With school in full swing, you might start noticing signs of ADHD school stress in your child. Adjusting back to school from summer can cause a lot of stress with all the changes. Depending on your child or the situation, the stress can even show up in the middle or end of the school year.
In many individuals of all ages, ADHD and stress go together. While having stress always causes health and mental problems no matter who has it, stress can present special problems for children. Research indicates that stress can have a lasting impact on a child’s development. Not only that, living with stress at a young age can affect how a child sees the world and handles issues later in life.
More than likely, we can all universally agree that we should do what we can to address and limit ADHD school stress as much as possible. In this article, we seek to provide tools to help do just that. We want to help parents understand the signs and causes of ADHD school stress and exactly the best ways to address it.
Signs of ADHD School Stress to Look Out For
As we seek to understand and find ways to resolve ADHD school stress, we really need to start with the signs of it in children. ADHD school stress can show up when you least expect it. You could think that the school year might be going well, and then all of a sudden for some unknown reason things just start going poorly.
While one day your child seemed to enjoy some aspects of school, now everything seems to make them withdrawn and upset. Different actions and behaviors can point to different causes. Some things when taken together, though, give us a good indication that ADHD school stress might be disrupting things. Let’s look closer at some of these issues.
Lying about school or homework
One sign of ADHD school stress to look out for is if your child starts to tell lies about what happens at school. Psychologists point to lying as an indicator of general anxiety in children. Additionally, lying and ADHD tend to follow one another. Still, though, if your child hasn’t tended to lie before and starts to lie especially about school then you should wonder if stress could be causing it.
The reasons why people lie can be varied. Part of why people start to lie about things going on in their lives, though, is that they don’t want to or don’t know how to address issues in their life. When it comes to ADHD school stress, this could be the case for many kids. Your child simply might not understand the feelings of stress they have and might not know how to respond to those feelings. As a result, they start to lie about what they feel and what they experience at school.
For you as the parent, if you think your child might be lying about school, try to find ways to corroborate what they say. You shouldn’t do this to try to catch them in a lie and make them feel bad about it. Rather, you should do this to find out the truth and then approach your child about why they might have lied. In the end, when confronted they might then be able to confront the stress leading to the lies.
Irritability or general change in mood
A second sign of possible ADHD stress to keep an eye out for is your child’s moods. Children who feel stressed typically show drastic changes in mood. Children undergoing stress become irritable easier and upset over small infractions.
If you notice a sudden change in mood in your child especially around school topics, ADHD school stress could be the culprit. This change in mood could appear as a prolonged sullenness or acting withdrawn. Parents of hyper outgoing children might notice a significant downshift in exuberance and an avoidance of activities the child once enjoyed.
A different change in mood might also include a shift from more reserved to more aggressive or confrontational behavior. If your child normally does not get in trouble at school but all of a sudden starts getting into trouble with teachers and classmates, you might seek to identify the underlying causes. Furthermore, increased instances of bullying, a trait often connected with ADHD, might point to greater ADHD school stress.
We all know that children develop at different stages. Dealing with hormones and normal school life can present challenges so this isn’t to say any change in your child’s mood points to stress. Rather, you want to keep an eye out for any sudden shifts in mood that might last for several days or weeks. Such rapid changes can point to ADHD school stress as a cause.
Changes in diet
Another possible indicator for ADHD school stress could include a sudden change in diet or eating behavior. Diet typically provides a good indicator of how a person feels mentally or emotionally. When we don’t feel happy or healthy, many of us either stop eating altogether or start eating very poorly and not caring about our overall health.
As a parent with a child with ADHD, you really need to pay close attention to your child’s diet. Diet has a profound impact on ADHD symptoms in general. A healthy well-rounded diet can provide great benefits to keeping symptoms in check. A poor diet, on the other hand, can send symptoms off in a spiral making it hard for a child with ADHD to process their emotions or focus.
Not only does diet matter for general ADHD symptoms, diet can also point to issues with eating disorders. Unfortunately, not only does ADHD go along with stress often, ADHD and eating disorders also commonly occur together. This is especially true for young girls. Many times as well stress can act as a common factor in both the ADHD and eating disorder.
For ADHD school stress, you, as the parent, simply want to stay alert to any sudden changes in diet. If your child doesn’t want to eat the things they normally do, you should start asking more questions. Stress caused at school can bleed over into the home and into other areas of life, especially when and how much your child eats. Keep an eye on your child’s habits to stay on top of ADHD school stress.
Causes of ADHD School Stress
Now that we know some of the things to look for, we also need to talk about some of the causes of ADHD school stress. You can address anxiety best through knowing and addressing the specific causes. While causes of stress vary widely and depend on the child’s personality, we wanted to point to some of the biggest stressors many ADHD children face. Read on to identify some of these common causes.
Failing in the classroom
Most all of us can identify with stress in children, because even as adults we have stress for many of the same reasons. One large cause of stress no matter your age involves a fear of failure. When it comes to ADHD school stress, this fear of failure often occurs with failing in the classroom.
Failing in the classroom can look a number of different ways. This could involve not understanding a new topic and failing on assignments. This could also arise from forgetfulness often seen in ADHD children. For instance, your child might keep forgetting to take their homework home or to simply complete it. They then get in trouble for not doing their homework and start to fear the cycle repeating again.
Furthermore, fear of failing could take place with fearing getting in trouble for bad behavior. Maybe your child gets distracted in the classroom and as a result they cause a disruption and get in trouble with the teacher. They may not want to get in trouble, but might feel at a loss as how to correct their actions. They then start to fear getting in trouble again and see it as failing.
