School, education and teenagers


Even for those that believe “they’re the best years of your life”, school can be really difficult at times for teenagers. Your child may feel under pressure to perform well in exams, maintain a healthy social life, and start making tricky decisions about the rest of their lives. It’s normal for teenagers to go through rough patches at school, but if you’re worried about your child, there are things that you can do to help.

This article can help if you want to:

  • learn about the different causes of stress at school and how these can affect your teenager
  • find out how to spot when your child isn’t coping at school
  • help your child manage hurdles at school more effectively.

Problems at school that your child could be facing

Anyone who has been a teenager will recall the ups and downs of being at school. When your child is having a hard or stressful time, there are some common experiences that you might like to consider:



    • Bullying
      Whether it’s being called names, feeling excluded, or being harassed online, bullying is a horrible experience for a teen. As a parent it can be hard to deal with, and it’s not always immediately obvious that this is what’s happening for your teen. If you’ve noticed that they’re behaving differently and are worried that they might be being bullied, get the facts on what to look out for and how you can help.


    • Friendships and peer pressure
      During high school friends become your teenagers main support network. They help them develop a sense of identity, try new things and feel a sense of belonging outside the family unit. However, when young people spend all day every day with each other there’s bound to be the occasional clash. If you grow your teenagers self-esteem and confidence they are more likely to build their ability to stand up for themselves and others, building positive friendships throughout high school.


    • Trouble focusing
      Whilst social media can help your teen connect and unwind the constant notifications and ‘always on’ nature of it can sometimes get a bit distracting. You can help them focus by suggesting social media-free times and by keeping TV and music volumes down while they’re studying. Read how to manage distractions for more ideas.


Signs that your teen might be having a tough time

If you’re unsure how your teenager is coping, look out for these changes in their mood or behaviour, then use our resources to support them:

  • being withdrawn or disengaged
  • a loss of interest in the things they usually enjoy
  • changes in their sleeping or eating habits
  • feeling grumpy or irritable.

Other ways you can support your teen

Having a strong sense of self can really improve your teen’s time at school, so helping them explore this and building their confidence can be a great thing to work on. Taking an active interest in things that are going on for them and having open and honest chats can really help teenagers feel like they’re supported.

If your teen is more stressed than usual, talk to them about what’s going on. Share positive coping strategies with them, or direct them towards an app, like the ReachOut Breathe app, helping people manage their anxiety. If you’re still worried, talk to your GP and have a look at some other things to try. You can connect with other parents who are in the same situation as you, in our anonymous parent forums. Here you can discuss any issue or experience you and your teen are encountering.

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