Stories about: faking sick

School refusal: A ‘sore throat’ or something more?

It’s time to get dressed for school and your daughter is giving you that sad face—again. “I don’t feel well,” she moans, although she was perfectly fine last night. When you try and convince her to get up, a look of sheer terror crosses her face. You’d let her stay home but this is the fifth time this month—and aside from her complaints, she’s not displaying any other symptoms. So what’s going on?

“School refusal, which affects around 4 percent of school-aged children, refers to a child who refuses to attend school and who identifies home as safer and more secure place,” says Jayne Singer, PhD, clinical psychologist in Children’s Hospital Boston’s Developmental Medicine Center. While it’s not unusual for children to make excuses to avoid going to school, when it becomes commonplace or even chronic, children risk falling behind in academics and social development.

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