School phobia, causes and solutions

School phobia, causes and solutions

Clara is eight years old and does not want to go to school. Every morning, since the end of summer vacations, he cries in dismay and refuses to leave his parents' house. These, who do not know how to deal with the problem, insist that she should attend class because it is very important to her, but Clara shows a lot of anxiety, in addition to a strong stomach ache and repeats again and again that she does not want to go to class . Clara is suffering from social phobia, a problem presented by about 2.4% of school-age children and that can be treated successfully.


  • 1 What is school phobia?
  • 2 Causes of school phobia
  • 3 Symptoms of school phobia
  • 4 Treatment of school phobia

What is school phobia?

The phobias They are irrational fears before stimuli or events that do not pose a danger in themselves and that generate an extreme response in those who suffer from them. So, the school phobia It is a feeling of anguish and anxiety that some children experience at the idea of ​​attending school. This type of phobia has a lot to do with the separation anxiety and his name began to be used in 1941, to define the behavior of those children who did not attend school because this generated a lot of anxiety.

Many children refuse the idea of ​​going to school at any given time. It is, in fact, normal that between 18-24 months children show separation anxiety and fall into tears or tantrums at the idea of ​​separating from their parents when they have to start going to school.

However, school phobia occurs gradually and progressively over time, usually in children between 5-7 years and 11-14 years. These present a great anxiety and stress at the idea of ​​going to school and this does not happen to avoid a specific event such as a test or exam or because they have no interest in going, as with school absenteeism, but because the idea of ​​going to school itself It causes them great psychological and emotional discomfort.

Causes of school phobia

This phobia is related to anxiety and fear of separation and can be the cause of a confluence of factors, both contextual, how genetic. Some contextual factors can be stressful events in the family that cause discomfort at the idea of ​​separation, such as parental losses, moving, illnesses or even an overprotection of the child at home. Many times this phobia begins after a period in which the child has spent a lot of time at home, because of a health or personal problem.

There may also be problems at school that affect the child when not wanting to go, such as learning difficulties not addressed, fear of criticism, or social problems with peers.

A predisposition to anxiety is also relevant when explaining this type of phobia, which is closely associated with other problems such as agoraphobia or depression.

Symptoms of school phobia

Children with school phobia often suffer from different symptoms. From symptoms psychological such as anxiety, stress, or panic attacks, even symptoms physicists like dizziness or stomach aches. Some of the symptoms that usually occur in general are:

  • Stomach aches, nausea, dizziness or headache when thinking about going to school that are not associated with other physical problems such as diseases.
  • Crying, tantrums or even panic attacks at the time of separation.
  • Great concern that something happens at home while they are at school.
  • Trouble sleeping and / or nightmares.
  • Negotiation to not attend school, such as committing to do homework at home.

Treatment of school phobia

School phobia can be a temporary problem, but if a school phobia persists over time and is not treated properly, the child runs the risk of ending up suffering a academic and social deterioration, being able to drag certain anxiety problems in the adult stage. It is because of that treat this difficulty on time It can be essential for the correct development and emotional stability of children.

To address this problem, parents and teachers must recognize the situation that the child is living and work as a team with psychological health professionals so that the problem can be overcome.

The professionals of the child psychological health they usually address this type of phobias with the cognitive behavioral therapy, a therapy that seems to be the most successful for the recovery of patients in these cases and that according to some study results, ensures that 80% of children with this phobia can return to attend their schools normally, one year after treatment. This therapy seeks to find the maladaptive cognitive and behavioral patterns that form the basis of the problem, to modify them for more beneficial ones, in addition to working on anxiety with different techniques.

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