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School Refusal vs. Typical Avoidance

It's that time of year.

Ever experience School Refusal? I'm not talking "my tummy hurts," although that should not be minimized... I'm talking Fight-Flight-Freeze.

In our daughter's case...fight... till the death. And I don't say that lightly. She's thrown tables, jumped out of moving cars, ran into the snowy woods barefoot, beat me up, beat her teachers up, the list goes on and on...all to say, NO. No, I cannot do this. Anxiety has taken over, and there's no rationalizing with it.

And all the experts say, too bad. They must be in school. Force them if you have too... and my feelings on that, are changing...

I've been through it. My family has been though it... and while I appreciate, respect, and understand a lot of children started truly experiencing it because of COVID...we started experiencing it, years BEFORE COVID. Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade (COVID year for us...which basically meant a fight to keep the laptop open), and Third Grade... and it didn't help when her teacher told her in front of all her peers she was only allowed to read Kindergarten books. (Did I mention my daughter is dyslexic...#notcool)

So, tomorrow (8/29) we enter Fourth Grade - and I'm scared. Scared to be proud, scared to be nervous, scared to want to take a first day of school picture, scared she'll flip out, scared her peers will see it and judge her...and still hopeful that it'll all be ok. That she'll get out of the car and walk into school and I'll pick her up at 3pm and it'll be perfect.

My advice to anyone dealing with this is to be prepared. Be kind to yourself. Be calm. Remember this will pass. Remember, it's OK that this totally sucks.

In my next few posts I'll share some coping strategies that have worked for our family.

Remember, you're not alone. Email me if you need support. I know I will. Join our online forum here!

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