The Reasons Behind School Refusal in Children

School refusal in children is a growing problem that is becoming increasingly difficult for parents and educators to manage.

Afzal Badshah, PhD
ILLUMINATION
2 min readFeb 22, 2023

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When I go to primary school early in the morning, I see many parents dragging their crying children to school. The children run and refuse to go to school, but the parents make them go in a dictatorial manner, using their inherited methods. They do not look for the true reasons behind the children’s reluctance. This will break the children’s hearts and they will not be able to go to school with enthusiasm.

Children often refuse to go to school, especially newly admitted children in the primary grades. In such situations, your aim should be to connect well with the children and try to find out the reason why they are refusing school. One thing to remember is that children never refuse to go to school without any reason. If they are refusing, there could be several reasons such as illness, lack of homework, lack of necessary school supplies, previous absences, a teacher’s behaviour that is not good, and it is also possible that other children are harassing them or, if the child walks to school, there may be something uninteresting in the way.

Photo by Ivan Aleksic on Unsplash

Your success lies in getting to know the problem from the child and then solving it. One such father (who was a teacher himself) was telling that when his son refused to go to school in the morning, he said, “Okay son, don’t go to school today — stay home.” But at the same time, he started talking to him about the real reason for the school's refusal. The son told him after a while that a child in the class was teasing him. The teacher continued his talk and asked the child-son, “Why don’t we go to school and meet your teacher and the child?” The child agreed and went to school with his father on the same day.

The most important and urgent task in such situations is to get to the root of the problem and solve it as soon as possible. The longer it takes to understand the problem, the more difficult it will be for the child to return to school. When you were a student yourself and returned to school after a long vacation, it was more difficult than usual.

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Afzal Badshah, PhD
ILLUMINATION

Dr Afzal Badshah focuses on academic skills, pedagogy (teaching skills) and life skills.