School Phobia

A phobia is basically a "fear of fear" because those who have it aren't genuinely fearful of any particular item, place, circumstance, object, or animal, despite the fact that kids often think there's something to be scared of. 

A typical childhood behaviour issue known as "school phobia" or "school refusal" refers to a child's refusal to go to school. 

 Scolionophobia and Didaskaleinophobia are the extreme fears of school.

A child may refuse to go to school or not want to go due to fear or another reason. A school avoidance disorder may cause a youngster to be unable to attend class. Physical signs like depression or illness may appear as a result. Anxiety can make a child prefer staying home and engaging in extracurricular activities over attending school. Keeping up is difficult. Social difficulties. ‘Being exposed'. A lot of worry and anxiety can be brought on by the difficulties of learning and thinking in new ways and such emotions may give rise to worries that influence youngsters both inside and outside of school.

 Families might suffer greatly from school fear. Along with physical factors like diet, parents should also be worried about your child's mental wellbeing. Parents need to strike a balance between these two because having too much of either one can cause mental deterioration.

 Depending on the child's age, school phobia may reveal itself in many ways. Younger children could struggle to separate from their caregiver, develop behavioural problems (such as tantrums), or be resistant to doing their schoolwork. Children may find it difficult to interact or relate to their peers. Today's school fear, unfortunately, may be brought on by online or in-person bullying.



By closely observing absence patterns, teachers and nurses can identify school phobia:

·         Strong affixing: Children who struggle in school might feel particularly close to one parent, usually the mother. 

·         Separation phobia: Children who are afraid of going to school could be afraid of being separated from their parents because they worry about losing them while they are away from home. 

·         Issue at the school: The parent may unknowingly reinforce the child's school phobia by allowing him or her to stay home. School phobia may be the child's unconscious response to a seemingly overwhelming problem at school.

·         Academic issues: Children frequently experience academic or learning challenges. They may decide not to attend school as a result of the stress they put on themselves. 

·         Peer problems: The youngster interacts with many different individuals at school, including his peers. Children are prone to peer pressure, bullying, and disagreements with their friends. They might even decide not to go to school at all. 

·         Conflict with teacher: A teacher who embarrasses your child may make them hesitant to attend school, so try to avoid conflicts with them. 

·         Traumatic experiences: Children may refuse to attend school as a result of some stressful events, such divorce or parental separation.



·         Vomiting: When the child learns he will be attending school, he might vomit. 

·         Headaches: Once the youngster is permitted to remain at home, the headaches can go away. 

·         Diarrhea: One of the signs of school fear is diarrhea. 

·         Pain in the stomach: The patient may claim to have discomfort in any area of his body in order to miss school. 

·         Moderate fever: The patient even exhibits low-grade fever as a result of their anxiousness.



Numerous statistics exist on the prevalence of school fear:

·         About 5% of school-aged youngsters actively despise going to school and try to avoid it whenever possible. 

·         About 90,000 students, or 1% of all students, could be classified as "school phobics." 

·         The peak onset is between the ages of 11 and 12, and boys make up well over half of the population. 

·         According to research, the ultimate peak age is around 14 years old and may be linked to depression.


Common School Phobia:


Scolionophobia (Fear of School):

Scholionophobia, which derives from the Latin word scius meaning "knowledge," is another common name for fear of going to school. Scolionophobia is an overwhelming fear of school. Though not a formal professional diagnosis, it is frequently a sign of other anxiety disorders. Children are especially vulnerable to school rejection during periods of change, such as when they begin middle school or high school. Children who have a fear of going to school frequently have severe bodily symptoms.

             At some point, many youngsters find it difficult to go to school. However, kids who have scolionophobia experience anxiety or unease just thinking about going to school. They might even get sick physically. A youngster with scolionophobia frequently skips numerous days of school for ambiguous or unidentified causes.

          If a child's caregiver has a tendency to be too protective, they are more prone to acquire school phobia. Naturally, some kids are more fearful than others. Additionally, children are more likely to fear school if they: 

·         a single child. 

·         the youngest kid. 

·         chronically unwell.


