It’s almost fall, which means store shelves are stocked with low-priced notebooks and markers and glue. Teenagers are heading off to start a new school year and for many, it’s a time of excitement as they enter a new grade.
While some adolescents begrudge alarm clocks and mountains of homework, they still look forward to school and to enjoying friendships and new activities. Some teens, however, have a real fear of going back to school. They worry about potential bullying or even violence at school. Some have trouble coping with social pressure, while others feel overwhelmed at what they will be expected to learn.
If your child is feeling stressed at the thought of going back to school, here are some ways you can help:
1. Ask Them What’s on Their Mind
Some kids might voluntarily share any worries they have about going back to school, but many won’t. If your child is keeping mum, ask them how they’re feeling about school starting up again.
Older kids and teenagers often shut down when questioned about, well, anything really. So try to make a leading statement like, “Seeing your friends every day will be cool. But I’m guessing there is stuff that you might not be looking forward to…” Then wait for a response.
If they don’t respond, try again the next day. Eventually, they will open up to you, and when they do, the important thing is not to say the exact right thing but to simply listen, show interest and concern, and never judge.
2. Get Them Involved with Planning for the Year
To some teens, summer means a taste of freedom, of making choices for themselves, while school means little or no autonomy. To help counter this feeling, get your teen involved in decision-making at the beginning of the year.
Hold a “going back to school” family meeting, and make sure there are no media distractions, such as smartphones or TV on in the background. Discuss the year ahead, plan and set schedules for meals, homework, sports, school activities, and bedtime. Let your child share ideas and when possible make decisions about the family schedule. Write these plans down and keep a copy on the fridge for all to see.
3. Talk About Bullying
Kids of all ages worry about bullying, so it’s important to bring up the topic. You could make a simple statement such as, “Bullying is really common and it’s never OK, nor is it the victim’s fault when it happens. If anything happens to you or you see it happen to someone you know, I want you to tell me about it. We can make a plan together of how to handle it.”
Then there are those children who worry about starting school because they have issues with anxiety and depression. These children need help from a professional therapist who can uncover where the issues are coming from and offer tools and resources for coping in the real world.
All of our therapists are experienced in helping children and teens feel better and behave better. If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact us. We would be happy to speak with you about how we may be able to help.
Thinking of Seeking Treatment?
If you’re ready to seek treatment, we believe it’s important to find a therapist who fits your needs. And if you’re seeking a therapist for your child, you should find a therapist who is skilled at helping children. We offer a free consultation so you can find out if we’re a good fit for you or your child. Call or text us at 801-855-7999 to schedule a consultation. Or you may find it easier to use our online scheduling tool anytime, day or night, to find a time when you can talk with one of our therapists about your needs. Select New Client. Next, under Service, select either “Free Phone Consultation” (for a phone consultation) or “Free In-Office Consultation” (to come into our office in Clinton in person) and you’ll see a variety of times available. It’s quick and easy, and there’s no obligation.
If you’re not ready to seek treatment now but would like to learn more, we invite you to stay in touch as you continue learning about how best to help your child or improve your own mental health:
- Sign up for our free wellness newsletter. We share information about mental health, brain health and parenting. Plus, we’ll remind you about upcoming events. We usually send out our newsletter twice a month.
- Attend of one of our free community workshops. We hold workshops to help parents plus workshops to support teens at the same time.
- Learn more our founders and our team of therapists.
- Follow us on Facebook. We share some really cool stuff! Yes, we are active on Facebook and you can even contact us through Facebook Messenger!
- Follow us on Pinterest for tons of resources about mental health, your brain and parenting.
We understand that seeking therapy is a big decision and it can be intimidating, but we’re here to make it less scary and, ultimately, incredibly rewarding. We’re here when you’re ready to talk.
Your friends at NeuroTherapy and Trauma Center of Utah