Teen Test Anxiety

Many of us can relate to teens who suffer anxiety before taking a test. In fact, there are many situations in which anxiety can play a role in your teen's everyday world. But for school kids, test anxiety can become the catalyst with which teen anxiety could escalate.

It is called test anxiety. This is the situation when your child has studied and attended class but still fails the test. They know the information, but the testing situation leaves them too anxious to perform well.

What are some of the signs? Your child may have sweaty palms, rapid breathing and agitation. This anxiety can seem to border on a panic attack if it is severe enough.

What happens during the test is this: Hundreds of thoughts run through your child’s head, including a scenario that features them failing. Their nervousness, once at bay, returns. They draw a blank on the information and can’t remember what they knew cold one day ago.

The same can happen before a recital or even a big game. Your teen gets so worked up about the major event that they can hardly perform. They could freeze on stage before their big solo or speech. In the game they may even make numerous mistakes that they wouldn’t have before.

It has happened to all of us, but it can be devastating for your teen. Such an occurrence can undermine their self-esteem, not to mention make them feel bad for letting their friends, family and teammates down. Maybe you can head off this type of situation with these ideas:

* Talk to them – Let them know that you are proud of them for their accomplishments in that area. This could be good grades in class, winning the title role in the school play or making it to the soccer championships. Your words can relieve some of the pressure they feel to perform well.

* Practice breathing – When they are in a tough situation, the last thing you want them to do is panic. Teach them how to breathe deeply and slowly. When you breathe deeper, your brain gets more oxygen and can focus better. A few deep breaths can get the brain working again and they will slowly regain confidence.

* Do something fun – The night before the big performance, go out as a family and blow off some steam. Play a round of miniature golf; see a movie; have a hearty meal together. Do whatever you can to keep their mind off of upcoming exams and other performances.

* Take a practice test – Recreate the exact situation they will be in soon. As they feel the anxiety building, coach them through breathing techniques and affirmations they can use to boost their confidence and calm down enough to take the test.

Is your child anxious when it comes to taking tests or performing in general? Use these ideas to help them prepare well and be worry-free.