Sundance Canyon Academy provides a positive environment for troubled teen boys who need a bigger support system in their lives. Unfortunately, bullying is a common occurrence in many schools, and teens who are bullied suffer with higher rates of depression and anxiety because of it. If you are worried that your teen son is showing the signs of depression and anxiety due to being bullied, consider a residential treatment center for him. Our students earn high school credit and get the chance to participate in unique extracurricular activities where they can develop positive friendships with their peers.
Kids don’t always love going to school. Sitting in a classroom all day can be boring, and they’d probably rather be home watching TV or playing video games. However, they typically know that school is a requirement, and they have to go whether they like it or not.
But what if your son seems to be maxing out his sick days?
Is it possible that he’s faking sick in order to get out of going to school?
Of course it is! Plenty of kids try to fake sick to get out of school at least once or twice. If your son is faking sick a lot though, there might be something bigger going on. He might be trying to skip school not because he’s bored in class but because he’s getting bullied in class.
Let’s start with the basics and discuss the signs of faking an illness.
How to tell if your son is faking sick to get out of school
As a parent, it can be tough to figure out if your kid is actually sick or if they’re faking it. Here are a few strategies to use to determine if the alleged illness is real.
Take the fun out of staying home
If they’re too sick to go to school, they’re too sick to go to a friend’s house or a sporting event or anything else they’d planned on doing that day. Make it clear that staying home sick from school is not a free pass to do whatever they want. If they feel well enough for the fun stuff, then they’re well enough for school too.
Verify the symptoms
Kids know which symptoms to complain of having when they’re trying to get out of school. Namely: anything vague or anything that resembles the flu. The big symptoms they tend to complain of are:
– Stomach ache
– Generally not feeling good
These are all a perfect combination of being vague enough that you can’t tell if it’s real or being completely fake-able. So, look for signs that the complaint is real.
If your kid says they have a headache or stomach ache but they’re acting fine and eating like normal, it might be a fake. If they really are acting like they feel horrible and don’t want to eat, they might be telling the truth.
If they say they have a fever, take their temperature. If you think your kid might be sneaky enough to drink something warm right before you take their temperature or to put something warm on their forehead before complaining that they feel hot, check their temperature randomly throughout the morning.
If they’re complaining of a cough, listen to the cough. It’s easy to fake a dry cough, but it’s almost impossible to fake a deep chest cough. If it’s got that wet, chest congestion sound, they’re probably telling the truth. If the cough is dry, keep an ear out for how frequently they’re coughing. If they only cough when they’re around you but they’re fine when they’re in other rooms of the house, it could be fake.
The general “I just don’t feel good” complaint is tough to nail down because it’s so vague. Fortunately, if their only symptom is not feeling good, then they’re probably fine to go to school anyway.
Take them to the doctor
If you suspect that your child is genuinely sick, then you should take them to the doctor. This applies for recurring mild symptoms as well. Even if your child frequently complains about mild headaches or stomach aches, they might need medical attention. Repeated pain can be a symptom that something else is wrong.
If your child is just faking sick to get out of school, then the idea of having to go to the doctor’s office might snap them out of it. Nothing sucks the fun out of a day out of school like going to see a doctor and then not getting to hang out with your friends.
What to do if you suspect bullying
If your son is faking sick to get out of school, talk to him about why he doesn’t want to go. There could be any number of reasons that he doesn’t want to go to school. He might just be bored there. He might not have studied enough for a test and wants to get an extension. Or he might be having problems with his classmates.
Bullying is a serious issue, and your son might be worried that by tattling on his bully he will face retaliation. Let your son know that you are there to support him and help him address problems at school. Also, let your son know that he does still need to go to school and that you can both work on addressing the bullying problem together.
If your son is regularly faking sick to get out of school and he won’t explain why, consider getting help from a professional counselor. There could be more at play than your son feels comfortable discussing with you, or he could be showing the first signs of a mental health problem. Repeatedly faking sick is often a sign that something else is wrong.