Daughter doesn't want to go to school

by Mary Ann
(Virginia)

School Fear

School Fear

My 8 year old daughter has progressively gotten worse over the past month. She doesn't want to go to school, she says she has a stomach ache and feels like she is going to throw up around 15 minutes before her school bus comes.


One day my husband took her to school and the teacher had to take her to class and she screamed for her dad all the way down the hall. She periodically wets the bed, must sleep with a night light on and would prefer to sleep with us when we let her. She has been throwing temper tantrums like a two year old over the silliest things. She is constantly on the move and her attention span is almost null. She is able to do her school homework just fine.


There are only a couple of things I can think of that may have triggered her anxiety:


1. This past summer my mom witnessed a car accident and parked the car, left my daughter in the car and tried to attend to the people but my daughter was freaking out really bad and she had to return to the car.


2. She started 3rd grade this year at the intermediate school which is a new school for her but she has never had difficulty in the past with transitioning schools.


3. She was being bullied because of her glasses but she told me and we dealt with the issue with her teacher and the students and when I ask her she says that they haven't said anything more to her.


4. One day at school she went to the bathroom and apparently one of the teachers heard her crying, went in and got her and took her to the nurse’s office and they called me stating she said her stomach hurt. We have since taken her to the Dr twice and they weren't able to find anything wrong with her.

Am I missing something here????? I am scared and am not certain what to do? I don't want to even send her to school or have her out of my sight until I find out what is going on.

Help me!


Dear mom:


I am not sure what is going on with your daughter but it sounds like some form of anxiety. I would spend some time trying to isolate what it is she is thinking at night, when she is separated from you and when she goes to school.

All of those things you mentioned can be especially stressful for a child who is prone to any form of anxiety.

When children experience anxiety, it is very often in their stomach. When they are anxious, they, just like us, will avoid the things that scare them.


Treatment for this entails educating children about anxiety and how their thoughts and physical reactions are not real, encouraging them to make small steps to face the things that they are afraid of, rewarding them for the brave behavior. It sounds like you may need a few sessions with a therapist in your area to help you with this process. Good Luck

Kristen McClure

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