BACK TO SCHOOL: Let the Games Begin! | 3 Tips PARENTS need to know
It’s that time again! Anxiety and stress are crouched at the door! Your child is both excited and nervous; and you are holding your breath in anticipation of your teen’s next emotional roller-coaster ride.
As we approach a new school year, many parents are wondering if things will ever change. Well, the quick answer is, “No!” Of course, your child will still have butterflies on the first day of school. Your child may not want to go to school on the first day. She may have anxiety because she has the second-lunch period and her best friend has the first-lunch period. She may have fears about fitting in and being accepted. So, of course, she will be a little anxious and nervous.
But, how do you know if your child falls within the normal behavioral guidelines for back-to-school anxiety? Answer “YES” or “NO” to the following questions:
Does your child usually complain of stomachaches or body pains the night before or the morning of school?
Does your child suddenly seem quiet or withdrawn?
Has your child become more angry and/or irritable than usual?
Has your child’s eating or sleeping patterns changed?
Does your child seem to worry more than usual?
If you’ve answered, “YES” to three or more of these questions, it is possible that your child is experiencing back-to-school anxiety. Remember, life changes may cause a variety of emotional and somatic symptoms as your child learns to adjust to new classes, new students, a new environment, new teachers, and new expectations. This is normal. The real question is, “How can you help?”
Unfortunately, parents mistake their child’s anxious behavior as disrespect or “having an attitude.” It is important that you are able to recognize your child’s symptoms.
TIP #1: PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR CHILD’S BEHAVIOR
It is important to recognize slight behavioral changes in your child. If your child is cranky and irritable most of the time, you should seek help from a physician or mental health counselor. However, if your child is usually jovial and carefree, but you notice that she is angry and withdrawn…take this seriously. Here are a few symptoms to look for:
Psychological/Emotional Symptoms may include:
· Excessive worry
· Fear or panic
· Irritability, anger
· Obsessive thoughts
· Difficulty concentrating
· Nausea or vomiting
· Rapid heartbeat
· Body aches
· Muscle tension
· Changes in eating and/or sleeping patterns
· Sweating, hands and palms
· Butterflies in stomach
TIP #2: DO NOT ADD FUEL TO THE FIRE
Your child may struggle with communicating exactly what she is feeling. When children are faced with change, their first reaction will be anger. It is important to understand that ANGER is a secondary emotion and usually there is a primary emotion lurking beneath anger. Those primary emotions may include the following:
· Envy or Jealousy
If your child displays angry or irritable emotions, refrain from adding fuel to the fire. Instead of chastising your child for acting out, attempt to understand. Here are a few questions you can ask your child:
· How do you feel about your first week of school?
· I know your feel angry, but what else are you feeling right now?
· What can I do to help you?
· What else will help you deal with what you are feeling?
In moments of distress, it is necessary to become your child’s ally and not her adversary.
TIP #3: SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP IN A LIFE-COACH OR COUNSELOR
Choosing to work with a Coach or Counselor is not an admission of weakness for your child or your family. When you decide to team up with a coach, you are giving your child an opportunity to embrace personal, social and academic success!
Coaching and Counseling will provide your child with emotional benefits that will strengthen her confidence, self-esteem and overall success. Here are a few benefits of adolescent or teen therapy:
· Learn self-awareness skills to recognize emotional distress
· Understand the difference between perceived and actual fears
· Explore social anxiety triggers and learn to let go of fears
· Understand and process relational conflicts and/or challenges
· Learn to REFRAME negative emotions, thoughts and experiences.
· Learn to create strategic plans to achieve attainable goals
· Learn to embrace hope and positivity
· Develop healthy decision-making skills
· Learn the art of emotional management
As a Teen Self-Esteem Specialist, I encourage parents to take an active role in the emotional development of their children. As I work with my teen clients, I also work with the parents. It is necessary that the parent learn just as much as the child. Understanding your Parenting Style is the first step to helping your child succeed. Over the past 15 years, I've worked with teens girls challenged with low self-esteem and poor decision-making skills. My NEW Self-Esteem POWER approach to working with teen girls has proven both successful and necessary for building healthy self-concept. This 6-step approach to counseling teen girls through self-esteem issues will help your child achieve greater success!
I you want more information about back to school anxiety or parenting styles, contact a therapist near you. Or you can click the button below for a free consultation to learn more about Jada's Self-Esteem POWER Kit for Teen Girls!