Have back-to-school jitters?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

The thought of going back to school with other kids terrifies some students.

Plenty of students find the beginning of the school year very exciting! It’s a great reason to see old friends and make new ones. For others, however, going back to school can be a bit… scary. The prospect of having a new teacher in an unfamiliar class setting with potential bullies is enough to make kids really anxious. According to child psychiatrist Richard Tremblay, they have their parents to blame!

“It’s a big change in the rhythm of life for everybody, especially children,” says Tremblay. “Those who have problems with anxiety often create worst-case scenarios, almost like horror stories in their minds.” Even though it’s their thoughts imagining the worst possible situations, a child’s nerves have a lot to do with their genes – the molecules inside our cells that determine part of our personality. “There is a big genetic effect in terms of anxiety behaviors,” says Tremblay. “The best predictors of anxiety… among children are their parents’ own struggles with the same [disorder]. In other words, if you have a very anxious mother or father, you are at high risk of being an anxious child.”

That hardly seems fair, though! Why should a child have to suffer because of the genes they got from their parents? Well, actually they don’t have to. Tremblay says there are a number of ways to fight back-to-school nerves, and the best method is just talking with someone who’s experienced the same feelings. It doesn’t just have to be parent, it can also be school counselors or grandparents! “Grandmama knows things that can be very helpful,” says Tremblay. “People imagine that new psychological knowledge will solve all their problems but those old experiences are very good.”

If you’re nervous about the school day, don’t be afraid to talk it out with an adult. It might seem like they won’t understand you because they are old, but remember this: they were young once, too. They could have the secret to making a scary situation into a fun one!

Featured image courtesy of wired_gr on Flickr. Image of school buses courtesy of Andrei Niemimäki on Wikimedia.