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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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
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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.
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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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