Where Families Find Support & Solutions

How to Handle School Refusal in your Teen

Whether it’s the end of a weekend or of an extended vacation, getting back to reality is difficult. For children and teenagers, dealing with life transitions can be especially challenging since they don’t have the life experience to know that, eventually, they’ll adjust.

Even going to school can feel like an insurmountable obstacle for some teenagers. School refusal issues normally stem from some type of anxiety, and identifying and addressing it in a positive, productive way can be a challenge for the whole family. Enlisting the help of the professional staff at The School Solution can help you and your child conquer the problem of school refusal, together. 

What is School Refusal?

The School Solution Helps with School Refusal Issues

The School Solution Helps with School Refusal Issues

School refusal is when a child refuses to go to school on a regular basis or has problems staying in school. Often, a child facing this challenge will have physical symptoms such as a headache, stomachache or nausea and may have tantrums, as well. If school refusal is the issue, then these symptoms most likely won’t manifest during the weekends. Learn more about school refusal in this Wall Street Journal article.

The causes for school refusal stem from a deeper issue such as separation anxiety, social anxiety or school bullying. School refusal issues often manifest during times of transition, such as after summer vacation or starting at a new school. The best thing you can do for your child is to get help to identify the underlying problem and then figure out how to address that problem. Finding the right support for your child and your entire family is crucial.

The School Solution Helps with School Refusal

Karen Mabie, owner of The School Solution and educational consultant, is a lifeline for families who may feel exhausted and frustrated by dealing with their child’s school refusal issues. In practice for more than 10 years, Karen visits over 60 programs and schools every year, so she knows the many options available for helping your child. You can read an account from a student who successfully dealt with her school refusal issues

For many children, however, starting over at a new school — once they’ve developed some skills to deal with their underlying challenges — gives them the fresh start they need. At The School Solution, we take a multi-step approach to address school refusal issues. In working with families, we first take a full academic and family history of your child, including information about any past treatment.

We then schedule an in-person meeting or phone call to learn more about your child’s physical, social and academic development. Next, we review all records including any interviews with your child’s teachers, therapists or other professionals who can give us a clearer picture of your child, and we outline a timeline for the school placement process. Finally, we follow-up with families to learn how your child is doing in his or her new environment.

At The School Solution we are committed to finding the best environment for your child, and we work with a broad range of schools and programs, including therapeutic boarding schools, wilderness programs, college-prep boarding schools and treatment centers. While school refusal issues commonly stem from anxiety-related issues, we know that each child and each family is different and no one school or program will work for everyone.

With our many years of experience, we also know that seeing the various schools and treatment programs in person tells us more than any Internet search can: we get a feel for the environment and culture, so we can better match your teenager to a place that fits. When you contact The School Solution, you can feel confident knowing that we’ll find the right opportunity for your child’s educational success.

Call us at 847.242.0865 or email Karen at kmabie@theschoolsolution.com.


“The most amazing part of Karen is that even when you THINK you know what’s right for your child, she helps you understand why her suggestions are more beneficial. Couldn’t be happier with our two placements through Karen! “ ME

- Couldn’t be happier



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