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Overcome School-Related Anxiety And Making Friends – Part 1

Sunday, October 01, 2023

Sunday, October 01, 2023

Overcome School-Related Anxiety And Making Friends – Part 1

Sunday, October 01, 2023

Overcome School-Related Anxiety And Making Friends – Part 1

This practical and heartfelt video gives professional and proven strategies to help your child overcome school related anxiety.

A common problem I hear about from parents relates to how to overcome school-related anxiety.

I get it – school isn't just about books and grades; it's a journey filled with life lessons, friendships, and, yes, a bit of nervousness too. But it doesn’t need to be painful – for you or your child. In this article and video, we're going to unlock the secrets to not only alleviating those classroom jitters but also empowering your kiddos for a more resilient future.

Lucy, one of the lovely parents in my CALM Parents and Kids Hub,

has been having this very challenge with her daughter. In this case, Lucy’s

daughter is having school-related anxiety about not making friends.

On a recent call, we discussed strategies to deal with this, although you may be surprised that this was treated as two separate issues.

So in the video below we discuss the first part of this which is how to overcome school-related anxiety. Watch now to discover some practical techniques you can use in this situation too:

Not Making Friends So Not Going To School:

Lucy is having trouble with her daughter who is refusing to go to school. Here’s the problem, in Lucy’s own words:

“I have an 11 year old girl who refused to go to school all of term four last year. We have changed schools and she had actually started going. She was in loving it, re-engaged in learning. And I said, ‘Okay, it's going to take some time to make friends.’

She has now started refusing going to school because she hasn't made any friends yet.

Now, I'm trying to work with the school as well, and I'm hopefully starting to get her re-engaged… I've given her knitting and creative things she likes to do at lunchtime. So she's not doing nothing at lunchtime, and kids might come over and help her make friends. This is a bit of a kickstart, but it's not enough yet for her.

So, where do I begin to start helping to instill that belief that yes, ‘You can make friends. It’s going to take some time and, but we are going to get there.’
Firstly, I love that Lucy is saying to her that “We're going to get there” and “I'm on your team”. That's really important.

Here's what's happening with Lucy at the moment, and this may help you, too.

Lucy’s daughter is associating going to school with negative thoughts and feelings.

Associating School With Stress:

I'm going to give you an analogy that might help.

A lot of people associate work and stress. So they decide that they can only be relaxed when they're not at work.

Now the same thing can happen when you are with your kids. A lot of people associate stress with the kids and they think they can only be relaxed when they're away from the kids or from the chaos or whatever's going on.

It's super important for us to be able to regulate ourselves in stress and not think that we can only regulate ourselves and feel relaxed when we are away from stress.

Because one of the biggest problems with kids not going to school – and many adults who think they need a holiday – is because they associate holiday with leisure and relaxing and the rest with stress. This is because they haven't learned how to self-regulate and calm and relax throughout ANY day. EVERY day.

I'm not talking about bubble baths, although they're great and I encourage everyone to have bubble baths and massages and so on. A lot of people see self-love as those activities.

Yet we need to love ourselves and be kind to ourselves and be able to calm our nervous system all the time because too many of us are associating stress with a particular thing (e.g. school, work). So Lucy's daughter is associating school with anxiety, and that she can’t make friends.

Teach Your Child To Know They Can Handle Stressful Situations:

Now what we need to help her know is that firstly, she can handle stressful situations. That she can handle challenges no matter where she is.

She also needs to develop a belief that her going to school and friendships are not necessarily associated. So she can have friends anywhere and she can make friends anywhere.

And when she begins to believe that she can make friends elsewhere, then she'll believe that “I can make friends and it's actually got nothing to do with school.”

Now this is challenging her belief system, but at the moment she's got this belief that school and making friends is all in one. So we want to help her understand that firstly, going to school is not just about making friends.

We’ll get to the ‘making friends’ part later. But for now, let's focus on the going to school or all the things she's awesome at, at school.

Get her thinking about what she's actually really successful at when she's at school.

What are some positive things about school?

What are some things she could be thinking about at school?

Lucy has already said her daughter is very capable. So she's miles ahead of many other kids if she's really capable at school and has got some advantages of that already.

‘Making friends’ doesn't have to be associated with that. So we need to deal with those two things separately.

First, Instil Self-Belief:

So I'd love for you to now focus on helping her to believe in herself.

