5 Reasons it’s a Bad Idea to Let Your Child Skip School Due to Anxiety

sweet little female latin child studying on desk lasking for help in stress with a tired face expression in children education and back to school concept isolated on white background

If you are a parent to an anxious child, you know how difficult it can be to persuade them to do something they are worried or fearful about.

It is a basic parenting instinct to nurture and reassure your child that everything will be okay.

However, if you are getting pulled into the direction of letting your child miss school because they are afraid of kids, the bus, tests, the teacher, getting sick, missing you, or whatever the topic may be it is time to stop immediately and turn things around because you will make the stress and anxiety WORSE. If your child skips school because of stress and anxiety, this will hurt them and not help them.

Here are some reasons why avoiding school and rescuing your child is not a good idea:
1) Avoidance and escape will become the go to coping strategy for dealing with worry, fear, anxiety and other difficult emotions. We need to teach them to face their fears not run away.
2) They will miss out on important skills such as socialization with peers. This is important and necessary for their development. This can increase their dependency on parents and not lead them towards becoming independent, capable adults.

3) They will get  behind in schoolwork and this will lead to them getting behind academically.

4) They will be buying into common anxiety tricks that include negative beliefs that they are weak and cannot handle challenges.

5) They will not learn that their worst fears probably won’t come true. Even if the fears and worries do come true your child will not be learning the skills to handle these challenging situations. They will be missing out ¬†on valuable learning experiences.

Anxiety, fear, and worry are all uncomfortable feelings. We don’t like to feel uncomfortable and we don’t want our children to be uncomfortable. However, discomfort is a part of life. All feelings are a part of life. We cannot choose to only feel comfortable, happy, silly, and calm feelings. Through fear we grow to be brave. Usually our own anxiety responses get activated when our kids are distressed. If you jump in and rescue them it may be for your need to feel better right away not what is best for your child. If so, it is important to work on that yourself and remember feelings will pass. The only way to feel better is to face the situation and let the feelings go through you, not avoid them. If we avoid feelings we make them worse. If we accept and face them, we develop a tolerance for the feelings and they become less intense and more manageable. You and your child will learn that it is just a feeling and feelings don’t kill you. Feelings give you good information about a situation and about yourself and out of that we all grow. Psychologists use a fancy word called “habituation”. Habituation means we get used to the feeling and the feeling gets better. You can teach your child to be brave and build their confidence and competence. It’s a great thing to see! Oh, and in case it wasn’t clear: Don’t let your child skip school due to stress and anxiety, it will make it worse, not better and you will have much bigger problems to deal with. Children can face their fears and become wonderful adults, just watch!

If you are concerned about school anxiety or school refusal, please click on the online scheduler below to learn about child cognitive behavioral therapy and choose initial phone consultation.

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