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Don’t Want to Go to School? Use Glue!

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Kids will go to unbelievable lengths to stay home from school.


A 10-year-old boy who never wanted his Christmas vacation to end, decided he wasn't so keen to go back to school. So, he did what any enterprising young lad would do— he glued himself to his bed with an industrial strength adhesive. Besides the hope of landing a lucrative spokesman contract with a glue company, what would compel a child to attempt to fuse himself to his home rather than go to school?

We asked Mom•Logic friend and psychotherapist Jill Spivack. She says the reasons can be as varied as:

  • Fear of speaking in front of the class
  • Fear of changing clothes in the locker room at P.E.
  • Fear of riding a bus
  • Fear of being bullied
  • A recent crisis in the community
  • An older version of "separation anxiety"

And the ever-so-popular:
Some children prefer to stay home because the rewards are great. They can watch TV, have time with parents, and play rather than work at school.

School refusal is a term describing children who have a pattern of avoiding or refusing to go to school," explains Jill. "These behaviors occur in approximately 2% of school-aged children.” Jill says if left untreated, ongoing school refusal may result in academic deterioration, poor social relationships, family distress, school or legal conflicts, work or college avoidance, panic attacks, agoraphobia (fear of leaving home) and adult psychological disorders may ultimately develop.

So what do we do?

Isolate the problem: The parent should attempt to find out if there is a specific problem causing the avoidance. Sometimes the child feels relief just by talking about his worries relating to friends or school expectations with his parents.

Take them to the doctor
: If the child frequently complains he is ill as a way to avoid school, have him checked by his pediatrician or other medical specialist. If there is no medical reason to be absent, the child should be at school.

Switch drivers
: Another strategy is to try have a different family member bring the child to school.

Don't make staying home fun: If the child does stay home, then rewards such as snacking, TV, toys or parental attention should certainly be eliminated.

And when all else fails, hide the glue!

next: "World's Meanest Mom" Speaks Out!
5 comments so far | Post a comment now
Tigger January 9, 2008, 8:24 PM

First off, I realize that the text is trying to persuade us to believe all the facts presented because of the common “appeal to authority” tactic…that being the inferred statements of a physotherapist. It would be interesting to see more scientific proof for the grounds of her comments.
That being said, I will agree however, that any of those suggestions COULD BE possible, but we should not be so quick to think that something is necessarily wrong. I speak from personal experience.
Growing up I was always somewhere in between on the “totem pole” of popularity. There was always someone to talk to. I was never really singled out or picked on, just the usual teasing that goes along with the territory.
I got decent grades, but like everyone else dreaded the pop quiz, or usual testing.
That said, my school “career” was still plagued with an overwhelming dread! I HATED going to school. I found the petty arguments and cliques among my classmates annoying, and the classes themselves extremely boring. At the time, I could not see how anything (apart from reading) was going to help me after graduation.Now I know better.
What if the young guy in the article is just bored? What if he needs more challanging classes? How about if someone explained to him, or showed him how and WHY he would need to learn these things, instead of a “because you have to” mentatlity. Just because he doesn’t want to go to school doesn’t necessarily warrant a trip to the doctor.And I am strongly disinclined to acquiesce to the suggestion of making staying home not “fun”. IF the parent has already let the child stay home, what else is he/she supposed to do? If the child isn’t really sick, then why is he home in the first place? Although admittingly, gluing oneself to the bed is a bit extreme, it could just be that he has been TRYING to get his parent’s attention but they were preoccupied or unresponsive. Hey, it happens.
Whatever the situation, sounds like he would be an ideal candidate for homeschooling! If of course, that were an option for that particular family.

Pam January 9, 2008, 10:25 PM

I’m an RN so my kids can’t trick me into staying home!

Anonymous January 9, 2008, 10:57 PM

That comment doesn’t even make sense.That’s like saying,” I’m a police officer, so my children could never do anything bad.” Which, according to an article I read, isn’t true,at least for the officer who wrote it. HIS child died from huffing. But I digress.
This article isn’t about a parent being tricked by a child into staying home. It’s about WHY the child did this particular action.
On the fip side, I would like to commend you on being an RN…it’s a tough job. Thanks for all you do…honest! :0)

Kara January 16, 2008, 11:29 PM

There’s one GLARING omission in the suggestions….take the child to a psychologist. If there’s not a medical reason, there may very well be a mental health-related reason. Many of the explanations you cited could be related to a number of anxiety disorders. You can force the child to physcially be at school but without treatment of a condition like this, they won’t do well and none of you will be happy.

Immobilier Bretagne March 6, 2011, 3:08 PM

It’s onerous to search out educated folks on this matter, however you sound like you know what you’re speaking about! Thanks

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