Learning to drive can contribute to your teen’s anxiety. Image Source: Unsplash
Worried about your teen’s anxiety?
Parents choose to homeschool for various reasons, especially in a post-pandemic world. One of the biggest draws is that many people believe homeschooling can help to combat the anxieties of a standard school environment.
But, is that really true?
If you’re considering homeschooling your teenager, or you’ve already been doing it for a few years, it’s important to understand some of the mental health effects. Does it really help with your teen’s anxiety, or will it only make things worse in the long run?
Let’s take a closer look at how homeschooling can have an impact on your teenager’s mental health, and what else you can do to help alleviate their anxiety, even when they’re done with their daily lessons.
How Homeschooling Helps With Mental Health Issues
There’s no denying that the average teenager faces a lot of challenges and pressures in a traditional school setting. Some of the common issues they might face include:
- Peer pressure
- Navigating relationships
- An unsupportive educational environment
- Physical changes
- Worrying about the future
You might not be able to remove all of those issues by homeschooling. However, you can provide a supportive educational environment that lets them learn without pressure while preparing them for the future. Most kids and teens who are homeschooled manage to do the same amount of work in less time because you can cater your lesson plans to fit the learning style of your child. That can help to ease academic anxiety and build their self-confidence quickly.
Homeschooling also helps with anxiety by providing a supportive environment outside of academics. When your teen feels heard, understood, and valued, they’re less likely to feel so much pressure and fear. If you’re able to foster that kind of atmosphere while they get their work done each day, you’ll likely see a lot of their worries melt away.
Maintaining Social Interaction
One of the biggest “complaints” people like to make about homeschooling is that it doesn’t provide kids and teens with the social interaction they need. While it’s true that teenagers need friend groups and plenty of socialization, homeschooling doesn’t have to keep them from that. In fact, you should encourage your teen to have a robust social life — it’s good for their mental health.
If you’ve been homeschooling for a while, you probably know about things like co-op groups, sports teams, and even after-school clubs that are associated with your district. Everything from music lessons to the robotics club can help your teen experience enrichment while interacting with new people.
But, it’s also important for them to have free time with their friends. Depending on their age, letting them drive is one of the best ways to do that. Giving your teen use of the car shows them that you trust them, and offers them a sense of freedom — which can also improve their mental well-being.
Make sure you consider the right insurance coverage for your teen’s car, so you can have peace of mind while they’re on the road, and look for discounts associated with good grades and low mileage that can make your plan more affordable. That’s especially helpful if your teen is paying for their own insurance. It helps to boost their autonomy and gives them a sense of responsibility and greater confidence.
Easing Your Teen’s Anxiety at Home
One of the best things you can do to help your teen with anxiety at home is to offer your support. That doesn’t mean you need to force conversations or ask them invasive questions every day. But, they should know that you’re there for them and they should feel comfortable opening up when they’re struggling with worry and fear.
You can also help your teen with anxiety at home by:
- Acknowledging their feelings
- Accepting their emotions
- Teaching them healthy coping mechanisms
- Reaching out for professional help if necessary
Sometimes, your teen’s anxiety might stem from loneliness or a need for companionship. If that’s the case, consider bringing a pet into your home. There are countless health benefits that come with having a pet. A dog, for example, can help your teen to feel calmer. It can also create more social opportunities and encourage physical activity. You don’t necessarily need to seek out a “therapy dog” unless you really feel like it might benefit your teenager. Instead, focus on adopting a pet they’ll be able to connect with and love with no strings or pressure attached.
Can homeschooling help to reduce your teen’s anxiety? Absolutely. It takes away a lot of the standard pressures of high school and caters to your teen’s learning style, so they can focus on the things that matter most.
However, don’t assume that it’s a quick fix or that homeschooling is the only solution. The best thing you can do is to determine the source of your teen’s anxiety and work from there. Provide a safe, supportive home environment when they’re both learning and relaxing, and let them know that help is always available when they need it.