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Coping with Back-to-School Anxiety for High-Schoolers

What If They Ask Me To?

No doubt, your child has heard stories about kids' smoking, taking drugs, and drinking at school. Maybe she's even caught a glimpse of these activities. What should she do if she sees kids smoking or taking drugs in the bathroom or on school grounds? What if they ask her to join them? These are pressure-packed questions, especially when kids don't want to be rejected by anyone or any group.

Your teen might not voice concerns about being pressured by peers to smoke, drink, take drugs, and have sex. It might be up to you to initiate these discussions. You could say, "I've heard stories about kids smoking in the school bathroom. Is that all they do in there?"

Whatever your child's response to questions like these, it's an opening to discuss your rules and limits about these behaviors. Your discussion must include the rationale behind your rules. This isn't the time to merely recite that old slogan, "Just say no." While your teen is developing her own beliefs and values regarding these behaviors, it's vital that you provide her with yours.

How Do I Stop the Teasing?

Freshmen frequently have nightmares about being shoved in their lockers or intentionally jostled in the corridors by upperclassmen. Kids who've been rejected by the strongest cliques fear the sting of endless taunts and slurs.

If your child has been a former target of bullies or teasing, he may be seen as easy prey in high school. A withdrawal from the social and extracurricular world of school, or a generally dejected attitude, may be signs that he is being bullied or harassed.

Make sure that you know the high school's policy regarding bullying. Federal and state laws demand that schools create written school policies and practice good-faith efforts to provide all students with an environment free from any harassment.

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