A new school year begins, and with it comes new sets of worry. Not just what bus do I take, where is my locker, will my teacher be nice, but serious and legitimate worries. Will kids pick on me, what do I do if kids start to fight, will someone come into my school with a gun?!
More than 187,000 students attending at least 193 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus during school hours. At least 50 percent of all children experience some form of violence during their school careers. The numbers are frightening and climbing. So it is more than expected to see children present with anxiety as they enter into school. Many families will anticipate the typical somatic complaints of not feeling well; slow starting in the morning, and a general reluctance to go to school. When parents start to see their children becoming withdrawn or isolating themselves, pre-occupied with questions about safety for themselves or family members or expressing fear or concern about being in school, parents need to pay closer attention to these behaviors.
Families may tend to dismiss or minimize these anxieties as somewhat typical to school adjustment. However, check- ins with our children are vital to insure for their well- being. Discuss what the children are practicing in terms of rules and routines; ask what is being said to them by staff and other children. Be mindful of their cognitive and emotional development in order for them to process their concerns and for parents to appropriately respond to them as well. Anxiety, if not addressed, will impact a child’s potential and ability to participate fully in their school and social experience. Seek out support when needed, and do not be afraid to voice what they may be afraid to say themselves.