Didaskaleinophobia (Fear Of School)

When children suffer from Didaskaleinophobia (Fear Of School), they may miss out on a large portion of their education. In addition to this, their social development may suffer as a result of the condition.

What is Didaskaleinophobia?

Although Didaskaleinophobia (Fear Of School) can affect children of any age, it is most common in children between the ages of four and six years. While affected by Didaskaleinophobia, children will exhibit an extreme fear response when taken to school. In many instances, the fear and anxiety begin before the journey to school, with many children spending all of their free time worrying about attending school.

While many children may dislike school, Didaskaleinophobia is more than a simple dislike or fear. Children with Didaskaleinophobia will express extreme anxiety when faced with the prospect of attending school and may become combative if they are forced to attend. In some cases, children may attempt to run away from the school or escape their classroom due to their level of fear.

Sometimes referred to as Scholionophobia, a fear of school can be extremely distressing for the child. As children are generally expected to attend school for at least five days per week, Didaskaleinophobia can cause great distress at all times.

What are the symptoms of Didaskaleinophobia?

When individuals have a phobia, they exhibit an extreme reaction to their feared stimulus. In the case of Didaskaleinophobia, children will become extremely fearful, anxious and distressed if a caregiver attempts to take them to school. In extreme cases, this response may be apparent if school is talked about and patients may even exhibit reaction if they are driven past the school or asked to look at pictures of the school building.

As young children are often affected by Didaskaleinophobia, it can be difficult for them to vocalize their fears. Due to this, caregivers and therapists may be required to describe the patient’s symptoms. In some cases, the child will present with regular illnesses. If there is no separate, physical cause for the illnesses, they may be connected to the patient’s emotional wellbeing. Although not serious in nature, these pains and illnesses can cause the child to feel perpetually unwell. Often psychosomatic in nature, these complaints may alleviate as the child’s Didaskaleinophobia is reduced.

If the child is taken to school, they may cry, plead with their caregiver not to leave them and/or try to flee the situation. This can be distressing for all involved and may be dangerous if the child attempts to run away or darts into the road in an attempt to avoid being taken to school.

What causes Didaskaleinophobia?

The causes of Didaskaleinophobia have not been fully identified but therapists believe there are various factors which can contribute to the fear of school. These may include:

  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of being without their usual caregiver
  • Other anxiety issues
  • Learned behavior
  • Negative experiences in a school environment

As children usually start school between the ages of 4-6 years, Didaskaleinophobia can occur around this time. If children are unfamiliar with the school of environment, don’t know which classroom to go to or are scared of their teacher, this can exacerbate feelings of fear and contribute to Didaskaleinophobia.

Prior to attending school, children are usually surrounded by a select few caregivers. Parents, guardians, extended family members and babysitters are usual caregivers and the child may be used to being in their company. When faced with the prospect of school, children may fear being without their usual caregiver or worry that something will happen to their caregiver whilst the child is at school.

If the child has other anxiety issues, these can lead to Didaskaleinophobia. A child with separation anxiety, for example, may develop a fear of school because they will be away from their usual caregiver. Although Didaskaleinophobia may not be the primary issue, it can develop into a serious condition for the patient and their family.

Furthermore, Didaskaleinophobia may develop as a result of learned behavior. If a child has older siblings who have expressed a dislike or fear of school, they may be more likely to develop Didaskaleinophobia. To a young child, hearing a sibling recount their day at school may seem scary, even if the elder sibling does not intend to frighten them. As a result, the child may begin to view the school in a negative light, even before they have started attending the institution.

A common cause of Didaskaleinophobia is a negative experience occurring in a school environment. This may be more common when older children are affected by the condition. If a child has been bullied, mocked or ridiculed, they may develop a generalized fear of school. If parents, teachers and caregivers suspect that there is a rational reason behind the child’s Didaskaleinophobia, it’s essential that this is addressed. If bullying has caused the patient to become Didaskaleinophobic, for example, eliminating the bullying may also reduce the patient’s fear of school.

How is Didaskaleinophobia treated?

Although Didaskaleinophobia can be extremely debilitating, it can be successfully treated. Children’s behavior is typically more adaptive than adult behavior so there is a good chance that a child or young person will overcome there Didaskaleinophobia.

With specialist help, children are often able to convey their fears to an adult. If there is a particular aspect of school which is causing their fear, this can often be modified or explained so that their fear diminishes.

In addition to this, practical changes can help to boost the child’s confidence and reduce their Didaskaleinophobia. In some instances, a caregiver may be invited into the classroom to temporarily reduce the child’s fear response, for example. Alternatively, the child may receive additional support from a staff member so that they’re able to stay calm in a school environment.

Although a patient with Didaskaleinophobia may find it torturous to attend school at first, successful treatment will ensure that they are able to continue their education and socialize with their peers. Due to the social, educational and emotional benefits of regular schooling, it’s essential that children with Didaskaleinophobia are listened to and have access to appropriate treatment. Early intervention can often reduce recovery time and can make the schooling process more bearable and enjoyable for patients and their caregivers.

Preventing Didaskaleinophobia (Fear Of School)

As Didaskaleinophobia commonly affects young children, it is vital that caregivers, parents, and siblings create positive experiences for the child, particularly in relation to school and education. Building the child’s confidence may also help to prevent them from developing Didaskaleinophobia.

In some cases, separation anxiety can be a causative factor in Didaskaleinophobia so it may be helpful to enroll the child in nursery or kindergarten prior to them starting school full-time. This enables the child to experience being away from their main caregiver, mixing with other children and creates a positive experience. As a result, the child may be less fearful of going to school and less likely to experience Didaskaleinophobia.