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proexpert37
proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1374
Experience:  Teacher 20+ years, Parent, Expert Mentor
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My 10- year-old daughter does not want to go to school because

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My 10- year-old daughter does not want to go to school because she is afraid for social situations outside the class room like when there is no teacher/supervisor around like during lunch time. She says children speak or behave badly towards each other and although she did not experience this herself yet, she is afraid this might happen to her and does not know how to react. She has many friends but hates to be in situations with many children and children she does not really know well.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 2 years ago.
Hello and Thank You for using Just Answer. I am sorry to hear about the problems that your daughter is experiencing. Could you provide some background information? What grade is she in? Is she at a new school? Has the teacher mentioned anything to you about out of the ordinary behavior? Have there been any recent major changes in your daughter's life? Thank you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She is in Grade 5 now. We are a Dutch expat-family living in Dubai. We live in Dubai for 1 year now. The first year my daughter was in an American International school. In the beginning of this year we moved our kids to a Britisch school (was my daughter's own choice, coming from a British school before, but when we arrived there was no place available). The move to the British school did not work out for my daughter. She felt completely lost (2500 students in one building). She felt safe in the classroom, liked her teacher, made new friends, but outside the classroom and especially during lunch time she felt scared. She got physical problems ( stressed, could not sleep, difficult to breath etc.), and trying to make up excuses to skip school. After 5 weeks we decided to move her back to the previous American school. Now we find that the same problems start again (a bit less intense). So there is a pattern there. She is always looking for escapes to avoid lunch times. Kept her home for a few days already. In the evening tensions build up about going to school the next day. The teacher (after having my daughter in class for 3 weeks now) has not said anything except that she is settling in perfectly and already made friends. She does have a lot of friends and is a caring, sensitive, responsible, creative, smart girl. I have not discussed this yet with the teacher. It is a very emotional situation for me as a parent, seeing that she is unhappy and tiring as well especially since we thought we had resolved the situation by putting her back into her old school with a lot of familiar faces.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry, it is already midnight at this side of the globe. I'll check my email in the morning. Thanks!
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 2 years ago.
Ok..no problem....I will have a thorough answer for you before you awaken. : )
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 2 years ago.
Hello and Thank You for responding. As you read this, I am probably now asleep. :) Nonetheless, your daughter's refusal to go to school is her way of dealing with a problem that is very real to her. She is obviously afraid of the other students beyond the classroom walls. She may be even afraid of being bullied which has become an ever increasing problem. She may have developed a social anxiety disorder which is present in .1% of children or about 1 in a thousand. She has developed a persistent fear of social situations in which she is exposed to unfamiliar people. She has a fear that she may act in a humiliating or embarrassing way if approached by others. Her fear of school social situations has provoked anxiety which can turn into panic, crying, and tantrums. The combination of unknown teachers, unknown students, and the school itself make your daughter so phobic that she refuses to go to school.

However, do not allow her to stay home from school. The more she is exposed to social situations, the more she will feel less anxious. You may need to discuss the issues with her teacher so that she can assist your daughter with her fears. She can provide a special buddy for your daughter in social situations. Do not be ashamed of reaching out to your daughter's teacher. She can assist with the behavior modification greatly. Additionally if there is a school psychologist, let them know about your daughter's issues and he/she may be able to provide intervention and coping strategies that your daughter can utilize in school social settings.

In the meantime, you can help your daughter at home through role playing activities. You act as an unfamiliar student and your daughter acts as herself. Approach your daughter by saying something mean like she fears the kids may say to her. Teach her how to respond. Do this several times a week until her responses become almost natural and she is not fearful. She needs to be mentally ready to handle any situation. You can arm her with the ways in which she should respond.

One positive aspect is that your daughter has many friends. Children with a serious social anxiety disorder would be very lonely and not have many friends. Also, your daughter seems to perform well in the classroom. If her anxiety was becoming worse, there would be problems in the classroom as well like fearing to read aloud in class, fearing to speak to adults, fearing to start a conversation, fearing to write on the board in front of the class, fearing to answer questions in class, fearing to work and play with other kids, fearing to ask the teacher for help, and fearing to eat in the cafeteria.

Your daughter will be fine. She needs a little direction. With the guidance from parents and support from teachers and other school personnel, she can get through this stage in her life. Continue to stress the importance of attending school. As her parent, you have such a powerful influence over her. Believe in your patenting abilities and believe in your daughter. You both CAN do it.

Hope this was helpful. Have a wonderful day. If you need more assistance, please feel free to let me know. Take care.
proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1374
Experience: Teacher 20+ years, Parent, Expert Mentor
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