In honour of it being world student day on the 15th of October, we wanted to focus on students anxiety of all age ranges.
Students around the world experience many stresses which are sometimes not taken into consideration, and when neglected can lead to devastating results. On a positive note, educational institutions of all types are beginning to implement strategies to combat the increasing rates of anxiety students are feeling. However, while we are progressing towards a well-being-focused future, there is still vast room for improvement.
Key Reminder: Nothing is as important as your child’s well-being!
Schools have a job to do, which is to educate our children and the best way to do that is to ensure that they are there. This leads to a big focus on students’ attendance, which I completely understand. However, the focus on attendance can also trigger anxiety. Of course, students need to ensure they’re attending so they don’t fall behind. However, if your children’s well-being has taken a hit, a few days off school with a clear plan to return, may just be the ticket.
Student anxiety is rather complex, here are some common signs your children may be suffering from anxiety:
- School refusal: this is quite common, especially for younger students. For younger students, school refusal is likely caused by separation anxiety from parents. However, for teenagers, it may be due to external influences such as bullying. This is why it’s really important to focus on the deeper reasoning rather than face value. School refusal shouldn’t be punished, instead, understanding why they are refusing, to ensure a positive plan going forward.
- Disruptive behaviour: this can be split into two:
- Aggressive behaviour: anxiety can cause students to become aggressive. Some children don’t know how to handle their feelings, leading to fight or flight, where fight can take over.
- Acting out during lessons: Usually, if a child is kicking a student’s chair, or being disruptive during lessons it’s a common sign of anxiety, or they may have an unidentified need. This in fact will likely cause anxiety too.
- Repetitive questions: if children are feeling anxious, they tend to ask many questions. Some teachers may view this as disruptive behaviour however in order to keep up with the lesson they require information to be repeated.
- Trouble answering questions: This doesn’t have a reflection on their intelligence. Students can perform well in exams, but the thought of answering questions in class causes them to freeze.
How schools handle ‘behaviour’ is always a hot topic. Many times, schools don’t consider anxiety as the trigger for their behaviour failing to consider why pupils are acting this way. Instead, students are punished, which is likely to make them more frustrated, leading to more anxiety and potential behaviours.
How to overcome and challenge students’ anxiety:
Here are some tips on supporting your children to overcome their anxiety:
- Educate: highlight the common signs of anxiety. Doing so will allow children to recognise the symptoms that they’re displaying. This may also reassure them as they’ll understand why they are feeling a certain way.
- Things shouldn’t be avoided: of course, don’t pressure your child into something, however, over time try to ease them back into the tasks that are making them anxious. Avoiding the situation will only benefit them in the short term.
- Diagnosis: your child may have an unidentified need and require additional support or a different approach to their studies. Finding the right learning style or level of support should help them focus on reducing their behavioural responses.
Anxiety among students is a big issue. Offering support will ensure students can complete their studies to the best ability knowing they have the support in place if they begin to have issues with their anxiety.