Back to School: How to Fight Your Kid's Anxiety

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We know that bullying is epidemic in today's schools, so this worry is understandable. If school starts and you find that your child is the victim of a bully, work with the school to solve this problem. Help your child stay connected with his or her friends and reiterate that he didn't do anything to deserve being bullied. Give your child a sense of empowerment by telling him that he doesn't just have to be a victim or bystander when he or another child is picked on. And explain to your child that bullies are often insecure losers who make themselves feel strong or big by picking on someone younger, smaller or just vulnerable. Most important, help your student find at least one adult to connect with at school. For more information, you might want to check out Dr. William Pollack's excellent advice -- CLICK HERE.

What if my classes are too hard or I have a ton of homework?

This is another good question to answer with a question: What would they do if they were struggling in a course? The answer should include meeting with their teacher, consulting a guidance counselor or talking to someone about getting some tutoring.

Homework should not be overwhelming if your child has some help with learning to pace and plan big assignments or tests. Look at the calendar together and mark when midterms and finals are likely to take place. Then keep the preceding weekend clear and don't make a lot of plans for the evenings before your child's big tests. If you have a middle schooler who is falling behind, get in touch with the teacher yourself and schedule a meeting to discuss the best approach for getting him or her back on track.

What if I can't open my locker?

It may sound like a trivial concern, but locker problems are one of a middle schooler's biggest fears. They worry they won't have time to visit their locker between classes. And if they do make it in time, what if they fumble the combination (especially in front of older, cooler students)? To help curb this anxiety, buy a combination lock a week or so before school starts and have them practice. And always have a hiding place where they can keep their combination in case they forget--maybe help them program the number somewhere in their cell phone or have them write it in their assignment planner or binder.

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