There’s no doubt we want to give our kids all that we can—opportunity, experience, values, and more. But there’s one thing we often see well-meaning parents give their children unintentionally: anxiety.
Reducing anxiety in children often means talking with parents about behaviors that consciously or unconsciously influence their students. Even though parents have good intentions, the reality is that we don’t know what we don’t know. As much as we wish it were so, our children didn’t come with a user manual to help them become their best selves, so we often put our best foot forward and embrace habits that we think are in our children’s best interest.
If you practice any of these five habits, it’s possible that they could give your child anxiety, particularly about school:
1. Insisting On All A’s or Top Grades
Few students can achieve top grades all the time. Instead, focus on your child being excited about what they learn, your child truly understanding what they are learning, and your child becoming a great problem solver.
Allowing your child to over-schedule themselves is equally as detrimental as when you do the over-scheduling. Having too much on their plate allows for little down time. We often see this in the higher grades when students are trying to build a college resume or students who play travel sports.
This could be the perfect opportunity to help your child develop planning skills. Work with them to determine what would be reasonable by making a schedule together that accounts for school and extracurricular activities, and modify as needed.
3. Rewarding For “Good” Grades & Punishing For “Bad” Grades
Instead of punishing for bad grades, consider failure as an opportunity to learn and get better. Instead of rewarding good grades, reward your child’s effort.
4. Insisting Your Child Work Above Their Level Or Ability
Today’s competitive school system means parents are pushing students as early as 5th and 6th grade for honors classes, gifted placements, and hiring regular tutors to boost competency in subjects. Families who exhibit this habit are often over-schedulers (habit No. 2) as well.
5. Not Being An Advocate/Cheerleader For Your Child
Every student needs parental involvement and support. Not being dialed in to your student can generate school anxiety for them. Make time daily to review school assignments together with your child.
Worried your child may suffer from an anxiety disorder? Need more info on anxiety treatment for your child? Psyched Services’ team of behavior analysts and educational psychologists are here to help. We bring psychological and educational testing right to your home. Our team of Pocket Coaches are accessible remotely and use ABA practices to support students and their families. We can help you set up a plan for your family.