We want her to believe that she's a pretty awesome student and she's great at being at school. She's been to school before. She's pretty good at it.

Now the key here is that SHE BELIEVES IT.

It's not you trying to sell the idea to her to help her change and shift her beliefs about herself and about school.

We're always trying the sneaky side door methods with kids, because they're pretty masterful at manipulating and doing things that they want to do.

So what we're going to support her with is things like:

“Wow, you are so good at that.”

“Oh my God, have you noticed how efficient you are with doing your schoolwork?”

“Have you noticed that you’re not just so good at your schoolwork, you're smart. Have you noticed how efficient you are?”

“Oh wow, you calculated that really quickly! When you're at school, do you calculate things really quickly like that?”

“Do you find schoolwork easy? Do you find it hard? How do you find it?”

And we want her to answer.

So you are getting her to imagine herself thriving, doing well, and she only needs a fleeting vision of herself there. She's already now believing she can do it.

Rather than you having to prove it to her, she's just proven it to herself.

Planting Seeds

Just let that land. You've planted a seed. She's now envisaging herself in the classroom, achieving, thriving. And you didn't have to do much work. It was purely you complimenting her or noticing something.

Remember, we are noticing the process. We are not noticing the going to school. Too many families are talking about school… school… school… and school.

So we want to say, “When you're in the classroom, how do you find that? Do you find it tricky? Do you find it easy?”

IMPORTANT NOTE:

You’re only asking this for a person who's thriving, who is smart enough and capable. If you've got a child who struggles, you're not going to ask this question because that's an unpleasant reminder for them. Be sure to remember that.


We want to ask kids who can do this, who are quite able, so we are building on their strengths.


One of the categories in my C.A.L.M. model is the A – Alignment. This is about their strengths. Let's realign them with their strengths, because too many kids who are anxious are focusing on what they can't do instead of what they can do.


So that's the school side. Once you realise you can do it with that, you'll realise there are other things you can do.


For now, we just want to focus on getting her to believe that she’s awesome at being at school.



Next week, we’ll continue with Part 2 of Lucy’s concerns about her daughter, which is the ‘making friends’ part.




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Sunday, May 26, 2024

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Having experienced anxiety personally as a child and parent, along with raising two anxious kids, working in the school system, and my own business supporting hundreds of anxious kids and their parents, I’ve seen and experienced what works and what doesn’t.

A common problem I hear about from parents relates to how to overcome school-related anxiety.

I get it – school isn't just about books and grades; it's a journey filled with life lessons, friendships, and, yes, a bit of nervousness too. But it doesn’t need to be painful – for you or your child. In this article and video, we're going to unlock the secrets to not only alleviating those classroom jitters but also empowering your kiddos for a more resilient future.

Lucy, one of the lovely parents in my CALM Parents and Kids Hub,

has been having this very challenge with her daughter. In this case, Lucy’s

daughter is having school-related anxiety about not making friends.

On a recent call, we discussed strategies to deal with this, although you may be surprised that this was treated as two separate issues.

So in the video below we discuss the first part of this which is how to overcome school-related anxiety. Watch now to discover some practical techniques you can use in this situation too:

Not Making Friends So Not Going To School:

Lucy is having trouble with her daughter who is refusing to go to school. Here’s the problem, in Lucy’s own words:

“I have an 11 year old girl who refused to go to school all of term four last year. We have changed schools and she had actually started going. She was in loving it, re-engaged in learning. And I said, ‘Okay, it's going to take some time to make friends.’

She has now started refusing going to school because she hasn't made any friends yet.

Now, I'm trying to work with the school as well, and I'm hopefully starting to get her re-engaged… I've given her knitting and creative things she likes to do at lunchtime. So she's not doing nothing at lunchtime, and kids might come over and help her make friends. This is a bit of a kickstart, but it's not enough yet for her.

So, where do I begin to start helping to instill that belief that yes, ‘You can make friends. It’s going to take some time and, but we are going to get there.’
Firstly, I love that Lucy is saying to her that “We're going to get there” and “I'm on your team”. That's really important.

Here's what's happening with Lucy at the moment, and this may help you, too.

Lucy’s daughter is associating going to school with negative thoughts and feelings.

Associating School With Stress:

I'm going to give you an analogy that might help.

A lot of people associate work and stress. So they decide that they can only be relaxed when they're not at work.

