school refusal
Photo credit: flickr user – Elizabeth Albert

For the first few days or weeks of kindergarten, your son or daughter probably stood at the door screaming and crying. They would try anything they could think of to not have to go to school. School refusal, though par for the course for young children, can be indicative of much more serious issues amongst teenagers.

School refusal during high school

After an initial bout of school refusal in younger years, adolescents typically do not exhibit school refusal behaviors until later in their adolescence. It could be in the form of not attending school or failing to stay at school for the whole day. It is important to note that school refusal is not just playing hooky.

It isn’t driven by the allure of having fun outside of school, but rather by an aversion to school itself. – Rachel Busman, PsyD

School refusal, in late adolescence, is more about the teen being afraid of going to school, than the teen just wants to stay at home and play video games.
Although school refusal at a very young age is typically attributed to attachment and anxiety issues, school refusal during teen years can be attributed to many factors. These can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Bullying
  • Difficulty forming friendships
  • Transition to a new school
  • Academic issues
  • Pressure from peers to do other activities

Anxiety from going to school or facing certain situations can result in physical symptoms. It can be difficult for parents to decipher whether an upset stomach or headache is a medical or a psychological issue.

Identifying the root issue

In order to address school refusal in teens, the underlying problems need to be addressed. Ordering your teen to go to school will only make their anxieties worse. Your son or daughter needs to be better equipped to deal with their fears in a healthy way. Seeking help from a therapist can help your teen understand why he or she refuses to go to school and learn new coping mechanisms for handeling stress and anxiety.
If the cause of school refusal is bullying or other peer problems, a collaborative approach with school staff or other parents is also needed. Social media could be a good indicator if bullying is occurring. Look at recent posts from and about your teen on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Wilderness therapy can help with school refusal

If your teen is struggling with social anxiety or other peer issues that are resulting in a refusal to attend school, blueFire Wilderness Therapy can help. Identifying the root issues and teaching teens new ways to handle stress and anxiety can have a positive impact on not only their academics, but their home life as well.
To learn more about how blueFire can help with your teen navigate school refusal, please call us today at 844-413-1999.


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