I think my daughter is stressing too much
When my daughter is stressed about a silly thing from school, she starts crying and freaking out. She is a bright student, always has a 4.0, but I am afraid she is stressing too much. I’m afraid it’s going to break her. I don't know if I should get her to a doctor or someone because this is not normal.
Watching children go through challenges in their lives is difficult. On a very basic level, There exists a primal need to protect them from harm. The hard part for parents is letting them feel those challenges and working through them as they get older. At some point, there is a moment that occurs when the role as a parent shifts. Children no longer need the basics (food, shelter. water, safety) as much as when they were toddlers, but rather, their needs shift to wanting more support, encouragement, advice, and room to make mistakes. This is where the ability to communicate with them, letting them direct the sails to gather the wind needed to move, is so important. Keep the lines of communication open and be available to give feedback when they ask for it.
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Oh dear - this is becoming all too common. I suggest you have some conversations with your girl to figure out where she is getting the "information" that she builds anxiety around. I see teens who have heard teachers, parents, coaches, etc push the "highly selective colleges" idea on kids way too much. Teens in particular are prone to black and white thinking, leading them to see one poor test performance, one off day, one not-great assignment as the make-or-break task on the path to successful adulthood. If that's the case with your daughter, she needs you to help modulate both the incoming information (there are nearly 5000 colleges in the US - she will get into one of them!) as well as her reaction to that information.
As well, you and any other adults that are involved in parenting her need to discern fact from fiction. The recent scandal around celebrities "buying" their kids into college is an indicator of how far off track we, as a culture, have gotten in terms of education. A college education is certainly important, but we have allowed the marketing push to create so much stress and upset for our kids (and ourselves as parents) that they are actually less prepared to leave home and really engage in higher education than ever.
You may want to include a therapist in these conversations if you get stuck, but start with a parent-child conversation. Help her figure out what is going on - if it is the "I have to get it right or I will have no future", calmly walk her through all the evidence that says that's just not true. As well, let her know that being anxious now is NOT preparing her for a bright adulthood - it's preparing her for an anxious future. She needs help figuring out how to balance her effort to attend to real and reasonable expectations, not over-inflated fear-based actions.
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I would certainly suggest that you get her to speak to someone. What seems silly to you may not be to her and it is better to give her an outlet to deal with her stress than to have it continue.
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Your concerns about your daughter are valid and as you may think of them to be "silly" often times stress presents differently to those who are directly experiencing it. Stress, though a 5 letter word, is emotional and physical tension typically arising from the demands of life that one may believe to be complex, challenging or demanding. While you are afraid that she is stressing too much it is important to understanding from her perspective what it means to her to work hard in school.
As a teenager the source of stress could function from school demands, frustrations of success vs failure, and even thoughts that arise about themselves, along with everyday pressures. Sometimes stress will "let up" and other times stress can become so overwhelming leading one to experience fight-or-flight responses as the automatic preparation that signals a sign of danger or threat. When this occurs natural stress can produce stress much more overwhelming and difficult to handle alone.
Luckily, you nor your daughter have to feel alone though you are experiencing some fear and uncertainty. To assist in keeping stress manageable it helps to sit down with your daughter and address where she is feeling the most pressure and overwhelmingness and consider a schedule that provided realistic goals, rhyme and reason. Consider practicing meditation, relaxation and breathing exercises that serve as the natural antidote to relieve stress. If there is some hesitancy or uncomfortableness of having this conversation, validate your daughter's feeling and loop in a therapist who can further provided recommendation and stress management techniques along with a variety of treatment methods.
Thank you for your courage to post this. Wishing all the best!
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Teens are under more stress and pressure than ever. Many of them feel they need to:
- Earn straight A’s to get into their college of choice
- Have the perfect appearance to be considered “hot” by peers
- Attract thousands of followers on social media
- Achieve success in sports, extracurriculars and clubs
- Be pleasant to be around, despite raging hormones
- Hold it all together, even under stress and pressure
It’s tough to be a teen! Many of them also don’t feel they have anyone they can go to about their problems. Their friends are dealing with the same issues, so can’t provide helpful advice. They may feel uncomfortable going to their parents with issues they’re afraid they’ll get in trouble for having. And they may not want to be a burden to those around them.
