Preparation pressure: Dealing with anxiety in school

The apple not falling far from the tree arguably points more to attitude transferred between parents and children, than generational curse. Parents can place too much pressure on their children — spurring anxiety — or a source of balanced advice to invigorate kids and calm fears. Not treating a child’s worries seriously will only exacerbate their angst. Throughout this series the amount of time a parent spends involved in the academic decisions of the child has been explored.

While there is a need for healthy parent to child involvement in education, parents need to set boundaries. This includes helping the child when they become overwhelmed with anxiety about a variety of factors, but not micro-managing.

Dealing with anxiety

For students, the cause for anxiety will vary on biological and environmental factors. The Health Services of Berkley University, offer advice to staff and faculty on how to help the anxious student. Since some students may be unaware of the cause or causes for their anxiety, Berkley recommends:

  • Letting them discuss their feelings and thoughts
  • Providing reassurance, talking slowly and remaining calm
  • Providing a safe and quiet environment until symptoms subside

While these tips are applied to the teachers of the students, they can be applied to parents and children of all ages. The tips throughout this blog are not meant to replace true medical attention for those who continue to experience anxiety issues. These tips are methods to alleviate anxiety in individuals who feel overwhelmed and not in control. 

Process through conversation

Amy Przeworski, Ph.D., offers advice to help children process and beat their anxiety. One example to help children deal with anxiety is to help them express their trepidations. In a situation where a child is overly anxious or worried, dismissing the anxiety or telling them to just calm down, will only worsen the situation. Instead, “Validate your child’s experience by saying things like ‘Yes, you seem scared. What are you worried about?’”  Helping the child process will help find the root of the anxiety and lead to finding a solution. When a child or teenager returns home from school with a lower grade than one would like, search for a solution.

It is important for the child to take responsibility for the bad grade but the child should not take shame from the parent. Przeworski, explains when when a child gets an 85 percent on a test instead of a 95 percent, telling the child that he or she should be doing better will only make the child feel worse.

Przeworski adds, “It is important to encourage your child to work hard but equally important to accept and embrace your child’s mistakes and imperfections.” There are more tips and methods available for parents and students alike. Do not let the anxiety build up until it overtakes a child’s life.

In some cases, when a student has behavioral issues, seeking help from professionals or a change of scenery can help with performance and treatment. White River Academy is a new start for troubled boys ages 12 to 17, including treatment of mental disorders, internal issues and substance abuse. Located in Delta, Utah, the educational program focuses on instilling character values, promoting positive growth and investment in the community. For more information or to register, feel free to call 866-520-0905.

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