Updated 02/13/2013 05:00 AM
Child Wellness: Is your child faking an illness?
How do you know if your kids are faking a belly ache to get out of school? For kids who want a day off, faking an illness often works. Marcie Fraser reports.
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"Kids are smart, sometimes they figure out if they complain about a belly ache or headache and they get a day off from school and they start to figure it out that a vague complaint is an easy way to stay home," said pediatrician Dr. Manny Cirenza.
If a motivated student who is doing well in school says they are sick, chances are they aren't lying. There are symptoms a kid can't fake, such as a fever.
"If they are coughing so much that it is disturbing their ability to focus. If they are having significant vomiting or diarrhea," said Dr. Cirenza.
If your child is beginning to develop stomach aches each morning, there may be something else going on at school.
"If a child has been struggling at school, not doing well, experiencing any type of bullying or negative feedback in relationships then you have to be more suspicious, there may be more to that complaint than meets the eye," said Dr. Cirenza.
According to Dr. Cirenza, even if your child is not feeling one hundred percent under certain circumstances, it's acceptable to send them to school.
"I don't think it would be unreasonable as long as a child is not doubled over in agony to give them a dose of Mylanta, and send them off and see how it goes," said Dr. Cirenza.
A main issue that keeps kids from wanting to go to school is something happening socially. It's a parent’s job to check in with their kids, get to know their friends and their foes.
If your child has a Facebook account, a lot of information about your child's circle of friends can be found there. If there is evidence of bullying, ask your child about it, gently.
"Generally children don't often respond to frantic questions from a parent such as 'are you being bullied?' Open the conversation, don't shine the light directly in their eyes first and then it opens up the discussion," said Dr. Cirenza.