Being a teenager comes with a unique set of challenges, with academic-related stress and pressures causing anxiety in many students. This anxiety can be compounded with the uncertainty of today’s academic structure in light of the global pandemic. Teenage anxiety surrounding school can impact learning and academic success, but awareness of this anxiety and intervention strategies from parents can help children get the support they need to succeed.
How to help your child with school when they have school-related anxiety
Anxiety disorders interfere with teens’ ability to succeed in school in many ways. Teens with suspected and diagnosed anxiety conditions can have trouble participating in class discussions or projects, struggle with aches and pains from worry and panic, appear frequently distracted, display signs of extreme tiredness, or demonstrate school refusal.
If your child displays one or many of these symptoms and you suspect school-related anxiety is causing her to struggle academically, there are many steps you can take to help get her back on track.
1. Contact a healthcare professional – Often getting a diagnosis is the first crucial step in mental health support. Professional evaluation and advice early on will help get necessary interventions in place such as medication and therapy. Putting these interventions in place early will prevent anxiety setbacks from occurring any longer than they have to.
2. Understand the different forms of anxiety – When your child receives a diagnosis, you will also be able to find out what type of anxiety he is struggling with (generalized anxiety, panic disorder, separation anxiety, social anxiety, etc). Knowing which type your child is dealing with can help you and your child’s school find the best strategies to help him through his anxiety.
3. Work with your teen’s teachers – Constant communication with teachers can help ensure he is receiving support from all angles. Let his teachers know about his experiences with anxiety and how they can best support him in class providing specific examples of how to mitigate his anxious episodes. You could also look into getting your teen a 504 plan that will allow him to receive access to higher levels of support.
4. Make a plan with your child – Instead of letting him off the hook for academic responsibilities to help avoid the anxious episodes, work with your teen to implement a plan that allows him to slowly work his way into full participation. This is called exposure therapy and can be worked on with the help of a mental health therapist.
5. Practice difficult situations – If there are certain situations that trigger your teen’s anxiety, role-play these situations at home in a pressure-free environment. Rehearsing what to do and say in stressful situations can help your child to feel more confident and less anxious when it happens in real life.
If your teen needs more targeted support working through school-related anxiety, a program like BlueFire can help give her the all-encompassing care she needs.
BlueFire can help
BlueFire Wilderness Therapy is a premier wilderness therapy program for troubled teens struggling with emotional, social, and behavioral challenges. We utilize a comprehensive approach to teen treatment based on research and decades of experience.
Our academic program helps students by individually assessing their knowledge and needs, addressing their educational challenges, using nature as an experiential learning environment, and focusing on how best to transition their successes back home. For more information, please call (208) 502-2326.