How To Help Your Teen Deal With Anxiety About School

Anxiety is a common affliction, especially these days. Many of us feel it when we’re in public spaces, at school, or in a new situation. Sometimes it pops up when we’re not expecting it, and it can be difficult to get rid of. Coping with anxiety is tricky, especially when we don’t understand what’s at the root of it. For many teens, this feeling comes and goes, but for others, anxiety is a daily occurrence that can affect performance in school if not checked.   

It’s important, then, to talk to your teen about those feelings and let her know that it’s totally normal. Sometimes, feeling weird or different only adds to the anxiety, and it builds up until we hardly know ourselves anymore. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to identify it and learn how to handle it. Here are some of the best.   

Let her know it’s normal  

If your teen is experiencing anxiety and it’s affecting her at school, talk to her about what she’s feeling and let her know that it’s totally normal. The idea that she’s different than her peers may be contributing to the negative feelings, so assure her that, on average, about 1 in 5 young people deal with anxiety every day.   

Differentiate  

Help your teen learn that there’s a difference between feeling something and being her own person. Those feelings of anxiety are not tied to her personality; they are temporary and will go away, whereas her ideas, thoughts, and personality are all her own.   

Listen   

Because school is such a big part of a teen’s life, having anxiety about some aspect of it can affect many different things, such as academic performance, sleep, eating habits, behavior, and can even cause physical issues that seem like an illness, such as stomach trouble or shaky hands. Talk to your teen and listen to the things that make her feel worried or negative, then help her figure out the best way to overcome those feelings. If she’s scared she won’t get good test scores for college, help her study or set her up with a tutor. Let her know that you’re there for her and that you’ll get through the exams together.   

Get help  

Sometimes anxiety comes on so strong it requires therapy or counseling. Don’t be afraid to talk to your teen about seeking support from a counselor or therapist who is trained to handle these things. There may be some resistance at first, but having a conversation with someone who understands all the ways anxiety can affect a young person can be very eye-opening.   

Be patient  

Staying patient can be difficult, especially if you don’t understand what your teen is feeling. Remember that anxiety can show itself in many different forms, and don’t take it personally if an emotional outburst occurs. It’s most likely just your teen’s way of letting off some of that steam.   

Explore coping methods  

A therapist can help you find many ways to cope with anxiety, but one of the most popular is meditation. It can help by focusing the mind on the present, rather than allowing our thoughts to get away from us in worrying about the future or the past. Talk to your teen about taking up yoga, or simply sitting in a quiet space and narrowing down the thoughts to focus on breathing.   

Remember that many forms of anxiety are only temporary, and they can all be coped with once your teen finds the best way to do so for her. Use this as a time to talk about negative coping methods that should be avoided. Ultimately, try to be patient and let her know you’re there for her.   

Author of this article, Tilda Moore, researches and writes about educational resources for openeducators.org. She is passionate about helping parents and teachers in providing kids with the best education possible. She works directly with teachers and other public education groups to ensure they are working toward our vision of constructing a reliable database of verified information.