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How to Deal With a Kid Pretending to Be Sick

by Cynthia Measom

A bully at school, a harsh teacher, not enough sleep or a desire to stay home and play can all influence a child to feign illness. When your child claims he's sick, you take his temperature and question him about symptoms to determine whether he's faking. Once you determine your child is attempting to deceive you, it's up to you to determine the cause of the problem to discourage the behavior and continue with the morning routine. With a positive attitude and perseverance, you can teach your child to stop faking illness to get out of school.

Tell your child that you know she's not sick. Ask her open-ended questions -- questions that require more than a "yes" or "no" answer -- to find out why she doesn't want to go to school. If she doesn't offer a reason, let it go temporarily.

Tell your child, firmly but kindly, that you understand that she doesn't feel well, but she has to go to school. She should know that attending school is her responsibility, just as going to work is your responsibility.

Reassure her that she can come home, do her homework and go to bed early since she's not feeling well, if she continues to complain. Make it clear that she doesn't need to spend time with friends or watch television if she's feeling ill.

Ask yourself if your child's schedule is overloaded, which could lead to tiredness and lack of motivation to get up and go to school. If it is, find a way to reduce your expectations or your child's activities to create a more manageable schedule.

Tips

  • Talk to your child's teachers, friends and anyone else she spends time with during the day to help uncover why she's faking sickness to avoid school.
  • If your child has a understandable reason for feigning illness -- bully at school -- tell him that you will help him solve the problem and follow through.

Warnings

  • Avoid making negative comments about going to your workplace because they can negatively influence your child.
  • If you allow a child to stay home and later discover she was pretending to be ill, don't give her any incentives that will make her want to repeat her behavior in the future such as watching television or playing video games. Instead, tell her those activities are restricted until after she goes back to school.

About the Author

Based in Texas, Cynthia Measom has been writing various parenting, business and finance and education articles since 2011. Her articles have appeared on websites such as The Bump and Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.

Photo Credits

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