The start of a new school year can be an “anxious time” for adolescents. The uncertainty of the past couple of years has only contributed to the anxiety so many children are feeling. Generally, anxiety is a term used for nervousness, fear, apprehension and worry.
That said, school is a good thing; kids need to socialize with other kids and adults. The positives of “in school” learning far outweigh the risks in my opinion.
Reasons for Anxiety
If you are the parent of an adolescent boy who is visibly anxious, pay attention it can morph into a serious matter. Anxiety will affect the way he behaves, and if not dealt with can turn into real physical symptoms. There’s truth in the old saying “you’re going to worry yourself sick.”
Here’s a short list of reasons a boy may feel anxiety:
- parents arguing often
- parents divorced or divorcing
- being bullied
- can’t seem to please parents
- peer pressure
- identity confusion
Under the circumstances, let’s add GETTING BACK TO SCHOOL to the top of the list.
Tips for Parents
- Dad may not be keeping his son active enough! Boys are sitting in their room or in the basement playing video games letting their mind race and worry.
- Research tells us the average time fathers are spending with the kids is 10 minutes a day. That must change, they need 3-5 hours a week at a minimum of one-on-one time; mentoring, teaching and at times just being together.
- Get him active; activities keep the mind and body healthy. If school is offering sports, clubs etc. get him enrolled!
- If you witness panic attacks, take action and get them to a professional.
It’s not uncommon to have periods of anxiousness or anxiety. When this feeling hangs on for more than a couple of hours it’s time to address what’s causing angst; especially with children. Ask the question, “hey what’s going on, are you okay” is a great start. Remember, once the question is asked just listen. Knowing you care and are supportive by validating his feelings may be all that is required!
If you find you can’t get your son to open up it might be time to involve a professional; I recommend a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). LPC’s are trained in counseling and at a minimum have a Master’s Degree in the counseling field. They must pass a very difficult comprehensive exam followed by a rigorous supervision of 3000+ hours before they receive their license. This is important to know; in some states, it is not necessary to be licensed as an LPC to practice counseling! Make sure the LPC you choose is licensed and has experience working with the adolescent population to ensure the best outcome.
Bottom line, let’s get back to school!