When I was in high school, I had mixed feelings about going back to school each year. I loved the idea of a fresh start. Every year, I got a new opportunity to start over, to reinvent myself. Though I remember loving this time of year, that wasn’t the case for many of my friends. Some of them would practically get sick before school started because they were so stressed out.
It’s the start of a new school year. For healthy strivers—kids with big goals and high standards—this is a time of excitement, anticipating the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. For perfectionists—kids with impossible expectations and intense fear of failure—this is a time of high anxiety.
How can you help your adolescent or college-age child be a healthy striver rather than a destructive perfectionist?
Worry about an upcoming math test, anxiety about feeling pressed to try drugs, pressure to get better grades, fear of being harassed by a classmate; that all can add up to feeling a lot of stress if the emotions of worry, anxiety, pressure, and fear are left unmanaged.