I recommend you find a therapist who you think your teen will feel comfortable opening up to. Ask your teen how they would feel about having a confidential space where they could talk about anything without getting punished for it. In effective therapy, your teen can learn:
- Stress-reduction techniques
- Social problem-solving
- Assertiveness skills
- Mindfulness practices
- Time-management tools
- Positive body image
Teens these days are more open to being in therapy than ever before. Gen Z didn’t grow up with the stigma around mental health nearly as much as their parents did. Talk to your teen and see how they would feel about getting some emotional support.
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I would recommend having her talk to a therapist. The stress and anxiety she is demonstrating could be completely unrelated to school. If she is adamant about it being school related, try reinforcing with her that you are happy with her performance and that need to be so hard on herself. Often kids will develop their own critical expectations of themselves that they feel are what their parents expect, regardless of that being accurate.
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Chances are your daughter may be feeling a lot of pressure to succeed - even be perfect in these areas of her life. Behind perfectionism is a feeling of shame related to feeling like you won’t measure up or that you’re not good enough.
Try using affirmations to separate your daughter’s worth from her achievements. Understanding where the pressure comes from might bring insight into why she stresses. A counselor could certainly help her learn ways of dealing with stress as well as underlying issues that drive her towards perfection.
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What may seem silly to you could mean a lot to her. Adult issues seem much more complex and we would love to have the stressors of school at times but this may be the most stressful thing for her since she doesn't have the life experience as adults do. For many teens, their whole world revolves around school, their friends, and their family. It is a juggling act they are so very new at and the act of managing all of it can be overwhelming at times. They are still growing emotionally and learning emotions management on top of all of this. It is so important for teens to feel like their issues are legitimate and not invalidates by adults. I think possibly speaking to a therapist for coping skills/stress management techniques as well as having a source to process some of this stress would be more beneficial than speaking to a doctor if the motivation to speak to a doctor was for medication purposes.
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It sounds like your intuition is helping you realize that your daughter's stress might be building into something more. It sounds like you have noticed a recent change that isn't explained by other life changes- and that reaching out to someone might be helpful for her. I would encourage you to explore that with her! She might feel relief at your suggestion, or maybe even some anxiety and apprehension. All of these reactions are normal! I would first check in with her and then begin to explore your options together. There are many online resources that can help. If you have insurance, you can always consult with your insurance company to see who is in network. Many times, if therapists aren't able to take you on at the moment, they can provide advice or referrals. Best of luck in the search, and great job following your instincts.
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Hi. Bright kids often have a sense of perfectionism....when they are smart they often do not get to many opportunities to fail early in life because they adapt quickly. IAs they get older, they feel failure, and it can trigger anxiety. If you find she is sensitive in other areas, like really in tune with things happening in the world, highly aware of fair versus unfair, startles easily, is sensitive to smells, sights or fabrics, etc, she may be a highly sensitive child (check out Elaine Aron's website HSPersons.com) there is a great quiz on there and high sensitive and being bright have a correlation. A skilled therapist that is used to working with high functioning kiddos should be able to help let you know if it is anxiety due to pefectionism or if there is something else going on. A lot of times school has support groups that can help as well, so try checking with your daughter's school guidance counselor. It is okay to talk with her about how we learn from our mistakes.
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Hello there, first I'd like to say I think it's great that you are reaching out as a parent and wanting to help her. My first thought is whatever is going on with her is not silly to her, and is impacting her in a real way. She is responding the best she can right now. It does sound like she is struggling with managing her anxiety and stress. She might benefit from finding a therapist that she can trust to discuss her thoughts and feelings, learn coping skills, and learn how to better manage these overwhelming emotions.
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It sounds like your daughter may be experiencing heightened levels of anxiety based on her value system of wanting to ensure she is 'good enough' or 'doing all the right things.' Talking to a trained professional could help her to decompress some of those feelings as well as find ways to challenge negative thoughts that are leading to overwhelming amounts of stress. Please let me know if you have any further questions that I may be able to help in this area.
