02-04-2020 01:38 PM - last edited on 02-05-2021 12:32 PM by Hannah-RO
I'm new to the forum so please bear with me; redirect me to a different board if I'm on the wrong one!
My 12 year old son has just started High School. All his friends have gone to another school; we chose this one because it seemed more serene and well-being-focused than the other (my son is extremely shy and suffers from anxiety - my poor genetics, unfortunately).
He only started last week so I know it's extremely soon to be so worried (being hyper-vigilant is my downfall). But he comes home in tears and wakes up in tears, he doesn't know anyone at all and is too anxious to speak to any other kids - he's so lonely. It was all summer long too. He's constantly glum about even getting dressed i the morning. I've never seen him so unhappy. He's gone from a happy (but shy) primary school kid to a morose and desperately unhappy one.
Is it too soon to contact the school? What can I say to make him feel more positive? I know all Year 7 kids go through similar stuff, but I don't think he'll be able to. He's just so painfully shy. What can I do? I'm so worried about him.
I'd appreciate any advice - thanks in advance.
02-04-2020 04:43 PM - edited 02-05-2020 12:02 PM
Hi @bulldog332 ,
Thanks so much for posting here, I hope the community here can be a helpful place for you. A lot of other parents (myself included) are parents to kids with anxiety, so you are absolutely not alone. You sound like you have a lot of empathy for your son, it is really hard to see our kids having a tough time.
You mention that he seems anxious, doesn't want to speak to other kids, and is lonely - the transition to high school can be a really challenging time, especially for kids who are prone to some social anxiety.
ReachOut have quite a few resources on helping teen kids who are struggling with anxiety, which I'm linking to here in case they are helpful for you. If the feelings that he's having have persisted for more than two weeks and are interfering with his ability to enjoy life, it might be a good idea for him to talk to a professional, do you think he would be open to this?
You mention contacting his school, and that could be another good starting point for you, as most schools should have access to a school psychologist or counsellor who can help him confidentially. I don't think it's too early to contact them, I know that schools often value parents being proactive, and if he can get some help earlier rather than later, it could help make the transition to a new school a more positive one for him.
Depending on where you are, organisations like headspace can also offer help for kids who are experiencing anxiety - the teen years are often a time when anxiety first becomes apparent, but the good news is that there are a lot of different types of help available out there. headspace offer free mental health support for youth aged 12-25.
Another option is programs like Cool Kids, which started at Macquarie Uni but is now run by other psychologists in other locations, which is a great, evidence based program which includes group programs for kids with anxiety .
I'm also wondering if there's anything outside of school that your son enjoys, like music, or sports?
You sound a caring and sensitive parent, I hope that your son starts to settle in to school soon, please keep us updated on how you are both going. I'm also tagging in a few more members of our parent community here, who may be able to offer some of their experiences @compassion , @sunflowermom , @JAKGR8 , @Dadof4kids
02-04-2020 05:26 PM
I really appreciate your reply. My son has indeed had some professional counselling and learned some good coping skills in 6th Grade, but it's not cutting the mustard at the moment. I think I may have to take him back for further consultations. The counsellor was great and he did seem to feel a bit better.
He plays drums and guitar; hopefully the music classes start soon and he can show what he can do! I've left a message for his homeroom teacher and hope to hear back in the near future; I just want to make him aware that my son is struggling.
I'll keep you posted. (from a caring and sensitive Dad!)
02-05-2020 12:02 PM
Hi @bulldog332 ,
Thanks so much for your reply- and I'm so sorry - I should have written caring and sensitive parent, and will edit my response!!
It's good to hear that your son has found professional support helpful in the past, hopefully seeing someone else now can give him the extra support he needs and help him build up that toolkit of coping skills. Starting year 7 is a huge adjustment, especially when you don't know anyone, and hopefully having that extra support can be a really positive thing for him.
That's great that he has his music, does his high school have a band or other extra-curricular music activities that he can get involved in? Those programs can be a great place for kids to find "their tribe", and will hopefully be an excellent outlet for your son. It's great that you've been able to touch base with your son's homeroom teacher too. It sounds like you're covering all of the bases to make sure he is well supported
Thanks so much your message, and please keep us posted on how your son gets on.
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