school refusal

Dear Suzie, my kid bunks school as she fake illness, im really worried that there might be something wrong at school but when i asked she said nothing.


There may be a few things to consider here. One may be that she is having difficulties at school and finding it hard to talk about it. Whether it is bullying  by other kids, being picked on by a teacher or falling behind with school work, kids tend to feel it’s all their own fault. They feel guilty and stupid and often think they deserve the trouble they are in. So they won’t tell you what’s going on in case you dismiss it by blaming them too. Or, they’re scared you won’t be able to help and that would leave them feeling even worse.


You can get round this by being loving and accepting, by sharing with her that you are worried about her and you need to talk and that whatever she tells you, you won’t be angry with her or tell her off. I would think you would need to ask the school to be onside with you, sharing with each other what might be going wrong and why. Can you talk to her teacher or the year head?  They may be able to offer support and help.


But I think you may also need to consider whether she won’t go to school NOT because of something she fears there but something she fears may happen when she leaves her home. Children who are seeing family conflict or separation or illness often become school phobic. If a family member has recently left, or something has happened to remind her of a loss, or someone is ill or she’s seeing scary rows or fights, she may be scared to go to school in case when she comes home something else has happened.


Whatever, it sounds as if you need some support and help. I suggest calling the Parentline Plus Helpline – it’s free, confidential and open 24/7 on 0808 800 2222. Good luck!

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