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Parents should be concerned if their child regularly complains about feeling sick or often asks to stay home from school. Not wanting to go to school may occur at any time, but is most common in elementary children ages 5-7.  These children may experience a paralyzing fear of leaving the safety of their parents and home.  The child's panic and refusal to go to school is very difficult for parents to cope with, but these fears and behaviors can be treated successfully.

Refusing to go to school often begins following a period at home in which the child has become closer to the parent, such as summer vacation.  It also may follow a stressful occurrence, such as the death of a pet or relative, a change in the home, or a move to a new neighborhood.

Children with an unreasonable fear of school may:

* display clinging behavior

* display excessive worry and fear about parents safety

* have difficulty going to sleep

* have severe tantrums when forced to go to school

Mild examples these symptoms and behaviors are common among children and may pass shortly. Calmly talk to your child about his fears and reassure him that they will get better. 

However, professional assistance should be sought for more serious symptoms and behaviors. If you are concerned about your child's behavior, you should not hesitate to contact a qualified counselor or other mental health provider. 

Contact MARTHA ASHER

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