Back to School Anxiety

Eileen Bailey Health Guide
  • Children can be both nervous and excited about going back to school after a long summer off. Many are excited by the prospect of seeing old friends and enjoying the activities that the school year brings. Other children may dread the day they must once again enter into the world of academics. For some students, school is a constant struggle and does not bring with it many good memories. For these students, the first day of school brings anxiety or depression.

    On top of this, teenagers don't always like sharing their feelings with their parents. If they have friends, teenagers share more with them than they do at home. This is normal behavior but the feelings of anxiety need to be addressed.

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    If your child is avoiding all talk of the upcoming school year, or is continually putting off an activity that involves preparing for the school year, they may be worried and anxious about returning to school. Parents need to open the discussion and be supportive of their child's fears and apprehension.

    If your child seems unduly anxious, it might be time to consult a professional. Mental Health Professionals could help your teen deal with the upcoming pressures of school. Middle school and High school bring on extra responsibilities and a sense of independence. But your teen may not be ready for these steps. A Mental Health Professional may be able to work with them in counseling and other treatments to help your teen through these tough school years. Some signs of depression include loss of appetite, withdrawing from friends or family and avoidance of group activities.

    If you sense your teen is apprehensive about the school year, you can also speak with the guidance office of the school. Guidance Counselors may be able to offer you suggestions or implement plans to help your teen through the first weeks of school.

    If your child has been struggling in school, the guidance counselor may also be able to determine if educational testing would help. Hidden learning disabilities often can cause intense anxiety and stress on a teen. Understanding the learning disability can help them find ways to learn and succeed in school.

    Teens experiencing intense anxiety about school may show signs by upset stomachs, trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, headaches of unknown origin. Parents should be aware of these signs and consult a professional, if the symptoms persist. Parents should continue to try to keep communication open with their teens. Take advantage of opportunities to talk about school, friends, activities, and interests. Find out what is making your teen nervous and what they are concerned about.

Published On: July 21, 2008