A friend of mine has a daughter starting a new school. She told me about her daughter’s worry and anxiety about the first day. It doesn’t help that she doesn’t know anyone in her new class. The closer it gets and the more she thinks about it the more nervous, anxious and worried she is… the night before it peaks.
This reminded me of the many teenagers I’ve seen over the years, around this time of year who are worried about starting Secondary School.
Most of us have been there in some form or another at some stage of our life, its the worry of the unknown, the exam or test in school, standing up and speaking in front of people or just joining a new group or starting a new job.
Rarely ever is anything as bad as we imagine its going to be… we are very good at dreading things, imaging the worst and letting it play out in our heads over and over…. what will they think, how will I cope, I don’t want to do it. Whatever we say to ourselves in that dreaded worry is what we are focusing on and where all our attention is.
Imagining the worst is where anxiety lives and breathes, and it can grow into a beast if you don’t learn to control it.
After the event, when asked how we got on, we usually say, ‘it wasn’t that bad’, or ‘it was actually okay’. And we go on to recount how; ‘I knew more than I thought’ or ‘Once I got started..’ or ‘I was talking to some nice people..’
The most important word in this blog is the word ‘REMEMBER’! Remember, remember, remember….
Remember the time when I thought it was going to be awful and it turned out to be okay. Remember the time I was dreading the test and it wasn’t that bad, remember the time I hated to talk in front of people, or walk into a room full of strangers… but I learnt how to look for a friendly face. We have to remind ourselves and most importantly remind our children that things are rarely ever as bad as we think they are going to be.
I spoke to my friend about her daughter and she told me that the first day went well, and she made 2 new friends. The Mother very wisely said to her daughter ‘Knowing what you know now, just image if you could have had a word with yourself last night and told yourself ‘everything will be okay’… remember that for the future.
I’ll handle it..
When I’m coaching children and teens I like to tell about the phrase ‘ whatever happens… I’ll handle it’ – taken from the famous Susan Jeffers book ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. To me, it means that no matter what happens, even if it is something bad, or the worst thing you imagined happening actually happens, you know you will find a way to deal with it and keep going.
All the best to all of your children whatever stage they’re at; whether it is to a new school, new college or job… it can be daunting. Teaching them how to cope with these things in their heads, will set them up for the more stressful times in their lives.
All the best from my family to yours,
The Confidence Clinic
Empowering Children and Teens to live their best life
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