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Based on how you are describing your daughter, I am going to come from the perspective that she is in grade school. If this is the case, there is likely a lot of pressure being a younger student academically. That, along with a social visibility and how her friends see her, can contribute to the stress that she might be experiencing. When something happens at school, children tend to react in ways that are different than adults. I don’t know how old your child is, but depending on her ability to process what has taken place at school, will typically determine how she responds to it. One approach of helping her deal with her feelings, is talking to her about what has happened and helping her place it into proper perspective. Letting her know that you will except her regardless of the grades that she receives, while still encouraging her to do her best, might help remove some of the pressure she is experiencing right now. She may be trying to over-perform for approval purposes. This can put enormous amounts of stress on a child.
Having your child also work with an academic adviser or a school counselor can sometimes be helpful, or a professional counselor in your local community. Knowing that yourChild has the necessary support to feel that she does not have to be so stressed, can be encouraging. Children experience stress in many different ways. Stress from home, stress from friends, stress from world events that they see on TV. Having important conversations with your child can often help alleviate the symptoms.
Child has the necessary support to feel that she does not have to be so stressed, can be encouraging. Children experience stress in many different ways. Stress from home, stress from friends, stress from world events that they see on TV. Having important conversations with your child can often help alleviate the symptoms.
I hope this information is helpful for you. If I can be of further assistance and you are in the Tacoma, Washington area, please feel free to reach out to me.
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It's so tough to watch your children struggle and it seems like you care strongly about how she is feeling.
I think there's a lot of questions that come to mind when I read this question. What things upset her? How often do these things occur? What would it mean if it "broke" her? Also, is she a high school or college student still living at home, or a college student living out of home?
Just with the information given, it's possible she has some perfectionistic tendencies. What this can mean is that there is a very clear intolerance for anything she sees as a failure, whether or not it truly is. It can also mean that she neglects other important areas of her life in order to focus her attention on her academics. Many people that deal with perfectionism often sacrifice social opportunities for work, which can be really lonely and stressful.
Another thing to consider is that it may have nothing to do with being perfect. If she is living out of the home, is this her first time out on her own? That's a difficult change all in its own. If she's still at home, is she nearing the age of graduation and feels the pressure of figuring out her life/career path? Does she have other social issues going on with friends or is in an unhealthy relationship?
No matter the answers to these questions, you are the best judge of what your daughter may need. It could be worth having a conversation to understand her perspectives and assess her willingness to see a professional. And make sure you are taking care of yourself as well! It's easy as a parent to become enmeshed with our children's pain when they are hurting, but taking care of yourself can best prepare you to help your child.
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Sometimes it is hard to empathize with our children. Adults have had so much life experience and know how the world works. I think whatever is bothering her at the moment doesn't seem silly to her.
What are her goals? Are they realistic.? It sounds like your daughter might be a perfectionist. Is it necessary for everything to be perfect? No, we all make mistakes. Perfectionists tend to sabotage their own success and succeed despite their perfectionism. Perfectionism makes them stressed and anxious and they have to deal with those feelings every day on top of striving for success
Perfectionists also often have what is called a fixed mindset. They believe their basic abilities such as intelligence and talents are fixed traits. They are set in stone. For them, If they are not naturally good at something there is no hope of improvement. This mindset leads them to them want to appear perfect and never make mistakes. Your daughter probably needs some help to change her fixed mindset to a growth mindset. People who have growth mindsets believe their abilities can improve over time. thinking this way helps become more motivated and resilient They believe they can find ways to fix mistakes and get better at the challenging things by getting help, studying a different way, and not giving up.
A therapist who treats children her age could help her re-frame her approach to challenging tasks and the way she thinks about her gifts and talents.
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Sometimes stress helps us become motivated and thrive to do better however, if your daughter is stressing to the point that she is crying and freaking out then that would be concerning. Helping your daughter with relaxation techniques like deep breathing or guided imagery would be a good start. Also, reminding your daughter that you see her doing so well in school and that most importantly you are there for her. I would also make an appointment to see a mental health therapist they can have more ideas on ways to de-stress.
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The most important action you can take here is validating her feelings and staying calm when she is crying and "freaking out". It's equally important to do some self exploration regarding your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors towards making mistakes and how you respond to your mistakes.
When she is calm, ask her what a mistake means to her. Giving her examples of different kinds of mistakes and listening to her responses will give you an idea of how extreme her thoughts are. Taking this opportunity to share with her your own struggles with perfectionism or some other area would help her feel more at ease.
