Back to school brings order back into our lives after lazy summers, but it also brings heightened anxiety and confidence-shakers for most teens. Whether they are transitioning into high school or re-entering a familiar school, most kids experience some form of back to school angst. The age of technology is also contributing to a steep rise in anxiety due to the pace and information overload.
“About 8 percent of today’s U.S. teens suffer from some type of diagnosed anxiety disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. And anxiety has been on the rise among children and young adults since at least the 1950s. School counselors and nurses alike have cited increased amounts of stress, pressure, social media, and divorce as causes for this surge in anxiety that has not only affected the teens who suffer but school administrators trying to help their students.” The Atlantic
Parents should stay alert to ensure that back to school anxiety doesn’t turn into long-term anxiety. We gathered some great tips for coping with the stress of back to school as well as anytime throughout the school year.
Keeping a Routine – Routine is good for everyone, from children to adults. These routines are the foundation for good habits later in life. Teenagers might rebel against it, but set schedules can ease stress and anxiety for school and social situations. Getting enough sleep, regular meals, and scheduling after school sports and activities can provide structure and support that can offset long term issues. More on teen routines
Open Lines of Communication – Many conversations between parents and teens begin and end with grades. Parents can consciously open lines of communication that are about all the other things going on, like friends, social activities, and relationships with teachers. Use communication techniques like going curious with questions, instead of asking loaded questions. It seems like common sense, but improved communication happens when you and your teen are not in the middle of high anxiety and intense situations. Also, encouraging peer support while maintaining an open door at home grows more confident and outgoing teens. More on teen communication
Acknowledge Fear of Failure – Fear of failure is not unique to children or teens. We all find ourselves in situations that are imposing and trigger that fear. Our tendency is to brush it off as a means of comfort, but acknowledgement is really what teens are looking for when they express the fear of failure. Looking at the fear from several vantage points also subtly teaches flexibility and problem-solving. Keep this article on 19 Successful People who started as failures can also reassure that they are not alone.
Goal Setting and Achievement – One thing that we have learned through our Student and Youth Empowerment Seminars is that small successes can create a catalyst for big success. Work with your teen on setting realistic expectations, creating mini-goals that can be achieved relatively quickly, and be generous with praise. Back to school offers a wealth of opportunities for success and we might just need to focus our teens to that vision.
From all of us at Fire Power Seminars, we wish teens, parents, and teachers a happy and healthy back to school!
Fire Power Seminars works with students through our Student and Youth Empowerment Seminars. Our seminars emphasize team-building, communication skills, problem-solving, and breakthrough events. We would love to include you and your school into our 2015-2016 schedule! Please contact us for more information on Student and Youth Empowerment Seminars.