Back to school is a special time for parents and students. During this time, students focus their concerns on several things while parents have a list of their own. Students often worry about academics, social acceptance, or concerns about their own self-perceptions. Parents find themselves downplaying their concerns until summertime winds down, and then they begin worrying about academics, mental health, school shootings, social media usage, and peer pressure. This wonderful season is packed with uncertainty and throttled with anticipation for the year ahead. Now that school has been in session for a few weeks, let’s identify what can be done to combat any anxiety you or your child may be experiencing.
The Bible gives us specific insight in regard to uncertainty and anticipation. Philippians 4:6-7 urges individuals to “not be anxious about anything.” Matthew 6:34 encourages individuals to “not be anxious about tomorrow.” Uncertainty is the state of being unsure and experiencing unpredictable and unreliable conditions. If you are human, uncertainty can make you feel apprehensive about moving forward. The Bible teaches Christians to look ahead and believe with certainty that prayers will be answered. It is also very possible for individuals to anticipate something negative, and that very thing comes to fruition. A combination of the words anticipation and uncertainty urge an individual to be prepared to trust in God because unpredictable things can and will happen. It is also helpful for Christians to find a way to cope in the natural body.
Jitters or anxiety can be triggered by a big event or a build-up of more minor stressful life situations. It is in human nature to seek understanding during times of uncertainty. Attempting to understand can, in some cases, cause individuals to overthink. Overthinking can cause individuals to develop anxiety over time. Overthinking often leads individuals to be inactive because it can induce feelings of overwhelm and fear. Most overthinking causes individuals to experience analysis paralysis. Continuous thoughts, with little to no resolution, can cause one not to make any decisions. Overthinking can leave individuals stuck with no way to move forward.
There are many differences and similarities in how parents and children experience stress. Parents experience stress related to responsibility and children face stress related to expectation. For parents, school safety, peer pressure, and will their child be accepted among their peers are only a handful of the worries. It is typical for parents to feel somewhat responsible if their children are not doing well in school. Much of the stress children face concerns peer relations, establishing their identity, and balancing home and school life. The concerns of the parents and students are both valid.
Jjitters can also cause individuals to have some physical symptoms. Common physical symptoms include body aches, stomach aches, and tense muscles. In addition, parents tend to avoid allowing their children to participate in activities because of fear for their child’s safety. Thoughts of uncertainty can cause parents to experience fatigue and irritability, plus cause difficulty sleeping. Students may also have trouble sleeping and even refuse to go to school.
As the responsible party, it is vital for parents not to transfer their fears and unhealthy rationalizations to their children. Parents need to understand what they can do to help their children feel comfortable. Combating your misunderstanding is a good start. Identifying your fears and addressing your overthinking can prove effective. Parents can also foster a healthy communication relationship with their children. Healthy communication allows children to express their concerns with parents, allows parents to validate their child’s feelings, and helps them rationalize their unhealthy thoughts. Assisting students to find comfort can prepare them to cope with anxiety and provide a space for a healthy school year.
George Ishman knew at an early age he wanted to be an advocate for change and an inspiration for individuals who live in communities facing economic challenges. Ishman received his undergraduate degree in English from ASU in 2017, where he graduated Cum Laude. He obtained his Master of Science Degree in Counseling and Psychology from Troy University in 2021. As a new counselor, George is looking forward to helping clients find solutions and resources that will support their efforts to achieve their optimal level of functioning. George provides Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Behavioral Modification Therapy, and Supportive Therapy for adults and adolescents.