Now the same thing can happen when you are with your kids. A lot of people associate stress with the kids and they think they can only be relaxed when they're away from the kids or from the chaos or whatever's going on.

It's super important for us to be able to regulate ourselves in stress and not think that we can only regulate ourselves and feel relaxed when we are away from stress.

Because one of the biggest problems with kids not going to school – and many adults who think they need a holiday – is because they associate holiday with leisure and relaxing and the rest with stress. This is because they haven't learned how to self-regulate and calm and relax throughout ANY day. EVERY day.

I'm not talking about bubble baths, although they're great and I encourage everyone to have bubble baths and massages and so on. A lot of people see self-love as those activities.

Yet we need to love ourselves and be kind to ourselves and be able to calm our nervous system all the time because too many of us are associating stress with a particular thing (e.g. school, work). So Lucy's daughter is associating school with anxiety, and that she can’t make friends.

Teach Your Child To Know They Can Handle Stressful Situations:

Now what we need to help her know is that firstly, she can handle stressful situations. That she can handle challenges no matter where she is.

She also needs to develop a belief that her going to school and friendships are not necessarily associated. So she can have friends anywhere and she can make friends anywhere.

And when she begins to believe that she can make friends elsewhere, then she'll believe that “I can make friends and it's actually got nothing to do with school.”

Now this is challenging her belief system, but at the moment she's got this belief that school and making friends is all in one. So we want to help her understand that firstly, going to school is not just about making friends.

We’ll get to the ‘making friends’ part later. But for now, let's focus on the going to school or all the things she's awesome at, at school.

Get her thinking about what she's actually really successful at when she's at school.

What are some positive things about school?

What are some things she could be thinking about at school?

Lucy has already said her daughter is very capable. So she's miles ahead of many other kids if she's really capable at school and has got some advantages of that already.

‘Making friends’ doesn't have to be associated with that. So we need to deal with those two things separately.

First, Instil Self-Belief:

So I'd love for you to now focus on helping her to believe in herself.

We want her to believe that she's a pretty awesome student and she's great at being at school. She's been to school before. She's pretty good at it.

Now the key here is that SHE BELIEVES IT.

It's not you trying to sell the idea to her to help her change and shift her beliefs about herself and about school.

We're always trying the sneaky side door methods with kids, because they're pretty masterful at manipulating and doing things that they want to do.

So what we're going to support her with is things like:

“Wow, you are so good at that.”

“Oh my God, have you noticed how efficient you are with doing your schoolwork?”

“Have you noticed that you’re not just so good at your schoolwork, you're smart. Have you noticed how efficient you are?”

“Oh wow, you calculated that really quickly! When you're at school, do you calculate things really quickly like that?”

“Do you find schoolwork easy? Do you find it hard? How do you find it?”

And we want her to answer.

So you are getting her to imagine herself thriving, doing well, and she only needs a fleeting vision of herself there. She's already now believing she can do it.

Rather than you having to prove it to her, she's just proven it to herself.

Planting Seeds

Just let that land. You've planted a seed. She's now envisaging herself in the classroom, achieving, thriving. And you didn't have to do much work. It was purely you complimenting her or noticing something.

Remember, we are noticing the process. We are not noticing the going to school. Too many families are talking about school… school… school… and school.

So we want to say, “When you're in the classroom, how do you find that? Do you find it tricky? Do you find it easy?”

IMPORTANT NOTE:

You’re only asking this for a person who's thriving, who is smart enough and capable. If you've got a child who struggles, you're not going to ask this question because that's an unpleasant reminder for them. Be sure to remember that.


We want to ask kids who can do this, who are quite able, so we are building on their strengths.


One of the categories in my C.A.L.M. model is the A – Alignment. This is about their strengths. Let's realign them with their strengths, because too many kids who are anxious are focusing on what they can't do instead of what they can do.


So that's the school side. Once you realise you can do it with that, you'll realise there are other things you can do.


For now, we just want to focus on getting her to believe that she’s awesome at being at school.



Next week, we’ll continue with Part 2 of Lucy’s concerns about her daughter, which is the ‘making friends’ part.




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As parents, it's natural to want to protect our children from anything that causes them distress or pain. When our kids struggle with anxiety, our instinct is often to soothe them and try to make the anxious feelings go away. However, what if I told you that this approach can actually reinforce anxiety long-term?

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