As parents, we have to realize that our children rarely will open up to us if they are experiencing any problems or anxiety, whether at home or at school. This can be due to embarrassment, fears of being punished, or retribution from siblings or classmates. And sometimes they just can’t figure out what is bothering them, a common sign of anxiety. Sometimes there are signs that we can pick up on that may help us decide if there is a problem. Significant changes in behavior sleep patterns, homework or grade patterns, and friendships may be signs that your child is experiencing school issues or anxiety. As parents, it’s our instinct to want to jump right in to protect and help our children. Although it’s fine to initially address the situation with your child, it’s important to not be overbearing and to back off if you are met with resistance. It might be helpful to talk to your pediatrician if this occurs.
It's important to remember that when placed in any new situation, all children (and parents, too) are going to need to take time to adjust. Realize that your child will require a period of time to figure out their comfort zone and what's required for them to fit in to their new environment. Fortunately, there are steps you can take as a parent to make the prospect less daunting-the key is to prepare your child both emotionally and physically so that they can have the best start possible this school year.
- Identify and address anxieties you have about your struggling child.
- Set a time and place to discuss the issue when your child is most relaxed.
- Start the discussion with hopeful empathy.
- Help your child remember past successes.
- Form a plan.
- Familiarize your child with the school.
- Talk to your pediatrician if you notice any significant changes in behavior.