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Aug 30, 2016 10:19 AM EDT

How To Help Students With Anxiety Transition To College

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The transition to college can be scary. It may be even scarier for students who struggle with anxiety. A lot of parents think that this new journey that their kids will be embarking on could help them overcome their problems. However, without the proper guidance, it may only make it worse.

"Everyone's white knuckling it thinking the next step will be better in college," Dr. Anne Marie Albano, director of the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders, told USA Today. "I've had parents say 'Oh in college, the RAs are there, they're going to get my kids dinner. They're going to make sure my son or daughter makes friends.' That is just not the way it works..."

It can be tough on kids with anxiety disorders. They don't want to disappoint their parents but they don't know what to do and where to start.

"We have so many kids with anxiety - teenagers and young adults - they don't even get out of bed on their own in the morning," Albano added. "If a parent is still waking their senior high school student up in the morning for school, how in the world is that kid going to get up on their own for college. [There are] different things that seem small but they're actually big."

Albano suggested allowing kids to do things on their own. Parents may be so used to assisting their teen but, unless they're planning to go to college with them, fathers and mothers need to let their kids stand up on their own two feet.

Proper planning and communication during the first few weeks is vital. According to Dr. Victor Schwartz, psychiatrist and medical director of the JED Foundation, there are things that parents and students can do to make the transition easier.

He advised families to talk about past transitions and what helped them with it. Helping your students become familiar with the campus as well as learning about the counseling services provided and creating a plan with the family therapist are just some things that can help teens with anxiety prepare for their transition to college.

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