Your teen feels stressed at the thought of going to school, and you feel stressed about how to help them. When our performance is being evaluated, such as at school, it’s natural to feel a little nervous or heightened awareness. In fact, studies show that when an individual finds a situation “challenging,” it can produce increased competence and capacity for learning. That means that academic challenges can make us more productive and give us an opportunity to feel positively. However, there is a line that performance anxiety can cross; if your child experiences school and assignments as “threatening,” they can feel helpless and overwhelmed. So while a healthy amount of rising to the challenge is good for productivity, if school activities become too stressful, it can have quite a crushing effect. People with performance anxiety often rate school as one of the most important things in their life, which can exacerbate their stress.
And since school includes a social element, school stress can be exacerbated by friction with classmates and teachers. Dealing with unpleasant situations such as cliques or bullies can add another layer of performance anxiety.
Some individuals won’t necessarily think of themselves as being stressed by school; however, they may experience symptoms of stress like difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, excessive fatigue, or loss of interest in school activities.
At Take Root Therapy, we take great care to create a completely non-judgmental environment, where your teen can meet with a professional therapist to discover where agitation about school may be originating from, such as performance anxiety and pressure to succeed, academic challenges, or social dynamics and dealing with difficult people. From there, your therapist will help your teenager develop pointed strategies for dealing with the source of stress, as well as healthier coping mechanisms for managing symptoms of stress. Excessive school stress can make your child feel like hiding away; however, with the help of a therapist who they truly feel is on their team and has their best interests at heart, your teenager can find joy in their daily routine again.