Reminding her that she is enough just as she is would be helpful as well. Encouraging her self care routine will help develop a greater sense of balance regarding her priorities. The practice of mindfulness will be helpful in self awareness. Creating a plan on what to do when the early signs of "freaking out" surface will strengthen her coping skills.
Your fears as a parent are completely understandable and this definitely needs to be addressed. Your daughter cannot bring about change on her own and will need the family to work towards this change as well. A therapist that specializes in anxiety/perfectionism would be a great resource. They may also help you all have a greater understanding of what the root of this need for perfection is and how it plays a role in the family. I suggest one or two sessions without your daughter would be helpful to develop a course of action.
I hope this was helpful. It takes a lot of courage to seek help and guidance, I'm glad you posted.
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I hear your concern that your daughter might break under the pressure and stress that she is dealing with. It is a good thing that your high achieving daughter is calling out for help and that you are listening. The education system is wrought with social and emotional problems, and there is a disproportionate emphasis on test taking, scores and achievement in school. It sounds like your daughter would benefit from some social and emotional education and learning to understand how her feelings are impacting her thoughts and behaviors.
I'd like to also assure you that crying and freaking out is a normal part of growing up. Depending on your daughter's age, it is likely that she is going through a growth spurt and she may be feeling her feelings in a unique way to her too. If this is the first time you are having a concern about anxiety then rest at ease and see if you can ride the emotions with her and be a stable sounding board for her. Use empathy and compassion and allow her a safe place to process through her concerns. Try not to solve it for her, but allow her a space to fumble through and find her own answers to the problems she is faced with. Give her confidence that she can figure it out, and be patient as you sit with her. Our presence is key to our children's well being. Make eye contact with her, allow her to squirm and get frustrated and work through it while you witness her process. As parents, when we can model calm in the storm of life our children learn that all of their feelings are ok too. When our children see and feel our fear, it can create more insecurity and low self evaluation of their own efficacy to manage the stress. When we can be calm and reassuring, then we can boost their confidence in their own ability to problem solve what they are going through. Let's face it we all have irrational thinking from time to time, and usually it is when we are under stress.
If your daughter continues to show concerning anxiety, check with her school and see if she can benefit from an opportunity with the social emotional learning curriculum. In Texas at least, schools are required to have resources for children like your daughter who are experiencing anxiety and other mental health concerns. Her teacher is with her all day and you may request to have a conference with her to see if she can help her in any way as well. If resources in your school are limited then I would seek an outside therapist who specializes in working with children your daughter's age. Call around and see if she can benefit from a therapeutic relationship outside of school and home. Once you have plenty of feedback from her teacher and a therapist or counselor then you will be able to determine if seeking medical care is necessary with their support and guidance. Thank you for your courage to reach out for help on behalf of your daughter. You are her greatest advocate. I hope that you find support to help you navigate this time in her life and that you both grow and learn from this experience.
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Aye, you're correct, that isn't normal, and maybe you should get her to a doctor!
Before you do that, and if she were my daughter, I would provide her the necessary physical support that can be given readily at home; that is: proper natural diet, rest, and a good sense of detoxification before she readies herself to approach it.
Basic listening is warranted here and would be of great use.
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Your daughter is suffering from extremes of perfectionism. She needs to know that God accepts her as she is. I can provide her with a knowledge of her God-given, inborn temperament to help her find her God-esteem.
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As parents, it's hard not to have "freak out" moments when our children are being bullied, stressed, or exhibit other symptoms of teenage angst. We walk a delicate balance of letting go and giving autonomy to our teens get older. Adolescents are learning how to be functional adults and it's important to allow them to try (and sometimes fail) in managing their emotions. Grades are a pretty good indicator of how a student is doing, overall. If your daughter has a 4.0 and there's no pattern of "crying and freaking out" I'd offer gentle support and encourage her to find ways to relax when she's stressed. If her grades start to decline and her crying spells become more frequent, a call to a counselor who specializes in teens might be in order. Good luck!
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I am sorry to hear about your daughter. Many of the youth I see in my practice are going through similar behaviors and concerns. If she feels like she can talk to you about this I think that is a great place to begin. There are many life stressors that youth have to manage and seeing others on social media seems to exacerbate these feelings and can feel like even more pressure to strive for perfection. You may be able to offer her support by listening to and validating her concerns, reviewing all that she has accomplished and praising her for doing her best and not push that she needs to be "the best."
