Back to School By Kristen Carr

Oh the excitement the new school year can bring! Fresh school supplies, new classes, social bonding with peers, and maybe being able to reach goals athletically or with clubs or activities this year! For some, other feelings may emerge at the start of a new school year. Attending get-togethers with friends are avoided, stating “…what’s the point in trying out for the volleyball team? I’ll never make it…” or noticing that the grades a student once had have declined significantly.

How do you as the parent or guardian get the conversation started?

Additionally, reminder that Attendance Matters! Last year, schools and mental health personnel alike saw an increase in school refusal behaviors. According to AMITA Health Behavioral Medicine Institute, warning signs and symptoms of school anxiety include:

  • Avoiding certain aspects of school (e.g., gym class, certain teachers)
  • Fighting with parents
  • Certain behavior patterns only happen on school days
  • Frequently asking to visit the nurse/student services during school
  • Complaining of physical symptoms before leaving for school
  • Isolated from friends and social activities
  • Complaints or reports of bullying
  • Refusing to leave the house for school
  • Cutting class or leaving school without permission
  • Separation anxiety and/or tantrums
  • Difficulty completing academic tasks and easily overwhelmed by assignments
  • Struggles with social skills and peer relations
  • Difficulty expressing self in group situations
  • Symptoms that disappear immediately after returning home
  • Experiencing stomach aches, headaches and vomiting, especially on school days
  • Upset about school more than other children of the same age
  • Feelings/attitudes toward school have negatively changed


Missing school is a very slippery slope for a child with anxiety. As a parent, navigating when to push your child to attend vs. when to provide a calm environment may be difficult at times.

Please reach out to Owens Counseling and Therapy if your child is exhibiting any red flags and we would be happy to schedule a consultation to discuss supporting their needs.

Good luck and enjoy the start of this next school year!

Kristen Carr, LSW Therapist at Owens Counseling and Therapy (847) 854- 4333



Words To Help A Teen When They’re Struggling. (2022, August 17) Retrieved from

School Anxiety & Refusal. (2022, August 17). Retrieved from ents/school-anxiety-and-refusal