Statistics: Approximately 2% to 5% of kids, or up to 1 in every 20 kids, have school fear. Young youngsters aged 5 to 6 or middle school-aged kids aged 10 to 11 are the most susceptible. Scolionophobia symptoms may also manifest at times of transition, such as when your child starts high school.


Causes: Children may develop scolionophobia at school as a result of: 

·         Bullying, teasing, or physical harm threats from other kids. 

·         Fear of rebuke, punishment, or mockery from a teacher or other members of the faculty. 

·         Learning challenges like dyslexia (language and reading impairments) or dyscalculia (difficulty understanding math and numbers). 

·         Extreme worry or fear of terrible occurrences, such as dread of a school shooting.


Symptoms: The main signs of scolionophobia in many kids are physical. Children may feel the following things while they consider attending school: 



vomiting and nauseous. 


uncontrolled shaking or tremors 


Additionally, psychological problems in children include: 

·         Clinginess, such as a fear of separating from carers. 

·         Fear of the dark. 

·         Nightmares. 

·         preoccupation with concerns for their own or others' safety. 

·         Tantrums.



With the help of a caregiver or instructor, children with minor scolionophobia symptoms can conquer their worries about going to school. If symptoms are serious or connected to another mental health diagnosis, children may benefit from:

·         Talk therapy: Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), often known as talk therapy, aids young patients in recognising unhelpful or false thinking. The therapist shows kids how to swap out irrational thoughts for sensible ones.

·         Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT): DBT helps kids deal with strong emotions by teaching them four skills. Children are taught two acceptance-focused skills and two change-focused skills by the therapist. The objective is to teach kids how their thoughts affect their conduct. With this knowledge, students may better control their negative emotions and social interactions. 

·         Exposure therapy: It is gradually integrating a particular fear into daily life. The first step for kids may be to imagine interactions at school. You eventually have to confront the fear in reality. 

·         Medication: Medication may be beneficial, especially if a child already has another mental health condition. Children may, for instance, use antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). An underlying anxiety problem may be treated with SSRIs like fluoxetine (Prozac) or sertraline (Zoloft).



School phobia is more likely to occur in kids with anxiety problems or other mental health issues. Scolionophobia in children may also include: 

·         Depression. 

·         Disorder of generalized anxiety (GAD). 

·         Disorder of compulsive behaviour (OCD). 

·         Disorder of oppositional defiance. 

·         Trauma-related stress disorder (PTSD). 

·         Social anxiety disorder.



With the proper treatment, many kids may conquer their fear of school. Others never fully recover from anxiety related to school. 

In addition to any formal treatment, kids can acquire coping mechanisms to lessen worry. They might: 

·         To reduce stress, practise meditation or mindfulness. 

·         Exercise your breathing. 

·         Repeat positive and affirmations statements



Didaskaleinophobia is a phobia of attending to or being in school. It is estimated that between 2 and 5 percent of school-age youngsters suffer from this anxiety. Greek didasko, which means to educate, and phobos, which means aversion or terror, are the roots of the word didaskaleinophobia.

          Children have a history of skipping school or "playing truant”. But the youngsters who act in this way aren't always scared of school; anger or boredom are the more frequent causes of their behaviour. Tom Sawyer, a well-known figure from Mark Twain, frequently skipped class but did not have a fear of going to school. He merely had "better things to do," such as seeking out adventures in the wide outdoors.

          Didaskaleinophobia gets full-blown panic attacks at the mere notion of attending school. The majority of psychologists concur that youngsters between the ages of 4-6 are often more susceptible to such phobias. This is frequently because they are stepping outside of the security of their homes for the first time. Since the young child has difficulty adequately expressing his worries, diagnosing this phobia is frequently challenging.



The diagnosis of didaskaleinophobia frequently necessitates a thorough investigation because the young child may not actually be afraid of school; rather, the fear may be related to bullies, riding the school bus, seeing a scary dog on the way to school, or having a harsh teacher. 

         Children with school phobia between the ages of 4 and 6 frequently experience separation anxiety. After leaving for school, kids worry that they might not see their mother (or another loved one) again. A bad or traumatic occurrence (such as a parent's divorce, a death, etc.) at this time can also exacerbate a student's fear of going to school since the mind repeatedly recreates the phobic response as a protective measure against receiving more unpleasant information.

