|Stressed to the MAX!|
I consider it a “culture shock” to return from vacation. First of all, it takes about three days to wind down once I get where I’m going, realize that I’m not on work/mother/maid duty anymore and finally relax. Returning poses a more difficult challenge. Oh, the shock of it all! Who’s going to make my bed?! Frantic schedules become the norm once again and I’m forced to regroup. Sometimes my stress level starts to rise before I even step through the door.
Teens experience similar emotions as the school year approaches after a long summer vacation. Even if their summer was filled with volunteer or work opportunities, a more lax schedule with time to surf, hike or hang out was likely in the mix. Therefore, as the demanding school year draws near, many teens begin to experience higher stress levels. Parents can help their teens get a handle on stress before it wreaks havoc on the child’s psyche.
Why back-to-school stress?
Richard N. Shadick, Ph.D., director of Pace University Counseling Center and adjunct professor of psychology reports, “Often teens feel stress about the start of the school year because their schedule is quite different during the summer. They are used to fewer demands and expectations. Also, during the summer, some teens tend to lose their social network. This makes for an awkward transition and a need to get reacquainted with peers after much time has passed.”
Teens might be concerned about considerable changes as well, such as more intense academic loads or new school environments. Shadick points out, “Depending on the year, teens may be facing major challenges such as starting high school, applying to colleges or looking for work.”
Shadick warns, “Signs that your teen’s stress is getting out of hand include drastic changes in their grades, personality or habits. For example, if a neat and orderly teen starts to become disheveled and disorganized, parents may need to be concerned.” Parents should seek professional help if their teen is extremely anxious, seems unusually depressed or exhibits signs of substance abuse.
Shadick believes that planning a structured summer is essential because this alleviates a drastic transition. He also says, “Encourage your teen to stay in contact with their friends from school so that they will have the social support they need when they return to classes.” Shadick reminds parents to frequently talk with their teens about the transition from summer vacation to school, and to work with them on being properly prepared for the change.
Ideas for a Stress-free Start:
• A fresh haircut, new shoes or a new outfit can be great confidence boosters.
• Don’t forget to schedule “downtime.”
• Teens should abide by “school night” curfews a week prior to the beginning of the school year.
• Organize supplies and study areas beforehand.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 July 2011 08:30 )|