School anxiety is out of control these days. In the academic world of the 21st century, children and youth are being crushed under a mountain of stressors. When reading the news, it seems there is no hope.
Things that cause kids extreme stress are:
Being exposed to stress is actually very good for human development. The world is a stressful place and if kids are to grow up to be healthy, happy, self-motivated and successful, then they must be exposed to constructive and controlled stressors so they can become stress hardy and resilient.
More than 600 scientific studies since the 1970’s have demonstrated this fact in every industry and profession. Work completed by Dr. Salvatore Maddi and his team in the corporate world led the way to this amazing discovery.
It is important to note that the stressors must be constructive and controlled and NOT traumatic or uncontrolled. School is no exception to this rule. Stress can be a useful tool in the school experience, but it should never be traumatic.
In spite of all the stress facing children and youth as they navigate the modern educational world; there is a way for parents to make school anxiety much easier to bear and to ensure that exposure to stress produces positive rather than negative results.
In addition to exposure to early stressors, kids need two profound tools. The first tool gives kids the support they need to learn how to deal with stress and the other to give them a reason to put up with all the stress. With these two factors covered as a part of the child raising recipe, stress strengthens a person, but without these two things in place, stress can do significant damage to a person’s brain.
The first thing, which helps a young person learn to deal with school anxiety and stress, is having access to a rock solid support person who is there when stress happens or is available within a short time of the stressful situation. This person helps the person learn from mistakes and process the emotions associated with the event.
This support person helps to pick up the child or teen, dusts them off, so to speak, and sends them back out into the world to be exposed to new and better stressors. This person is key in helping the youth choose healthy coping behaviors and to stay true to values and ethics.
The second thing a person needs is a sense of purpose, which is internally motivated. With a sense of purpose, a person has a reason to tolerate stress and this makes all the difference in the world. It helps to keep young people on an even keel and moving forward rather than getting sidetracked or becoming stalled.
With a sense of purpose, the body produces a higher level of stress hormones rather than just the traditional fight, flight or freeze hormones in the face of a stressor. With this balancing feature in place, stress can be empowering rather than disempowering.
Overall, school anxiety can be overwhelming; however, with strong support systems and a sense of purpose, all students have the ability to leverage the school experience to gain future health, happiness and success.