          Didaskaleinophobia may also affect some middle school students (ages 13 to 15). The amount of schoolwork tends to increase significantly during this time, and pupils frequently have to deal with challenging math, science, and other subjects. Their bodies are also going through adolescence and puberty at the same time, which is why it can be a challenging time due to their raging hormones.    

          Bullying, shifting to a new school (which is referred to as school rejection), or an overall unsafe school atmosphere (recent stories of youngsters bringing weapons and other violent things to school) are some other variables which might cause the dread of school phobia.



The physical and emotional symptoms of school anxiety can take many different forms:

·         The idea of having to go to school can cause younger children to sob, scream, or even have a full-blown anxiety attack. They make up illnesses in order to skip school. Others frequently weep nonstop the night before. Parents may find this to be very difficult and disappointing because they frequently are unable to assist the youngster in overcoming their intense anxiety. 

·         When a child is in school, they may constantly think about dying or death (particularly the deaths of loved ones). This can make him/her too clingy to the point that s/he follows its parents around the house all the time. The youngster may also exhibit other phobias, such as the dread of the dark, the fear of monsters or ghosts, or the fear of being left alone.

·         Other Didaskaleinophobia symptoms include lightheadedness, palpitations in the heart, dry mouth, extreme sweating, shortness of breath, nausea, and full-blown panic attacks. 

·         Teenagers may not talk about their phobias, but they will exhibit avoidance behaviours, such as making up false illnesses or other excuses to stay home from school. Depression is a typical phobia symptom.



·         Family-school conferences: The child is assisted in returning to school via school-family conferences; those who work with these children must understand that they genuinely desire to attend school but are unable to do so for a variety of reasons. 

·         behavioural and cognitive treatment: As research suggests that cognitive/behaviour therapy is more helpful in the treatment of anxiety disorders in children than traditional psychotherapy because it helps the child learn how to calm anxiety in phobias, cognitive/behaviour therapy entails modifying the way a patient behaves. 

·         Family therapy: By offering behavioural guidance and emotional support, family counselling can assist parents in understanding and managing the school-phobic child. 

·         Progressive desensitization: This method enables a youngster to gradually change an emotionally stressful response to school without feeling distressed. 

·         Exposure treatment: This method involves gradually encouraging the child to change maladaptive and inappropriate cognitions while exposing the child to emotionally unpleasant events of increasing intensity and duration so that the youngster can bear the initially upsetting experience without showing discomfort. 

·         Operational behavioural strategies: These reward desired behaviours in order to make them occur more frequently.



The fear of school phobia is a perfectly treatable disorder, so if you're a parent whose child has it, you may relax. Remember that younger children are more pliable than adults therefore treatment is highly likely to be successful even if it might be terribly distressing and overwhelming to witness the child in anguish every day.

          Although medications do help the youngster with their anxiety, they should only be used in very serious circumstances and under the supervision of medical professionals. Additionally, it's important to understand that medications merely treat the symptoms of phobias rather than curing them completely. As a parent, it is imperative that you offer your child support at this time. Find out why the child is terrified of going to school, and if necessary, talk to the teacher or the school nurse about the fear. 

         When overcoming a fear of going to school, positive imagery, music, deep breathing, and other relaxation techniques have all been found to be extremely beneficial—especially in teens.


Fear of alienation: 

Some individuals fear they won't be able to make friends because they are foreigners, others because they were abused in school, or they just don't know anyone. But if you don't look for it, alienation at school and college is essentially impossible. After all, those who select the same course of study as you are likely to have some common interests. And even if not, there are still a lot of people out there; if you try, you can join them. They participate in a variety of clubs and activities.


Fear of Social situations:

Children who have social anxiety may find it difficult to interact in groups or in social situations. They could struggle to recognise social signs or adhere to social norms. 

          Some children who have problems conversing may feel as though they are unsure of what to say or how to say it. In particular, if they've had unpleasant experiences in the past, they can be terrified of saying or doing something embarrassing in front of others.


Fear of Leaving Home:

Children who learn and think in a different way may resist going to school or spending time away from their parents. They could shy away from overnight excursions, sleepovers, and other out-of-home activities.


