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Episode 7: No, Your Child's Feelings Aren't 100% Valid.

Claire & Zoe discuss the rise in school refusal and childhood anxiety, and how helicopter parenting might be making it worse.

· 1 min read
Episode 7: No, Your Child's Feelings Aren't 100% Valid.
Photo by Jason Rosewell / Unsplash

In Australia, a rising trend known as "anxiety-based school refusal" is causing thousands of children and teenagers to avoid school, with over half being chronically absent last year. This increase has been linked to Covid lockdowns, excessive screen time, and the resulting social isolation leading to heightened social anxiety.

However, the issue existed before the pandemic and is associated with factors such as the media's portrayal of climate change, harmful effects of social media, lack of sleep, and overparenting.

Overparenting, in particular, robs children of resilience-building challenges. It's suggested that graded exposure therapy, a process of gradual desensitization to feared situations, could be a more effective response to school refusal. The need to teach children that discomfort is a natural part of life and not always a problem to be solved is emphasized, advocating for children to deal with their issues independently for long-term benefits.

Zoe Booth

Community Engagement Manager and host of the Quillette Cetera podcast.

Claire Lehmann

Claire Lehmann is the founder of Quillette and a regular contributor to The Australian. Follow her on Instagram @clairelehmann

On Instagram @quillette