Faking Sickness

Faking Sickness; Kids will do just about anything to get out of going to school or other activities they are not looking forward to, and some are pretty convincing, too. However, as a parent, you always know that there is a difference between really being sick and faking it. How do you tell if your tween is faking his illness or if it is real? Here is how!

Does he have a fever?

A fever is usually over 99 degrees, and schools do not want your kid at school if he has had a fever in the last 24 hours. Of course, one of the best ways to tell whether or not your tween is really sick is a fever. A fever will tell you that your kid really does need to stay home from school. Now when you take your child’s temperature, you need to stay in the room to make sure that thermometer is not being held in the hand or under a light bulb. Also, make sure your child has not had hot liquids right before taking the temperature.

Is he vomiting?

Vomiting is a sign of illness, but be aware that crafty tweens may actually try to fake vomiting by gagging or pouring a nasty mixture of soup or leftovers in the toilet. If your child says he has just thrown up, stay in the room with them and see if it happens again. Vomiting with a stomach virus is almost always consistent (every 15 or 20 minutes) and could be coupled with diarrhea. Plus, if your child vomits, he will probably have washed out look.

What is the timing of the illness?

If your child is saying he is sick, then try to find out if there is a pattern. For example, is the school nurse calling you during every PE class or math period? Does your child complain of illness before every big test or project? This is a telltale sign that your tween is not really sick, but worried about a class or dislikes a certain teacher. This is a great opportunity to have a heart-to-heart with your child and help him with his anxiety.

Is being sick fun?

If you suspect your child is not really sick, think about the last time your child stayed home from school. Was it too fun? Did you allow them to watch television all day or play video games? Being sick should mean that your child stays in bed all day long to rest properly. Don’t make staying home too fun for your tween.

If your child complains of being sick and you cannot see any physical signs of illness, send him to school. The worse thing that will happen is that the school nurse will give you a call later. If no fever, vomiting, or diarrhea exists, then you should be suspicious of a fake illness, but absence of those signs does not necessarily mean your child is not feeling well. Sometimes you just have to be a detective or show tough-love.

Note: No tips given in this article are intended to substitute for a doctor’s opinion. If you feel that your child is actually sick, it is recommended that you contact your doctor or family physician for expert medical advice.


Is Your Tween Faking Sickness?: How to Tell If Your Child is Really Feeling Ill or Not


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