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  • Writer's pictureWenna

High School Anxiety

kid wrapped in a blanket anxious about starting high school

If you are a parent of a grade 8 student who is getting ready to go to high school for the first time this fall or any kind of upcoming transition, you may notice genuine excitement about this upcoming new stage in their lives. You may also notice that their stress levels are up from where they normally are during a summer break.

Stress and anxiety are strongly linked to change. Change is often a positive thing and is certainly unavoidable, however, we all have a finite capacity for change. Every child’s limit is different, depending on how much they value and seek novelty, but we all have a point beyond which more changes (even minor or positive ones) produce feelings of stress.

Check out the life events survey in my previous post “Why Am I Feeling So Overwhelmed?” to see how changes in you or your child’s life may be contributing to their current stress level.

If you feel your child’s stress has moved beyond the healthy level and they are having difficulty sleeping, constantly preoccupied or restless, try the following activity, which may help get their fears out of their heads and onto paper. Once something has been put into words and on paper, it is more concrete. It is easier to deal with the concrete than the abstract.

Write down a list of everything that worries you about going to (high school, middle school, camp)

  • For each thing on your list, write both the best and the worst possible outcome - how likely are either of those outcomes? rate on a scale of 1-10

  • What seems to be a more likely outcome?

  • How might you manage that outcome- brainstorm a list of ideas

This is simply to help your child break down their fears and strategize on how they can take back some control. Remember that being nervous and feeling stress over something new is normal and healthy. Having the opportunity to manage those fears is an important part of developing resilience and of growing up. Sometimes they just need a little nudge in the right direction from a caring adult.

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