For Parents: Do you have a child transitioning to High School with Anxiety?

For Parents: Do you have a child transitioning to High School with Anxiety?

If you are a student or the parent of a student transitioning to high school that is feeling stressed or anxious, this article is intended to help you feel a bit more relaxed. All students feel their anxiety levels wax and wane as the school year progresses. For students transitioning to high school, your anxiety level may trigger you daily. This article is intended to help students and operate as a guide for parents with the transition process by providing the reader with direct skill-based self-management tools.

Directly Dealing with the Anxiety: A Guide for Students

Students: Take a solutions-driven approach and identify “problem” areas- or strengths to develop further) in social & peer-to-peer interaction. IF you’re a student and you don’t get along too well with your peers and want to experience social growth, ask yourself what’s wrong with my bend on socialization? What are your peers saying? I would never recommend listening to your friends or other students’ carte blanche but definitely in small does, ask yourself: why is this person suggesting I change the way I speak or interact with them?

Allies in School

Elementary School and/or Middle School may not have gone well, but those experiences are learning moments in discovering what didn’t go well? Which ways of making friends were ineffective for you? Learning how to discontinue certain behaviors or ways of speaking with people is hard, but so is the transition ahead so choose your friends wisely.

The Health of Your Friends 

The surest and most direct way for preparing for a smooth transition is providing yourself with a direct and immediate outlet for social support. This means simply having a go-to friend to talk about stuff with at school before any negative thoughts build up and become unmanageable. This go-to friend shouldn’t be leaned on all the time and should be given healthy doses of time when you don’t unload your daily troubles. In fact, remembering that this go-to point person is human too is very important. Treat this person well. Remind them that their self-care is important too.

Friendships and friends should always be accessed in a healthy, respectful manner. If you are a student or a parent and don’t feel your child is interacting appropriately with other students, do not play the blame game. Ally with your child to discover the reason why things are going well for your student when interacting with other peers. The reason may be more innocent than you think and you may not extinguish the lines of communication which can be very difficult to keep open at this age and transitional period into adolescence.

Supportive Counseling

Given the gigantic transition, you as a student are embarking on, I would not recommend discontinuing treatment if you are in therapy. At this time, you should begin to identify natural supports and how to access these supports when necessary and appropriate. This will serve as a gigantic organic step in healthy peer interaction, an outlet for potential emotional distress, and provide you with accessible natural support in school.

Edited: Autumn Tompkins

J. Peters

J. Peters

Max Guttman '08, MSW '12, is the owner of Recovery Now, a private mental health practice. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist and disability rights advocate, Max fights for those without a voice in various New York City care systems. He received a 2020 Bearcats of the Last Decade 10 Under 10 award from the Binghamton University Alumni Association. Guttman treats clients with anxiety and depression, but specializes in issues related to psychosis or schizoaffective spectrum disorders. He frequently writes on his lived experiences with schizophrenia. "I knew my illness was so complex that I’d need a professional understanding of its treatment to gain any real momentum in recovery," Guttman says. "After undergraduate school and the onset of my illness, I evaluated different graduate programs that could serve as a career and mechanism to guide and direct my self-care. After experiencing the helping hand of my social worker and therapist right after my 'break,' I chose social work education because of its robust skill set and foundation of knowledge I needed to heal and help others." "In a world of increasing tragedy, we should help people learn from our lived experiences. My experience brings humility, authenticity and candidness to my practice. People genuinely appreciate candidness when it comes to their health and recovery. Humility provides space for mistakes and appraisal of progress. I thank my lived experience for contributing to a more egalitarian therapeutic experience for my clients."

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One thought on “For Parents: Do you have a child transitioning to High School with Anxiety?

  1. What an insightful. Proactive health promotion and prevention article Max. Focus on wellness. Bravo

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