Fear of failure: 

One of the most common worries students have is, some people never get over this anxiety, and it paralyzes them, preventing them from making crucial life decisions.

       Kids may want to quit up straight away if they experience failure when trying something for the first time. Fear of failing can prevent someone who lacks confidence from moving forward to try something new or unusual. 

         Children avoid taking risks or trying new things because they don't want to "fail," which may be a painful cycle. However, they cannot advance if they don't attempt.

          You must comprehend yourself if you wish to get over this phobia. Consider the reasons behind your fear of failing, address them, and even try failing at anything. This will assist you in realizing that failure isn't as terrifying as it first appears to be.


Fear of Examination: 

Every one of us has at some point in our lives had to take a exam, and many of us have probably experienced stress as well. The majority of students experience general anxiety before or during exams, and if they do, they are likely experiencing "xenophobia" or "exam fever." It is depressing to observe how negatively it impacts pupils not only socially but also psychologically, cognitively, and emotionally.



·         Inadequate preparation: Most students who are unprepared for the exam or some students who weren't paying attention in class struggle with preparation since they forget things during exams and experience exam stress as a result. 

·         Irrational and incorrect views: As a result of unjustified anxieties, students begin to doubt their abilities. They lack confidence in their skills and think that they may still fall short despite their best efforts. They will not be able to compete with others if they do not receive 100% marks. Such false assumptions place undue stress on the learner, who begins to become uptight and develops a fear of the test.

·         Unjustified pressure: As a result of the expectations that his or her parents, teachers, peers, friends, and acquaintances place on him or her, the youngster begins to experience unwelcome pressure. This pressure causes tension, and this "stress" causes a youngster to fear the unknown, which in turn causes morbid dread of inspection. 

·         Fear of failure: Students avoid exams out of concern that they won't earn the required passing grades. The students' inability to focus negatively affects their understanding and breeds exam anxiety as a result of this strange fear.

·         Low self-esteem: Another factor contributing to students' exam phobia is a lack of confidence and self-esteem to take on challenges. When students are unsure of their preparation and planning for a test or examination, they often become confused and have trouble seeing clearly, which causes them to attempt the paper improperly and significantly lowers their marks/grades.



·         Be Supportive: The finest action parents can take is to assist their kids. Be encouraging and assist them in overcoming their anxiety. However, be careful not to pay the child undue attention since this could make them feel uneasy. Be sympathetic and loving.


Help to study: Remind your child that it's natural to feel anxious before an exam. Describe the effects that tension or stress can have on one's mental health. This could make you feel less confident. Find the most effective methods for studying for exams. Always keep in mind that every learner is unique. Finding the appropriate approaches for young pupils is crucial.

·         Stop Comparing with other kids: Parents frequently compare their children to other children without considering the repercussions. Comparing your child to other children frequently entails pointing out the qualities that they lack. As a result, parents unwittingly discourage their children. Avoid doing this; instead, offer encouragement to young kids. The best thing you can do is to evaluate your performance against that of the younger students. Those who are unsure of how to study for tests will find this to be a useful method.

·         Pay Close Attention to All Subjects: If you focus only on one subject and try to finish the entire syllabus for that subject, you risk missing out on other subjects. 

·         Sleep Well: The mind needs a good night's sleep in order to function actively. 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night are recommended for students. You can also ask your parents to help you plan your timetable and regulate your sleeping hours.



School phobia disappears quickly, especially if a parent enforces attendance. To create a cohesive home and school strategy, however, communication with school staff will be required if the issue persists. Chronic school phobias may worsen academic achievement, peer relationships, work quality, and may even cause adult anxiety, panic attacks, or psychiatric illnesses if left untreated. So that a child's anxieties can be reduced, the issues he or she has with school phobia must be addressed as soon as possible. Recognising the issue, figuring out the root reason or causes of the child's distress, and collaborating with school personnel to find a solution are crucial stages. Parents must see themselves as members of a team that collaborates for the benefit of their child. The objective is to get the kid back in school and in class every day. In the best case scenario, when a plan is put into action and changes are achieved, the student's confidence and enjoyment of school will grow. However, a therapist or psychiatrist may be required if the school fear is severe.