Anxiety, Panic, Depression and Phobia linked to school

You're not alone. Half the parents who contact me are trying to help an anxious or unhappy youngster.  

The issues parents bring me most often are

  • Feeling excluded and 'got at' - a cruel torment for any child or teen

         to bear

  • School phobia, which may reflect conditions at school or may stem
         from Separation anxiety - a fear of being cut off from home and 
         family, due to deep-rooted insecurity

  • Panic attacks and the fear of more to come

  • Depression, causing persistent gloom and low motivation. It occurs

          most often when people have little control of their lives 

  • Agoraphobia - a fear of public places or, more generally, 'a fear of
          situations where escape could be difficult' (NHS).
Above and below: How do we save this little girl from teenage despair?
  • Anxiety about meeting the social and work demands of school. This is
         always high in the spring with tests and examinations looming.
         Nervous, pressured teachers can't help infecting their pupils!

Will the problem fade by itself or do we need help?

Above - 'Agoraphobia Kid' by Xindi Yan

This photo says it all: One child in seven needs help with anxiety or similar issues.

A modest level of anxiety means that the body and mind are keyed up to cope with a new challenge. It goes with being switched on and ready! See it like that and you weaken its hold! The remaining anxiety fades away as the challenge is met.

Severe anxiety can disable the youngster, who fails to cope and feels all the more anxious. Panic attacks can then set in, and these can cause agoraphobia due to a fear of losing control in public.

If your youngster’s anxiety is becoming excessive you need to act decisively to head off these dangers. Dithering now will tell them you’re as anxious as they are, which is not what they need. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Try to ensure that your youngster feels heard by someone they
         trust. (If they prefer to use paintbrush or pen I can offer rewards

  • Make sure they feel heeded, with a really big say in how to

          move forwards. For a start, perhaps you could work as partners

          in weighing up the advice on this page

  • Make sure they feel upheld as individuals, with plenty of scope to

          succeed or fail in things that matter

  • Try to maintain routines such as school attendance. In any case, keep the school
          informed, especially if attendance is patchy. They mustn't treat school
          avoidance due to deep-seated fears and worries as casual 'skiving.'

          and suffering and open up a space for healing. To begin home ed
          just ask for your child to come off the school roll. Then, provided 
          you do home educate, you answer to no one. 

When families visit us they often reserve their warmest praise for my wife's ponies!
  •   Follow NHS guidance about exercise: it's a marvellous aid in the fight    
         against depression and anxiety. (Some parents give too many lifts!)


  • Consider having a word with your doctor, who can arange professional   

         counselling on the NHS (though there may be a wait). Medication

         can sometimes help, but it often works best along with counselling

  • Because of my own unhappy childhood (it's me in the school photo!),

         I try to assist in milder cases of school-age depression and anxiety. 

         I'm CTA-trained but I'm not an expert and I don't make a charge. 

                  Please feel free to get in touch.       (I usually reply within 12 hours)       Tony D Triggs                    

Thank you for contacting me. I will get back to you as soon as possible
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