Sometimes School is Spelled S-T-R-E-S-S-E-D
September is here and that means back to school for many families. Just when we felt adjusted to our summer routine, change is occurring and some students and parents may find this new season challenging. Many start the year with high hopes, but academic, social, and family stress may affect a child’s performance in the classroom. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), children who are experiencing stress may have negative behavioral changes outside their normal ways of coping due to difficulty recognizing and verbalizing what they are experiencing. Children may become irritable or moody, withdraw from normally pleasurable activities, talk about worrying more, sleep too much or not enough, complain more than usual, cry, display unusual fearful reactions, be clingier to parents or teachers, and over eat or not eat enough. Adolescents may significantly avoid parents, abandon old friendships for new friend groups, or have excessive hostility toward family members. The APA noted that not all negative behavior changes are related to school stress, but they are an indication that something is wrong. Negative behaviors should not be ignored. Seeking individual or family counseling will provide much-needed support and allow students and families to work with a therapist to improve their situation.
Stress may cause a student to feel “sick.” Stomach aches, headaches, trips to the school nurse’s office or continued complaints after a physician has not found a medical reason for the discomfort may indicate your student is experiencing stress that may be related to school work, social pressures, or performance anxiety. Children may become self-critical or complain about their environment. Children and teens often do not understand the concept of stress and what it means, so they may express their distress through words such as worried, confused, irritated, and mad. Listening to your student and interpreting their complaints into something meaningful will allow parents to respond effectively to their child’s needs.
Research has shown that parents are happier when the parenting burden is relatively light. Parents of children with more challenging temperaments, behavior problems or medical conditions, parents with less social support, single parents, and parents of young children rather than grown children are often stressed by these factors that may contribute to anxiety or depressive symptoms. Research has also shown that children mirror their parents’ emotional distress. Families that are struggling emotionally, psychologically, and physically may benefit from counseling services. Parents who improve their self-care will be better equipped to help their children improve their mood, function, and school-related stress.
CenterLife Counseling in Centerville and White Bear Lake offers therapy for a variety of mental health issues – including adjustment stress. The professionals at CenterLife Counseling work with children, adolescents, adults, individuals, couples, and families on a wide variety of issues including anxiety, depression, trauma, grief, life transitions, relationship challenges, school and work performance issues, behavioral or emotional problems, and parenting and family issues. CenterLife is in-network for most major insurance carriers and EAP services. It is not necessary to struggle or feel frustrated with your child’s school-related stress or a parent’s reaction to it.
Andrea Veech M.A., LMFT
Call CenterLife Counseling today to schedule an appointment to find support and relief.
Fill out our online form, email or call one of our locations:
7039 20th Avenue S
Centerville, MN 55038
White Bear Lake, MN
4444 Centerville Road, Suite 235
White Bear Lake, MN 55127
Our dedicated staff of experienced professionals is here to work with you. We want you to feel comfortable and safe when you’re visiting with us, so we would like to introduce ourselves to you. As you consider selecting someone to schedule with, we encourage you to read through several bios to find the therapist who may be the best match for you.