If she feels she would like to speak to someone it may be good to find a therapist where she can vent her feelings and find a way to increase her coping skills. She may benefit from additional support outside the home where she can cry, learn to manage her worries and gain skills to triage the expectations of each day. She may benefit from skills that would help her to learn that she is enough already!
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Hi there Mom! Just look at all of the things that a teen has to juggle and it's no surprise they're stress out. There are simply not enough minutes in the day to get everything done. So, they react by cutting into important times such as social interaction and sleep. Our fast paced, fast food, society is taking its toll on our teen generation.
While multi-tasking seems to be a hot pop word, it simply doesn't work. We aren't wired to do our best at multiple things at once. We are not machines but rather humans who are going to quickly expire if we don't get a handle on our stress.
As adults, it's time we intervene and teach our teens how to maintain a healthy balance between work and play. We need to help them prioritize and put first things, first. Are you putting first things, first in your life? If not, it's a good time to start.
Best of luck to you and your daughter in whatever you decide to do.
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I understand that as a mom it must be really hard to see your daughter stressing about things at school. Based on your description it sounds as though she has very high expectations of herself and is pushing herself to keep up. I hear your concern and recommend that to start, you provide her a space where she can express herself openly to you without judgement. Although it may seem as though this is "not normal", unfortunately it is. From standardized testing, to awards, to scholarships, the pressure is on to perform at high levels for kids today. Secondly, I would recommend that you connect her with therapist that can teach her coping and stress management skills that can help alleviate some of her anxiety. A therapist can also help her identify any faulty beliefs she may have in regards to perfectionism or fear of failure. You're doing a great job keeping an eye out for your daughter and being in tune with her emotional wellness!
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I hear that you are concerned about your daughter's reaction and her emotional well being. Her behaviors are worry some as you feel she seems to be approaching her breaking point. I would suggest speaking to your daughter about the situation at school and her feelings. Listening and acknowledging your daughter's feelings without judgement or giving solutions is a very effective communication skill. Ask your daughter how she feels about speaking to a therapist or her doctor. Someone that she knows and feels comfortable talking to about her feelings and learning healthy coping skills to address stressful situations.
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It sounds to me like your daughter is anxious to be perfect and has a low tolerance for failure. As her mother one of the most important messages you can share with her is that she need not be perfect, nor is it necessary. As a matter of fact, failure and making mistakes are only opportunity to learn and grow. Give her permission and more importantly she needs to give herself permission to be a perfectly flawed human. It may be a good idea to see a therapist to help her learn how to reframe some of her negative beliefs so she can form healthier thinking habits. Warm wishes.
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children and adolescents who have a desire to achieve high grade point averages often have the symptoms you are describing. It sounds like, your gut is telling you to help her find ways to de-stress. Listen to your gut-always; as her mom, you know her needs better than anyone else. She would probably benefit from seeing a therapist to help her deal with the stress of being a high achiever. I provided the following suggestion to another parent with a similar concern: First identify the three most stressful aspects of the day. Do this by creating a circle on a regular size paper. (do this three times); ask your daughter how much of that circle can she confidently say she has under control. shade that in. The remaining parts of the circle are then named by intensity. (for example, in the circle labeled school anxiety, the client identified that she felt she could handle school anxiety 1 out of 4 days. The circle was split into 1/4. 1/4 of the circle was shaded . the remaining parts were labeled with the challenges that caused the client school anxiety.(these were 1. walking to class during passing time. 2. not having the assignments completed or at all. 3. feeling fat. after labeling each part; and making note of the percentage of the stress associated with each concern, free form thinking takes place and a pile of unwanted behaviors and genetic responses are portrayed around the circle in bright colors.
Using note cards, create a tree of concern; the concerns can be written on note cards. a concern = the behavior that leads to more trouble. For example, "all i could do was think about that extra slice of pizza, I was unable to concentrate on the teacher's explanation of the assignment" (the concern you would write on the note card is Inability to concentrate. Now, fill up the back of the notecard with all of the different factors causing this pattern. nack. (
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Dear Concern Mom,
Sadly, kids nowadays stress a lot about school and compete with one and another. Determine Career-minded students, tend to be very hard on themselves and can eventually become very anxious about things. Whereas, it is a good thing to be driven it can break you down too. Therefore, I recommend that you find your young daughter someone that can help her find ways to cope with her strong desire to doing well in school. Getting ahead of it now before she gets worst is the best thing you could do for her. Best of luck to you and your daughter.
