PARENTAL SUPPORT AGAINST SCHOOL PHOBIA
The experts pointed out that the parents needed to support their children in case their enthusiasm and anxiety turned into stress during the times when millions of students take the first steps to new academic year. It was reported that students might experience school phobia in all stages of education life and that the families needed to avoid behaviours such as blaming, scolding, and punishing. The solution is showing understanding and support.
Clinical Psychologist Nilgün Köstem, Coordinator of IUE Psychological Development and Counselling Centre, stated that some of the students experienced school phobia in the first days of school. She said, “Small children, who don’t want to leave their parents during the transition period, who cry and get stressed, are expected to stay at school without the presence of their parents. However, some children can’t come to terms with the idea of parting from their parents even after quite some time. Anxiety, school refusal, crying out continues. This brings school phobia/separation anxiety into minds.”
Köstem said that children, unfitting to their age, develop excessive fear of separation from home or from the people they are attached to like parents, and then experience crying and tantrums, stomach-aches, nausea, sleeping problems, appetite loss, etc. Köstem indicated that there might be several reasons of school phobia, and she said they experienced anxiety about something bad would happen to them or that their parents would forget to pick them up from school. “Children might fear that they may get loss. On the other hand, they might be concerned about failing at school activities, be subject to bad behaviours by their teachers and classmates. In such cases, blaming, scolding, and punishment may cause them to draw back and, cause the issue to get worse,” said Köstem.
Recommendations to overcome school phobia
Köstem said that parents needed to reassure their kids that the fear would go away in time. She made the following recommendations to the parents:
“Make sure to tell your children that you understand how they feel, that you do not blame them or get angry at them, and that it is something beyond their control. Show them empathy and ask them what they are afraid of at school, and make them understand that those concerns are unfounded. Not letting the child to go to school and keeping them home will reinforce that behaviour. The same parent, if possible, should take the child to school and maybe keep the child at school for shorter periods in the beginning and increase the time gradually. This would show your child there is nothing to fear and make him/her understand nothing bad would happen there. You should always appreciate your child, and show support. You should stay calm and be a role model when your child gets anxious and panics.”
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