Going back to school time is always fun in some ways and stressful for teens too. How so? Okay, should we discuss the fun stuff first or the tough stuff first? Maybe we should dive right into the tough stuff. That’s the most important thing right now, being aware so that we can have a peaceful and even fun return to school after summertime. Here are some things for parents to consider as their teen goes back to school this Fall.
High School Teens Have a Lot of Social Pressure
High school can be a brutal place emotionally! Let’s say that the end of the school year left off with a crush that ended awkwardly, a group of girls that rejected your daughter, or an embarrassing incident that resulted in a cruel nickname. It could be any number of things, and your teen might not be telling you exactly what it is. Even though it might be eating them up inside.
The level of taunting and self-esteem damage in high school can be tremendous. To the point where they are skipping school or initiated harmful behaviors like cutting, to deal with the emotional pain. Other teens choose drugs or alcohol. Still others go the other direction, pushing themselves to the point of exhaustion to be perfect.
Academic Expectations For Teens Are Set Very High, Too
Anxiety can run high for teens going back to school in the Fall after break. In addition to the social triggers I mentioned, anxiety can also take the form of academic anxiety. Test anxiety, for example, can be overwhelming. And there will always be certain subjects that are just more challenging for some than others. Teens are having to learn a little of everything, there is no way they can master them all.
Remember that expecting your teen to be perfect academically is really asking too much of them and could actually lead them towards failing where they would have potentially achieved – just from the stress of it all.
Time Management and a Relaxed Attitude Can Help Your Teen!
I wrote an article about time management for teens recently because it really helps to much with balance and stress for everyone in the family. A relaxed attitude is the other key part. If everyone in the family can accept everyone’s perfect imperfections and let go of the outcome, they might be surprised to see how positive it could be.
Counseling is honestly crucial to help a family who is struggling get on track toward this kind of positive place. It really helps to be able to have someone to vent to, both individually, and together as a family.
Relationships are not easy! They are amazing and bring so much joy, but just as easily can bring so much pain. The teenage years are daunting. We, as adults, have to remember what it was like to have to go back to the same group of people you’ve grown up with, or to a new school with a whole new set of people, and physically have grown, yet still are developing, and have complex relationships with everyone, or are making brand new relationships. Whoa! That’s a lot for anyone!
When we start to understand perspective of our teen, we can start to preemptively act accordingly to who they are as a person, remembering that they are growing into adulthood and teaching them the positive skills they need when they go off on their own.
If this positive outlook is something your family has been looking for, consider counseling. My door is always open.
And Finally… The Fun Stuff About Going Back To School!
There is still always that buzz and excitement of going back to school. Help your teen embrace it. Do treat your teen to a new outfit, shoes and a few new notebooks and utensils. It’s good to reuse stuff from last year, but make sure your child feels confident and fresh in their appearance from Day 1. Did they ask to dye their hair pink, sport a more boyish look, or something else you’re surprised about? If it’s not hurting anyone or breaking the rules, maybe try letting them go for it! When your teen feels comfortable enough to express themselves, you might find your relationship get even closer.
And how could we forget…. We get so excited about supplies! Here are some fun ones… 🙂
About the Author
Katie Bisbee-Peek founded Peek Counseling from working with teens and young adults, individuals and families, and understanding the unique perspective from their age. It’s a lens that is special and also super magnified.
Katie’s professional and personal experiences have guided her towards working with youth and young people to help them through life’s heartaches and bounce back from challenges with someone by their side, in their corner. To set up a consultation, click here for a warm welcome.