With the start of the school year, many children and teenagers suffer with worry and anxiety about going to school. For some it’s a new place with new people; for some kids, leaving parents and home is stressful; and for others, there is a fear of what may happen at school or what might happen to loved ones outside of school during the day.
I recommend treating school anxiety with homeopathy, which helps the overall anxiety in a child and can help make mornings easier and lead to more success both cognitively and socially.
In a child with mild school anxiety, it is fine to go right ahead and start out with homeopathic care. For children who are severely anxious or have slipped over into school refusal, a complete diagnostic workup should be done with someone who specializes in this area. Some children do not want to go to school because there IS something bad happening at school, whether bullying from other children, or a particularly stressful environment in the classroom. As caregivers, parents or doctors, we need to understand what drives a child’s behavior as the first step to being able to help.
Though most any remedy could be indicated for school anxiety, the ones that I most frequently prescribe in my office are: Baryta carbonica, Silica and Pulsatilla. I will lay out my understanding of these remedies as they relate to school anxiety; please note there is so very much more to say about each of these remedies but I am focusing narrowly here on this particular complaint.
With Baryta Carbonica we find a child who seems younger than their age. They do not have a strong sense of who they are, so it can be difficult to know how to act in a group. It can be challenging to make basic kinds of decisions. There is a desperate need to fit in, so they may well act like others, follow along, but deep down, big classroom settings are a nightmare for this child and the anxiety can mount. This is especially true during times of transition. So the student moving from preschool to kindergarten for example, or middle school to high school can be overwhelmed, worried, anxious, even to the point of school refusal. By July or August they start to talk about it, or to develop physical body symptoms as a response to the stress of the school year beginning. The sore throats with swollen glands or perhaps tummy aches with constipation. If you think about it, school is all about being part of various groups, making choices, putting forward who you are, so it’s no wonder this is a difficult place for a person needing Baryta carbonica.
With Silica patients, the underlying issue is weakness. This can be in the physical sphere certainly, but also there can be a weakness cognitively. Due to this weakness Silica kids become quite oversensitive, to other people, to the environment. So it is easy to see how going to school can be a kind of affront to the Silica child. All the exposure to noise, to light, to chaos, does not work for a kid needing Silica; with all that exposure as a typical aspect of most school settings, they suffer. The anxiety manifests as their wanting to control everything they can. They can get into the “what if,” posture, where the imagination runs away and they think of every bad thing that can happen. Silica will seek protection, from parents, as in they do not want to leave the parent or the teacher. This may be the child who basically sticks to the teacher’s side when they are in the younger grades, may become the “goody-goody,” so they stay in the teacher’s good graces and within the teachers sphere of protection. Silica children and teens develop physical ailments in response to their anxiety and of course the physical ailments can also make them more anxious!
With the Pulsatilla child, school anxiety can also be prevalent. Pulsatilla kids have an underlying fear of being abandoned, of being forsaken. So for some, going to school they can feel as if the parents are trying to get rid of them. Especially if there are younger children at home, they cannot understand why they have to go to school, when the sibling gets to stay home. The neediness in Pulsatilla is well known. So if the teacher can address that, be a surrogate person who loves and adores them, everything will work out fine. But in the younger grades, if the Pulsatilla child has a teacher that is not “warm and fuzzy,” things will not go as well. Difficulty at drop off time will be common, with lots of crying and maybe even tantrums. The parent cannot understand it, the kids seems fine at home. That’s because the system is not being stressed! We all respond to stress in the environment around us in predictable and patterned ways, according to lots of things like genetics and our environment and also according to our constitutional homeopathic remedy type! So, make the stress big enough for a person needing Pulsatilla and they will react in this way. Physical ailments that go along for Pulsatilla include upper respiratory infections, asthma, skin issues. Remember, this as the other two remedies, are very broad reaching remedies, which can manifest with symptoms on most every physical body system.
Try to understand what underlies their behavior, their fears, their anxieties and that will lead you to the best possible remedy with the widest sphere of influence, including having a positive impact on the treatment of school anxiety.
Homeopathy Consultation is a process tailored on a case by case basis. It identifies the individuals reaction to the world they live in and provides homeopathic medicines to give a long ter, natural and positive approach to your health and well being.
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