If your tween is suffering from tween school anxiety, there are a few things you can do to help alleviate their stress and fix the problem:
First, discuss fears. Discussing the things that are causing them to feel anxious about school can be a great way to alleviate the stress of the problem, if not the problem itself. Your child may not appreciate you calling them “fears” as this may make them feel weak, or childish, but that is indeed what they are. Instead of calling them fears, you might ask them what is “bothering them” or why they do not want to go to school. It might be their classes or it might be insecurities they have about their clothes, appearance or the opposite gender; it might also be a shift in popularity from where their social crowd was in elementary school. Whatever is causing them school anxiety in all likelihood can be fixed but not if you do not discuss it and help them find solutions you can both live with. Encourage open discussions and make it easy for your tween to talk to you. If they are refusing to talk about it, give them space until they are willing to own up to the school anxiety, gently encouraging them along the way.
Second, teach problem solving skills. If you want your child to be able to cope with the tween school anxiety they face, you have to teach them some problem solving skills so that they can handle the causes of their anxiety on their own. Teach them ways to let go of the stress in their life and help them find things that they enjoy to help relieve stress, help them identify and name their fears and problems and encourage them to open up and discuss the problems that are causing them school anxiety so that they can rid themselves of those problems or at least reduce greatly the anxiety associated with them. There are many skills and tactics people use for problem solving. Help your tween learn a few of the basics and when to employ them for best results. Sometimes children simply lack the skill to handle the stress of a tougher academic schedule and the social pressures they face, among other things. Helping your child to get organized and have self-confidence will go a long way in encouraging their ability to handle academic and social stresses. Working with them to find something to look forward to whether it be an upcoming school break or graduation and college might help them re-focus as well.
Third, get them excited for school. One of the best ways to alleviate tween school anxiety is to get them more excited about school than afraid of it. They may fear their tougher coarse load and difficult classes, but they may look forward to wearing their new clothes, or being part of a school team. Do what it takes to get them excited about school. For example, you might take them back to school shopping for clothes and supplies or help them design a routine that will allow them to get school work done and have fun. Encourage them to join school teams and clubs and buy them the gear and equipment that they will need to play their sport of choice.
Tweens experience tremendous pressures and strains as they grow through that middle ground between adolescence and the teen years; it can be a very difficult time in any child’s life. However, with your help, as their parent, they will get through the tween years stronger and smarter than they otherwise would have. There are plenty of ways to get your child excited about school, so find one that works for your child so that some of their fears can be abated.