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He refuses to go to school.

My son refuses to go to school. He even begs me not to send him! When I insist that he go, he starts to vomit. He is very bright and I'm afraid he will flunk this semester. I don't know what to do. I'm afraid to push him too far for fear he will completely lose it.

Refusal to go to school is a relatively common occurrence, affecting one out of every 100 children and adolescents. In depressed or anxious kids, that number is much higher -- as high as one in four, and in some cases even greater.

A new study shows that behavioral therapy in combination with medication can help these adolescents return to school, but depression may persist.

Researchers encourage parents to seek help, find out why the child doesn't want to go to school, and try therapy before using a medication.

Children and adolescents with school refusal are likely bound to suffer from other problems such as anxiety, mood disorders, social phobia or clinical depression. The longer a child stays out of school the harder it is for them to go back, so it is best to try to get the child back into school as quickly as possible. However, it may be hard to accomplish as when forced they are prone to temper tantrums, crying spells, psychosomatic or panic symptoms and threats of self-harm. These problems quickly fade if the child is allowed to stay home.


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