Teens refusing school isn’t exactly a new thing–ever since school began, teens have been trying to get out of it by feigning sickness or skipping class. But what about when the reason behind teens refusing school is more malignant than not wanting to sit through an hour and a half of Algebra?
When teens refusing school is a deeper issue
The difference between school refusal and other types of teen behavior has to do with the reason behind the behavior and the frequency.
Skipping class because they hate math isn’t school refusal. Pretending they’re sick once or twice to stay home and play video games isn’t school refusal.
Complaining about sudden physical symptoms right before school to stay home or regularly visiting the school nurse to get sent home are signs of school refusal, though. Especially if those symptoms tend to vanish pretty fast. If this happens often, there’s probably something more going on than simply not wanting to go to school.
School refusal itself isn’t a disorder, but a symptom of something bigger; this is usually anxiety-based. For younger kids, it’s usually about separation, but for older kids it may have more to do with the stress that’s attached to school.
I’m not just talking about homework. When kids transition from elementary to middle to high school, things can get complicated. Suddenly, there’s more homework, more responsibility, more social complexities, more expectations, more pressure–more everything. It can become overwhelming.
It’s simpler to believe that the only reason for teens refusing school is them “just being teenagers.” But the truth is more complex and difficult to deal with. It’s important for parents to be aware of the possibility of school refusal in order to help deal with it–otherwise, that anxiety can grow into something much more dangerous.
When you begin recognizing school refusal as a pattern, it’s important to ask your teen how they’re feeling and open up an objective path of communication. If they express feelings of helplessness or fear related to school, extra support could be helpful.
If you believe your daughter is struggling with anxiety or a different mental health issue, it’s critical to reach out to a professional for guidance. There are options available to help your family.
Solstice is here for your daughter
Solstice is a groundbreaking residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls often grapple with depression, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us. Dealing with these issues can get confusing and overwhelming fast–but we’re here to help guide you.
Through a unique combination of therapeutic programs based upon both traditional and holistic mental health treatment, we treat our clients with age and gender specific techniques. We strive to empower teenage women with the ability to believe in themselves and provide the tools and motivation required to instill these beliefs for life.
For more information about how we help teens refusing school at Solstice, please contact us at (866) 278-3345.