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Sharon Hamilton, LPC
Back To School Fears How Much Is Too Much?
Potomac Psychological Center, LLC

Back To School Fears How Much Is Too Much?

Here we are again, the days of sleeping in and swimming pools are behind us and it’s time for kids to get back into the swing of the school year. Many kids feel some anxiety about school. This could include worrying over academic pressures, social anxiety, or some combination.

Often this subsides when the new routines become familiar, and stays relatively mild. If worry is of this variety, some simple steps can help with the transition. Creating consistent schedules, reassurance, and some positive distractions will often be sufficient. Simply talking to kids about their worries and fears and understanding and encouraging them can go a long way.

While a bit of apprehension and worry is common, some kids struggle so much with fear and anxiety related to school that it interferes with their ability to “do what they need to do.” I consider this the benchmark for when it is a good idea to get

professional help.

When fears and anxiety are causing problems with things like sleep, appetite, concentration, and relationships the problem is unlikely to just go away with time. In some cases, kids worry so much about school that they refuse to go, which leads to other problems.

Counseling can help kids understand their anxiety and change the thoughts and assumptions that contribute to it. A counselor can also help parents to clarify when their children’s fears are excessive versus when they are just typical apprehension, and guide parents as to the best ways to offer support.

If you suspect bullying, or fear your child may not be fitting in with peers, a counselor can be a good person to discuss those concerns with. Many kids go through periods of social struggle, but when it’s more profound it can have very negative effects on kids over time. Counseling can help kids who are struggling socially to build social skills and self-confidence.

The stresses and pressures kids face today become overwhelming for some kids, but they affect most all of them. Regardless if you have an anxious kid, it’s a good idea for parents to encourage kids to have a balance in their lives between rest and work, and to learn ways to cope with stress effectively. Do things to de-stress together, such as exercise or relaxing outdoors. Fun time together helps the whole family.

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