Phobia or Truancy? 

School phobia is sometimes confused with truancy - even by teachers and educational workers. However, truants do not usually express or display such high levels of anxiety, and nor do they flatly refuse to attend school. It is just that there are other things they would rather be doing. They are more likely to pretend to set off for school, and then disappear on the way, or during the day, returning home at the normal time, so that parents are often the last to find out what is happening. Truants also tend to become involved in other delinquent behaviour.  They may also come from disadvantaged areas and homes where there is not enough discipline, caring, or simple parental interest. Their school work is likely to be rather poor and they will probably show little interest in what the school thinks of them.

This is in sharp contrast to the typical school refuser, who comes from a stable home with both parents present and caring (if sometimes over-protective) and who is often described as "always such a good boy/girl - never any trouble before this". Typical refusers may also be sensitive to the point of timidity, being unduly wounded by adverse comments from teachers, and have unrealistically high goals for themselves; they may then become excessively upset at their perceived failures.



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