Image and Likeness Counseling
- 61 views
Thank you for being an observant parent and taking the very important step toward getting help for you as well as your daughter. The period of adolescence and emerging adulthood are tumultuous times for youth ( and their parents). The pressure to fit-in, be liked, and succeed could be some of the contributing factors for your daughter's stress. I have had many adolescent clients who do very well academically, but keep it well hidden from their peers so that they can fit in. She is still learning about herself, her abilities and how to like herself none of which are easy tasks even for adults. The academic success that you refer to only tells part of the story. As I read your statement, I got a sense of what your daughter does and that you are proud of her academic accomplishments. However, I would also want to ask her who she is as a person and encourage her to explore that with assistance from a therapist.
By working with a therapist your daughter will have the opportunity to discuss her stress, fears, and focus on achievement with an objective person. As she gains a better understanding of the source of her stress and learns some stress management, she can also learn to communicate her concerns to you.
I do recommend starting with a therapist rather than the doctor. If the therapist believes that your daughter's symptoms would benefit from a health exam and/or medication they will make that recommendation.
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As a therapist and mother of four children (3 of whom are teenagers)...I hear your pain. Raising children in our society is no joke. Kids are under a tremendous amount of pressure from parents, peers, teachers, coaches and the list goes on and on. Fear and anxiety can suffocate students particularly as they approach their high school years where they are bombarded with questions about their future and expected to select professions before they have even gone to college!!
I highly encourage the teens I work with to strive for balance in their lives- and we can model this for our children by how we choose to live! Encourage your child to spend time with friends, join you for a yoga class, read a book, pick up a hobby or go out to exercise. If your daughter continues to feel overwhelmed by stress, it would be a good idea to select a therapist for her to go speak with. As much as we love our children, there are times where kids need to consult with a neutral 3rd party. It can be a wonderful thing for kids to have a therapist whom they can confide in.
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As a Parent it can be very hard to see your child struggling. It sounds like they’re experiencing anxiety from their stress. It’s always a good idea to check in with your family doctor. Many children are experiencing anxiety and can benefit from individual counseling services to help them cope with their stress. School pressures and academic achievements can you create physical stress responses in the body. Seeing a counselor can also help you as the mom or dad have available tools to provide Continued support. It sounds like you are a great support for them and helping them connect to their resources.
- 51 views
It sounds as though your daughter is struggling to manage her anxiety and she is having really big reactions to what you view as small problems or issues. What have you tried with her in the past? As exhausting as it might be, a good first step is to empathize and validate her feelings.
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It may be helpful to register for a class you can take together. I would recommend mindful meditation or yoga, just the two of you. Something you find time for in a weekly basis. Yoga is amazing in learning mindfulness and reducing stress. I use yoga and mindful techniques when working with children and recommend it to parents to engage with their children. Hope this helps.
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Its hard to answer this question based on the information presented but I shall give it a go, Is it possible that your daughter is afraid of failing, I've seen many children and kids who get stressed out over grades or performance in sports, can you tell me "what was your grade in fourth grade English? Or what was the score of the 7th game you played in football when you were a junior? Much of what happens to us is insignificant and we worry over things which really , in the long term don't matter much to us. But ask yourself this question, Is your daughters reaction to what is going grossly out of proportion with what would normally be expected, if the answer is yes, a visit to a psychotherapist might not be a bad idea to learn some coping skills and to alter our reaction to life.
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I agree with your observation about your daughter feeling stressed.
Are you able to open this topic in conversation with her?
Also, reflect on your own expectations as a parent.
It is possible that your daughter is trying to please you by getting consistently high grades.
If your daughter prefers talking in confidence to a therapist, then this may help her regain a sense of balance in her life so that schoolwork feels less stressful.
I wouldn't take her to a doctor because based on what you write, the problem is psychological and emotionally based. While the stress may have physical symptoms, addressing the root cause of the problem has nothing to do directly with something being physically wrong with your daughter.
Unless there is some other medical or physical problem that would explain your daughter's sense of stress, I'd start first by bringing your areas of concern to your daughter, then possibly to a therapist.
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