Fear of failing can present itself as a trigger for ADHD school stress. If you suspect this might be the cause of anxiety for your child, try to ask questions to identify specifically what the fear is. Once you know the fear, you can better help your child address it.
Being bullied or picked on
As we mentioned earlier, bullying occurs a lot for children with ADHD. Sometimes, children with ADHD can act as bullies to other children. More often than not, though, children with ADHD become the targets of other kids.
Other kids sometimes view children with ADHD as outsiders or see their behavior as strange. This then can many times lead to bullying and to the child with ADHD being the target of social attacks. Being called names, being picked on, or being physically attacked by peers can cause a lot of stress for children. After all, no one wants to feel left out or that they might be strange in some way.
If your child experiences bullying at school, they might start to act like they don’t want to go to school or avoid talking about school. They might show a fear of others or groups of individuals. If you see this type of behavior, start talking to your child about what they are feeling and why. If bullying lies at the heart of their actions, ADHD school stress could also be involved.
Simply not fitting in
In addition to bullying, your child might feel ADHD school stress simply from not fitting in. Other children might not pick on them necessarily, but they also might not accept or include them either. In this case, your child with ADHD might simply not know how to connect with others or how to make friends.
If your child feels weird or awkward with interacting with others, they might start feeling anxiety about approaching others. At school, your child can’t avoid interacting with others. Since social interactions are unavoidable at school, your child might start to feel stress over going to school at all.
If your child seems to want to avoid meeting others, you might suspect ADHD school stress as a factor. To approach the issue you can find ways to help encourage them to learn to get better at social interactions. With encouraging positive social interactions, you can help fight against stress from not fitting in.
Ways to Address ADHD School Stress
Now that you know some signs and causes of ADHD school stress to look for, you need to also have tools on hand to address it well. Many times when it comes to addressing things in your child’s life, you need to learn to communicate and work with others. While this might not be the only way to address school anxiety, we are going to focus on the communication aspect of handling stress. Read on to identify specific ways to combat ADHD school stress.
Talk to your child
First things first, if you start noticing signs of ADHD school stress, you need to break the ice and talk to your child. If your child has stress, more than likely they won’t want to admit it. This means that you as the parent might have to be creative and patient in order to get them to address the issue themselves.
Especially if your child has started lying to you, they may have pushed the anxiety out of their minds. They may not want to address it themselves. Through talking to your child, though, you can help them actually face and deal with the stress themselves.
To get the conversation started, you need to start asking open ended questions. If you fear your child has anxiety you can’t settle for a yes or no. Instead of asking if your child had a good day, ask them specifically what parts of their day they liked and didn’t like.
You should focus on starting a conversation. Ask your child about things they want to respond to and then move towards things which might cause their anxiety. Ask them about their interactions with their teacher and with other students. Through talking with your child you can possibly start getting a better picture of the stress causing the problem. You can then start working to resolve it.
Talk to your child’s teacher
After talking with your child, you next need to communicate directly with your child’s teacher. Your child’s teacher has the most influence over addressing possible causes of ADHD school stress. As with when you talked with your child, you need to ask your child’s teacher questions about what they see going on.
We would recommend scheduling a time to meet in person with the teacher instead of over the phone. If through talking you and the teacher can find the cause of the stress, you can then come up with an appropriate way to address it. Additionally, if your child feels comfortable joining the conversation, you can bring them along to the meeting.
Through talking with the teacher, you can many times find the best way forward for resolving the ADHD school stress. After the first conversation, keep the lines of communication open and have opportunities for follow up. Continue checking in with the teacher until the signs of stress start to go away.
Talk to a counselor
The final step in addressing ADHD school stress can then be talking with a counselor. The counselor can add to the work and plan you put together with your child’s teacher. Additionally, the counselor can act as an impartial third party looking into the situation. They can provide a step back from what is going on and provide educated and pointed tools to help resolve the problem.
A good first place to look for a counselor to help address ADHD school stress is at your child’s school. Most all schools have counselors available who would have training to address this type of issue. Alternatively, you can look in your community for referrals or talk with other parents of ADHD children who might have talked to a counselor in the past.
For this final step to work, you as the parent need to understand that going to a counselor doesn’t mean that something is wrong with your child. Counselors can provide expert help when you need it. Seeing one shouldn’t mean that you have some kind of stigma on you or your child. Rather you should simply see a counselor as another tool at hand to address ADHD school stress.
Addressing ADHD School Stress Can Take Time and Effort
As people, sometimes we all like to think that if we simply don’t think about our problems they might go away. When it comes to ADHD school stress, though, we simply can’t wish this one away. In most cases, the more that we chose to ignore the warning signs, the worse the problem becomes.
For your child’s sake, you need to take any prolonged indicators of ADHD school stress seriously. Alone, you might not feel like you have the knowledge or resources to address the underlying anxiety well. Still, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do anything at all. Rather, it means that you should start as soon as possible to get help from those around you.
We here at FastBraiin want to help provide parents the resources they need to manage ADHD well. Addressing ADHD school stress is just one thing that we want to make sure you have the resources and support you need to resolve issues in your life. Utilize our online resources to find the tools you need to become your own ADHD expert.
Take the time to really seek out the answers to the ADHD school stress in your life. Though finding a resolution might take time and energy, you will find that it’s worth all the effort.