School starts and Anxiety Rises

This week and in the next few weeks high school will begin again. Summer will fade into Fall and games, cheerleading and dances will be the fare for many teens. Doesn’t that sound great? For some kids that is what it is, but for many kids there is way too much drama and anxiety associated with school to earn it a “great” label.

Surely there must be ways to lessen the difficulty so many teens experience in the social setting of their high school. Let me suggest some coping skills that have proven helpful to teens I’ve worked with:

  1. Get involved: Sports, theater, student government, band, academic debate clubs, and service groups, choir etc. These groups help you belong and have a feeling of value.
  2. Plan your day: Figure out how to be with friends. Lunch, and other unstructured times of the day can be difficult and unnerving if you do not find support.
  3. Reach out: One of the tricks to being comfortable is to make someone else feel more accepted and included.
  4. “Fake It Till You Make It”: A little known fact, to teens, is that many adults suffer from some form of social anxiety and have learned to cope with faking techniques. Most of us are trying on various ways to be part of the group at whatever level we want to belong.
  5. Practice Makes Better: Give yourself a break and realize that each day holds a new possibility to practice getting through discomfort and social anxiety.
  6. Talk to someone: Share your feelings with a trusted person and/ or someone who appears to be able to handle the “drama” well. You are not alone.
  7. Above all else: Love who you are and trust yourself.


Be gentle with your kids and be aware that they are often in a situation that needs your wisdom and guidance. We all went through high school and yet teens today are in a different time and circumstance than we were. I think kids need the support of adults more than ever but that is probably not easy for them to admit to or even recognize. We too are often facing some of the doubts we went through in our teen years but we can draw on years of experience and courage for the kids in search of our input.

Please know that counseling can help your family and or teen who is struggling with anxiety and other issues.

Call: 682-465-1225 and talk to Katharine O’Connor