Anxiety is a painful experience. The heightened feeling of stress, worry, nervousness and fear can be relentless and overwhelming. Although each child or adult has a unique experience of anxiety, there are some commonalities. For young people, school is often a source of anxiety. The beginning of a new school year or a transition, such as from home to elementary school, from elementary school to junior high school, from junior high school to senior high school or from senior high school to post-secondary school, typically are points of increased stress.
The words ‘back to school’ often bring up a range of emotions for children: excitement to reunite with friends and share stories about the summer months, worry about the upcoming academic challenges and sadness that the summer is over. When a child or teen has experienced the death of a loved one, the thought of going back to school may take on an entirely new meaning.
My youngest daughter has long been a frequent visitor to the school nurse (tummy aches). And to the First-Aid box in our hall closet (microscopic cuts). And if a little friend comes down with an intriguing ailment (walking pneumonia was the latest one), my daughter is likely to limp dramatically and claim that she might have it too.
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