Psychologist Gives These Key Signs To Spot
With new research showing that 76 percent of parents believe their child to be under too much pressure at school, it’s more important than ever to spot signs of stress in the younger members of your family.
The recent poll of 2,000 parents of school-age children across the country conducted by Course Hero found more than a fifth have sought medical assistance to help with their son or daughter’s school-related anxiety.
While as many as nine in ten fear their child is struggling to cope with managing their academic workload.
Results showed the great majority of parents felt they had it easier when they were a child in terms of competition for school or college placement as well as the burdens laid upon them from an early age.
In fact, parents said kids today deal with levels of pressure and stress almost more suited for adults.
Perhaps that’s why 79 percent felt kids are made to grow up too fast today while two in three said their child was currently at risk of burnout due to the amount of stress they placed on their studies.
“Now, more than ever, students are under tremendous amounts of pressure to perform well in school,” says Patrick Mork, CMO of Course Hero. “As the survey shows, parents are also burdened with this pressure, which leads them to take any action possible to help relieve school-related stress on their child”.
But how do you know for sure if your child is in danger of buckling under the pressure? When should you be springing into action to help? According to psychologist Dr Ilana Blatt-Eisengart, there are several important signs you should be looking out for:
The most common sign of school-related stress is avoiding anything to do with school, whether it be doing homework or even going to class at all.
“If your child is consistently trying to avoid attending school or if homework takes forever because of your child’s emotional reaction (or over-reaction!) they are trying to tell you that school is stressing them out,” says Doctor Blatt-Eisengart.
For the child who is struggling to fall or stay asleep, Doctor Blatt-Eisengart recommends asking them questions such as: “Are you worried about what will happen at school tomorrow?” or perhaps they are worried about a project they need to finish.
Trouble at drop-off
Many children can become emotional when being dropped off for the day at school, but normally this is something that decreases over time.
“If your child has had time to adjust to their school and teacher and is consistently clingy or tearful at drop off time, this could be a sign of school stress,” explains the doctor.
Dislike of school
This may seem like an obvious one as the idea of kids hating school is far from novel, but it is especially worrying if a child in younger years of school are expressing dislike of being there. ‘Teachers – especially elementary school teachers- work hard to make school fun,’ says Doctor Blatt-Eisengart. “If your elementary-aged child is saying things like ‘My teacher is mean’ or ‘School is too hard’, this may be a sign of school stress.”
Should your child be exhibiting these signs, there are several things that you can do. Number one: the top priority has to be setting up a meeting with the teacher.
“They may have some valuable observations about what is going on in the classroom, and also may have suggestions as to how to help your child feel more confident and comfortable,” says Doctor Blatt-Eisengart.
Next, it would be a good idea to allow the child a bit of leeway on their homework. If you notice that they are working at a disproportionate length on something, allow them to stop. ‘Write a note to the teacher letting them know that your child worked hard for the appropriate amount of time and this is how much they were able to do,’ says the doctor, adding that this will not only help the child, but also notify the teacher that he or she may need more support.
If these measures don’t do the trick, consider bringing your child in for an evaluation to see if there are underlying factors including a learning disability, anxiety, depression or ADHD that could be contributing to their stress.