It is not unusual for a child to wake up on a Monday morning and complain about having to go to school. Many school age children, when given the choice will want to have a day off of school.  When  complaining becomes intense and persistent, a child is  frequently unable to stay in school the whole day and outright refuses to go to school, this behavior is school refusal. The resistance a school refusal child presents may be direct, stating he/she does not want to go to school or indirect, such as somatic complaints. The behaviors usually occur between eight and thirteen  years of age.  However, any school age child could experience school refusal.

When a child refuses or resists going to school. parents and professionals need to examine the reason he/she may be resistant. School refusal generally develops as a symptom of another concern but left untreated can take on a life of it’s own.  To address these concerns we need to rule out confirmable physical illness and mental health issues(i.e. anxiety).  If those do not appear to be the reason, we can look at other areas.  This would include peer group(encouraging ditching school, bullying), drug/alcohol involvement, grades, family changes or events, or worries/fears.

A child who resists or refuses to go to school because they are fearful could develop from several sources: fear of a person(bullying), fear of leaving someone(seperation anxiety disorder), fear of situations(being around other people), or fear of an event(speaking in front of a class). Age, peer group, and hisotry of the child are neccesary information in determinig motivation.  Family hisotry or events could play a role.  If there is turmoil or conflict at home, this impacts on a child’s emotional stability and tolerance of distress.  If there is a family hisotry of anxiety disorders, a child is more likely to have anxiety themselves.  Regardless of the reason, it is important to remember that the longer you wait the more likelihood a pattern of physical symptoms and emotional behaviors will solidify amking it more difficult to intervene.  An effective apporach is to develop a plan of action with support systems avaialble.  This will include school personnel, doctors, and outside therapists. They will be your biggest allies in overcoming this issue.

” There are two primary choices in life; to except conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility in changing them.”

Denise Waitely, Author

Web Update

Myers Counseling Group website has been updated.  Now available on the website are podcast interviews with local experts on alternative therapies, links to articles on

mental and behavioral health on MCG’s social media sites, “Ask the Expert” answers by Mark Myers available on Quora and also over 70 tips, videos and articles written by Mark Myers on MCG Solutions Blog. All these outlets can be accessed directly from the homepage.

Our latest podcast include:  Vicki Wahler, Senior Counselor at University of Wisconsin Parkside, Kenosha, WI discusses the role of a college Counselor and transitioning to college. Our latest video is All About Anxiety. Presents information on signs, symptoms, and treatment of anxiety disorders.