Frequently Asked Questions

What is school refusal?
What problems come with school refusal?
How common is school refusal?
Will this book help me?

Q: What is school refusal?
A: School refusal refers to a child's difficulty attending school or remaining in classes for an entire day. Often referred to as "truancy" or "school phobia", there are actually many different reasons that children may have trouble going to school. Some common forms of school refusal behavior are:

  1. Repeated misbehavior in the mornings to avoid school
  2. Anxiety and stress in the mornings with pleas for nonattendance
  3. Repeated tardiness in the mornings followed by attendance
  4. Repeated absences or skipping of classes mixed with attendance
  5. Complete absence from school for a period of time

Q: What problems come with school refusal?
A: Children with trouble attending school can show many different kinds of behavior problems, depending on the reason why they are refusing to attend school. Some of the problems they may be experiencing are:

  1. General/nonspecific anxiety or worry that something bad will happen
  2. Nervousness about being in front of others or having to perform before others
  3. Irritability and restlessness
  4. Trouble concentrating
  5. Trouble sleeping or a feeling of being overly tired, especially in the morning
  6. Physical symptoms such as stomachaches, headaches, nausea, dizziness, or fainting

Q: How common is school refusal?
A: Up to 28% of children and adolescents will, at some point during their school careers, have trouble attending school. This figure includes all the different forms of school refusal behavior listed above, and makes trouble attending school more common than almost all other childhood problems, such as ADD/ADHD or depression.

Q: Will this book help me?
A: This book will be helpful is your child is having trouble going to school or staying in school for an entire day, and school refusal is his or her main and sole behavior problem. If your child is refusing school and has other problems such as general noncompliance, lack of friends, or ADD/ADHD, you should address those problems first, as school refusal may be just a symptom of the larger problem.
This book will be most helpful if your child has been having trouble attending school for less than two months. It may also be helpful to parents whose child previously had problems attending school. If your child has been having constant problems attending school for more than four months, you may wish to consult a qualified mental health professional.

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