Reconsidering the Conversation for Parents Around Anxiety in Students

November 18, 2022 3 min read

Think about the last time you felt that familiar, pit in your stomach feeling of anxiety. Was it when thinking about your never-ending to-do list, the weekend activities that are piling up, or maybe even your commute to work on a snowy day? Anxiety is one of the most prevalent and normal emotions that humans experience, yet we are becoming increasingly less equipped to manage it.

On Monday, November 21, Calgary Academy’s Registered Psychologist, Serena Braun, will be presenting virtually at the School Council of Calgary Academy (SCOCA) meeting about how to better manage children’s anxiety, a topic top of mind for many families amidst returning to normal in schools.

“While anxiety can be uncomfortable, it is normal and not dangerous. The best thing we can do for our children is communicate the belief that they can handle tough emotions. They don’t need the adults in their world to solve their problems or rescue them from feelings of anxiety. When our children are young, it is essential that we teach them how to experience their emotions, how to name them, and how to sit with uncomfortable feelings such as anxiety.” – Serena Braun

This is vital to fostering resiliency and developing executive functioning skills. When students experience anxiety and do not have the tools to cope with it in healthy ways, they may turn to common avoidance techniques such as leaving the classroom, scrolling endlessly on their phones, and not paying attention in class.

Ms. Braun, a former elementary school teacher for 20 years and now a Registered Psychologist for Senior School students at CA, sees firsthand the impacts of anxiety on students almost daily. In fact, it’s the most common reason that students see her. Unfortunately, humans most commonly deal with anxiety by brushing it under the rug with avoidance mechanisms.

“The goal isn’t to get rid of anxiety. We can’t rewire our brains unless we have repeated exposure to what makes us anxious. This can begin the process of helping us think and do differently.” – Serena Braun

Ms. Braun’s hope for this session, which will be the first in a series around this topic, is to empower parents to start thinking about anxiety in their child, and what things they can do differently as a family to support their child.

“The focus of this session is not necessarily on getting our child to do something different, but it’s for the adults in their world to start thinking differently about how to address anxiety.” – Serena Braun

Join our next SCOCA meeting on Monday, November 21 at 6:30 p.m. to learn more about how you can think differently when it comes to managing anxiety in your child to allow them to become the best learner they can be.

Meeting Link