Is your teen having back-to-school anxiety about online learning?

Hi, is your teenager struggling with some anxiety about going back to school, and on top of that,
is that social anxiety getting so bad that you're really worried that he or she won't be able
to acclimate back into school, face -to -face contact, when that happens? Well, that's today's
question on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist,
and I specialize in helping kids, teens, and families live happier lives. I lead two organizations,
Teen Therapy Center, which is a group of private practice, and the non -profit organization
Child and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon
I come to you on Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions. The only difference today
is I'm also helping to post this on another organization site that I'm involved with called
Insight to Teen Culture. Insight to Teen Culture is a group of dedicated professionals who
collaborate on supporting tweens, teens, young adults,

and their families. Links for all organizations are down below. Please give them a visit. We
really like helping people. Anyways, every Wednesday at noon, I come to you in your Facebook
Live. Let's answer today's parenting question. Let's turn the page around so I can see it. I'm
concerned about my daughter's well -being. She's 14 and has always had trouble socializing,
But, she's always wanted to have close friends. Her anxiety gets in the way and she self -isolates.
Before quarantine, she was showing improvement, getting involved in activities, and we felt
like we were making progress. Since quarantine, she's reverted back to being very isolated,
to the point she won't FaceTime with her friends, but she's very outgoing with texting and typing,
as long as her face isn't on video. She's going back to online learning which has a lot of anxiety
about because she doesn't want to share her face on video My big concern is once we get back to
going into the classroom in person How do we help

her interact face -to -face without having a panic attack? So it's funny cuz that's funny. It's
interesting I'm seeing a lot of this in my practice right now a lot of social anxiety Which has
been amplified by the ease of the self isolation from quarantine kids to be able to lock themselves
in the room, stay on their phones for 12, 14 hours a day, maybe even longer for some kids. And it's
this safe little cocoon that feels safe. Of course, it turns into a prison, because they lose
that strength and that resiliency of getting out and being in the world. Could be that kids have
a hard time even going to the grocery store. And if you say, hey, go pick out oranges, they're
terrified of picking out the wrong orange. Or if you go to pick up an order at a restaurant, They're
terrified to give that order so it's important to have your kids have you know get your kids out
now You don't want to force it Anxiety is a real thing fears real thing just telling them to get
over it and say ah it's nothing

no big deal Just do it. Just push through it. That's not really gonna work in fact It's probably
gonna do the opposite and push your kid back farther into the corner So there's a lot of things
to do about this number one talk to your kid better yet listen to your kid ask some some open -ended
questions. How are you feeling? What are you concerned about? But don't judge her answers.
If she says, I'm scared everyone's gonna laugh at me, and I'm gonna joke at me, say everyone's
gonna think I'm stupid, and you might say, well they're not gonna do that. No, that's of course
not gonna do that. That's not going to help. That all she's gonna feel is that you are dismissing
her, and that you're pushing away her feelings, that what her experience is is irrelevant to
you, and you don't get it. Which is gonna make her feel more alone, therefore she's going to isolate
to protect herself from feeling alone, if that makes sense. So whatever you can do, make that
experience safe for her, where she feels

comfortable, whether it's you guys are sitting on the couch and snuggling, whether she's sitting
across from you, whatever is good for her. So really support her. And also, this may not be one
conversation. This may be several conversations you're going to have with her. Also, it's
important to help her talk through what is her experience. If she's going to be online and she
has the camera off, how does she feel as opposed to having the camera on? What is the difference?
And it may be that you need to have a therapist talk to her about this. And the reason why is because
therapists don't tell your daughter to brush her teeth or put her shoes away or get ready on time.
So the great thing about therapists is we're not authority figures. We're able to connect with
a kid on a way that parents can't. We also can't connect as a parent can't either. So we're not
replacing a parent. But what we can do is we can help a kid have that safe place where there's a
feeling of no judgment, where they can

talk through and then start challenging some of these negative intrusive thoughts. Other
things you can do. Get her involved. First of all, make sure that her sleep habits are healthy,
her eating habits are relatively healthy, her physical activity is relatively healthy, and
her creativity is healthy. If you have all of these four elements tapped into, she may be more
equipped at dealing with some of the social anxiety exercise is a great way to deal with this
breathing you know doing yoga is great way to deal with anxiety the exercise is clinically proven
to help anxiety it helps it gets them out of the house it gets the body moving sometimes anxiety
is because there's so much pent -up energy in order to do with it but going out for a walk or a bike
ride or you know whatever it is helps do that through it learn about meditation, learn about
breathing techniques. Breathing is really important because when we're anxious, we hold
our breath or our breath gets really shallow. And if we learn

how to breathe clearly, we're able to slow down our thoughts, think through these things clearly.
If we're not, we get stuck in our head and our thoughts are racing so much, we can't think clearly.
So possible therapy, healthy sleeping habits. Sleep is really important. We do it for a third
of our life. It's really important. Healthy eating habits, healthy physical Physical activity,
whatever that is for you, everyone's going to have a different idea what physical activity
is, but a healthy physical activity, and some creativity, where she's not being judged, not
being criticized. If she does decide to write a poem or draw a picture or sculpt some clay and
she shows it to you, don't tell her it's good or bad. Talk to her about her experience. What did
she like about doing it? What does she think about it? You don't want her relying on you to tell
her if it's good or bad because it's not your place to tell her if it's good or bad. You can thank
her. Hey, thank you for sharing this with me.

I really enjoy it when you share me with me your art. I love listening to your poetry That's different
than you did a good job because the first way is I'm appreciating you and your efforts the second
is you you met the bar and Anxiety is all about never able to meet the bar And if you say well, this
is good But you didn't mention the same thing last time then maybe you're not liking what she
did or maybe just not being honest So if she says well, is it good? Is it good? Tell me if it's good
say hey I love when you share this stuff. Really, it's important. What do you think? How do you
feel? So, there's a lot of ways to approach this anxiety. And I think it's better to approach
it now, while we're still in quarantine, to wait until when quarantine is over, whenever that
is. I don't want it to be, like, you know, this culture shock for her. I want her to be able to have
that smooth transition back into school, when that happens. Anyways, thank you for tuning
in. Again, my name is Kent Toussaint.

I love answering your parenting questions. Keep emailing us your questions at tipsonteens
at teentherapycenter .com, or you can direct message us right here. We'd love to hear from you.
Please go visit the websites for Teen Therapy Center, Child and Teen Counseling, and Inside
the Teen Culture. We'd love to support you, and if you have any questions, let us know. Thanks
again, guys. Bye -bye.

In this Tips on Teens video we discuss the impact of how quarantine affects socially withdrawn children and how to support them once things go back to normal.

“I’m concerned about my daughter’s well being. She’s 14 and has always had trouble socializing, but she’s always wanted to have close friends. Her anxiety gets in the way and she self isolates. Before quarantine she was showing improvement getting involved in activities and we felt like we were making progress. Since quarantine, she’s reverted back to being very isolated, to the point she won’t FaceTime with her friends but she’s very outgoing with texting and typing as long as her face isn’t on video. She’s going back to online learning which she has a lot of anxiety about because she doesn’t want to share her face on video. My big concern is once we get back to going into the classroom in person, how do we help her interact face to face without having a panic attack.”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.