Parents should prepare for student anxiety
To make sure their kids do well both in life and school, parents will have to do their homework.
The beginning of every school year brings a surge of new appointments said Peg Tan, MS. LPC and kids team leader at Valley Mental Health in Park City.
Students report to the clinic in high numbers during September and October to deal with the stress that comes with the return to school.
Tan said much of the strain upon students can be avoided by setting reasonable expectations at the beginning of each year. For instance, a student who typically achieves a B or C average shouldn’t expect to suddenly earn A grades. Those sorts of unrealistic expectations can create undue stress and possibly lead to depression in the long run.
Truly smart students and parents will frequently discuss realistic goals and prepare for reasonable achievements. The key to keeping students out of trouble and in positive moods is to manage their expectations.
Of course, it may be difficult to get young people to open up and talk about these issues, but parents can approach their children in creative and informed ways. Tan suggested that parents choose activities that both they and their children enjoy and use the opportunity provided by that experience to converse and bring up serious issues carefully. The best time to open these dialogues, said Tan, is always at the beginning of the school year.
Past chats, parents should also keep a close eye on their students at all times. Valley Mental Health recommends that parents make unscheduled visits to students just to make sure that they are in the right places at the right times. Parents should also watch student behavior. Apathy or sudden lack of interest in favorite pastimes is a clear sign of frustration and possible depression. Any of these signs arise, and parents should look to intervene.
"When a parent or a child is feeling like (stress, or other emotional issues are) impeding on their functioning, that’s when a parent or a child should seek (professional) help," said Tan. In other words, as long as students handle themselves and their stress normally, discussion and venting are the best ways to relieve anxiety. If these methods are unsuccessful and the student shows signs of withdrawing, a visit to a professional is suggested.
Parents looking for more information may visit http://www.parentsempowered.org or take advantage of Valley Mental Health at 649-8347 or counseling services at their child’s school.
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