Fear of School: Why Your Teen’s Scared and How To Help

Going to school is a regular aspect of many teenagers’ lives. However, for some teenagers, the very thought of education causes worry and anxiety.

If your teen is concerned about attending classes, understand why and how to help them handle their anxieties and conquer school phobia in a healthy manner.

What Causes School Fear?

The fear of school, often known as school phobia, occurs when the prospect of attending school – whether dealing with peers or teachers, performing homework, or participating in campus sports – is much too tough or overpowering to your adolescent.

School-related anxiety can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including:

  • Skipping class, arriving late, or departing early are all examples of poor attendance.
  • Migraine, weariness, and stomachaches are examples of physical symptoms.

If your teen is afraid of coming to school, they may delay schoolwork or skip studying for an exam.

Since When is Your Child Afraid of Going to School?

There are several explanations why you can have a frightened kid.

Homework Phobia or Homework Stress

Assignment anxiety and worry about homework are linked to a teen’s concern over marks and tests.

“I have quite a lot of teenagers who are really concerned about their work,” said Russell Stout, a certified marital and marriage counselor and certified vocational counselor at Doorways, an inpatient institution in Arizona. 

“Kids want to do well in school.” They might well be taking advanced classes. Some kids believe, “If I don’t earn decent marks, I won’t be able to attend a great university, and I’ll be a loser.”

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Concerns About School Shootings

Teenagers are not uncommon to be terrified about school shootings, especially soon after one occurs. 

Based on a Pew Research Center study conducted immediately after the 2018 Douglas High School massacre, roughly six out of every ten teens aged 13 and 17 were concerned about prospective gun massacres.

According to the Washington Post, there have already been at least 24 episodes of mass shootings in K12 schools during the academic day so far in 2022.

Teachers’ Phobia

There are several reasons a teenager could be afraid of instructors, popularly called teacher phobia. It might be attributed to social anxiousness for some.

“Perhaps the massive public schools are simply too much for them,” Yost said, adding that some kids are nervous about engaging with teachers because they have been studying online since the outbreak began.

There may also be instances where a teenager’s personality does not correspond to a specific teaching approach. 

According to research published in PLOS One, harsh teachers with controlling teaching approaches, for example, are related to a greater likelihood of failure dread.

Anxiety Over Separation

According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, separation anxiety is frequently the cause of a teen refusing to attend or remain in class because they are afraid to leave the house or participate in the autonomous activity.

A transition at school, such as transitioning from elementary to middle school, or a big upheaval at home, for instance, a divorce, sickness, or a family member’s death, can also result in school-shared academic problems.

Childhood Adversity

Based on the Child Mind Institute, childhood trauma causes various problems for children, including distorted thoughts, trouble functioning, and hypervigilance (being extremely aware of danger). 

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All of this might add to the stress of school. Indeed, the Young Brain Institute stated that prolonged trauma could lead to major problems with schooling and conduct.

Violence in School

School phobia and avoidance are frequent reactions to bullying, affecting younger and more mature students. 

Following the most current School Violence Supplement to the Bureau Of Justice Statistics, over 22% of adolescents aged 16-18 reported bullying at school, even during the school year in 2020. 

Being the topic of gossip and being mocked, catcalled, or humiliated were the two most common techniques.

Self-esteem Issues

According to the American Psychological Association, a lack of self-assurance or poor self-esteem might cause your kid to question their potential to achieve. 

As a result, they may avoid schoolwork. For example, research in the International Journal of Science Research and Public Health discovered a link between low self-esteem and obesity.

A History of Psychological Problems

Results from the National Survey of Children Welfare, showed that stress constituted the most prevalent mental health problem for children aged 4 to 18 from 2019 to 2021. 

According to the poll, 16% of kids in that age range (just over 7.5 million) had behavioral or psychological health issues.

Stress and other prevalent mental health conditions, such as depressive episodes and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are linked to school absence, based on research published in The Lancet journal.