gradual Exposure Therapy: The child is slowly exposed to the stressful environment. As
the days progress, child can take control of what he/she is undergoing.
Guidelines for parents
1. Parents must not be fobbed when the child express concern over schooling or not willing
to attend classes anymore.
2. Never threaten or forcibly drag the child to school.
3. Rewarding and praising might work for some time but parents must be cautious as the
child tend to habituate to praising.
4. There is no overnight wonder that treat the school phobia. Patience and the active
participation is the key to manage anxiety.
5. Don’t be afraid to go over the persons head you are currently dealing with.
6. Never show your anger over petty issues , familial conflicts or because of workplace
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