And just like that, summer break is over for millions of students across the country. Time to get back in the classroom, whether in person or online. The last school year was full of new procedures and emergency changes due to COVID. This year, many schools are more prepared and equipped to navigate the challenges ahead.
While the day-to-day experience of being in the classroom or school environment is less of a threat to our focus and our health, many of us are still anxious to see how the 2021-2022 school year will shape up. With so many families experiencing significant days off last year, making sure that students aren’t left behind and are transitioning well to the demands of the new school year is on a lot of parent’s, teen’s, and their teacher’s minds.
Transitions Aren’t Easy
With a renewed focus on the value of in-person learning and socialization fully recognized for their importance, we may see some changes taking place. School should be a time of hands-on learning, making new friends, and a springboard of opportunities for teens to learn some successful habits of adulthood. Yet, back-to-school time can be stressful for students, parents, and teachers alike. The transition back to school schedules sometimes is a chaotic time, no matter if the classroom is digital or brick and mortar. It can be overwhelming hunting down and buying the right supplies, creating a new routine, and just considering all the upcoming deadlines, and the weight of a new year. To top it off, this time of life also adds plenty of social stressors to the mix.
Some of the most common stress triggers experienced include:
- Preparing for the coming year
- Re-negotiating the family schedule
- Figuring out rides and vehicle sharing
- Teen push-back or lack of communication
- Worrying about teen’s grades & their future
- Re-adapting their curriculum to the teaching format
- Managing online and traditional students
- Taking order of a new class of students
- Push-back or disrespect in the classroom
- State Testing for students that suffered delays due to the pandemic
- Meeting new classmates
- Change in routine
- Making good grades
- Managing extracurriculars or adding work into the mix
- The Looming Future
Teens Face Unique Challenges, But What Can You Do To Help?
If you’re a parent to a teen student, you’ve probably been through this transition quite a few times. Even if you’ve accepted the inevitable driving store to store, finding the right supplies, dropping a paycheck on new outfits, or even the stress of morning bathroom routines – teens face a fresh set of struggles every year. From hormones to social statuses, teen students face challenges specific to their stage of development. In addition, as they age, they start feeling the pressure and stress of adulthood looming over their heads.
1. Talk to your teen
Having an open line of communication with your teen child is ideal. Some days may seem better than others when it comes to communicating with your teen. The key is to be empathetic and remember they aren’t an adult yet and aren’t going to think like one most of the time, despite their demands to be treated like one. Have patience with their developing mind and changing hormones. They are still learning, and so are you. Whether it’s your first or fifth child, the teen years really draw out individuality, and no two parent-child relationships are alike.
2. Remember: Even If They’ve Done It Every Year, This One Is Different
By their teen years, students have often gotten quite familiar with the annual cycle of returning to the classroom. However, a whole new line of stressors has developed since the start of the COVID pandemic. Besides some new hygiene procedures and increased offerings in online schooling options, much of the post covid school stressors include things related to:
- Social Distancing & School Activities
- Anxiety Related to Meeting New People
- Hybrid Learning Experiences
- Emotional Management
Post-COVID, we are all also having to deal with new social structures and opportunities, unlike years past that can cause undue stress or anxiety from you or your teen.
3. Reach out for help when you need it
Summer never feels long enough, and adulthood is right around the corner for teen students. Each school year signifies the scaffolded growth that has happened to that point. By being aware and diligent, we can ease the stress of back-to-school transitions for everyone involved.
For parents, teachers, and teens with a history of anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues – back to school time is extra stressful. Knowing what triggers your stress or your anger and developing the healthy coping techniques to combat it can feel like a lifesaver. Having a great support team can also be the difference in making what could be a traumatic time into something you learn and heal from. Consider inviting a trained therapist to be a part of your team, to help you develop awareness and take steps to feel more balanced and calm as you start out this school year.
Pure Health Center offers a warm, upscale counseling center dedicated to helping clients gain healing through improved insight and empowerment. Our experienced staff provides a safe, comfortable environment to share your stress and work toward treating anxiety, depression, and are avilable to help with the specific needs of your family.