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Sage Alliance Blog Post



Understanding School Refusal in Your Teen

Understanding School Refusal in Your Teen

After a relaxing, long summer break, your son or daughter might not be excited to head back to school. With time however, it’s common to see kids get back in a routine and adjust to a new grade. However, sometimes a child’s attitude toward attending school grows worse over time. Additionally, big life events such as moving, divorce or starting at a new school might also make them ambivalent toward heading back on the big yellow bus. 

Identifying School Refusal 

Stress and anxiety are deeper issues that can cause your teen to refuse to go to school. What may start as not wanting to wake up early to make it to homeroom can snowball into taking multiple mental health days off at a time. Fear of being away from their parent, being bullied in school, and academic pressure are some other common causes of school refusal as well.  No matter the cause of your teen’s school refusal, having a plan to help them through their struggles is important. 

What Causes It 

Teens are prone to experience school refusal when change occurs, like moving up to middle or high school. School refusal can begin to take over your child’s academic and social life, so it is important to get them help before the issue grows to that extent. 

Discovering the root of the issue is the most important step in helping your teen want to return to school. Many times, your teen can be suffering from deeper anxiety and depression problems and school refusal is just one sign of their mental health struggles. 

How to Handle School Refusal 

Communicating with your child’s school is important in developing a plan that will help your teen. In-district programs like Sage Thrive can intervene to give your child the counseling they need to work through mental health issues. This program places Sage Certified Clinicians in a school district to meet the needs of kids who are struggling emotionally. If available in your area, there are also therapeutic schools that specifically works around your teen’s needs. 

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