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Son Aged 13 Experiencing Intense Anxiety About New School

by Teresa
(Burnaby BC Canada)


I have a highly sensitive 13 year old son. He has struggled with anxiety, panic, and anger for quite a while.

Now, he is getting a lot of headaches, difficulty sleeping, has begun obsessive behaviours. My immediate issue is the intense fear and anxiety he is feeling about going from a small elementary school (300 kids) to Grade 8 in a high school of about 2100!!!

He is scared, very grumpy, bursts of tears, then anger and so on. I have been tapping for some time now in addition to working with crystals, and meditation. He is quite used to it, but when it comes to himself, I would love any suggestions etc.

I'm also going to request a personalized script in the hope that he will be a tad more receptive if he knows that the tapping was designed "for him".

I would appreciate any and all help! I should mention I am a single parent and when my son was 3 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I know my illness plays a large role and do my very best to fight the MS every moment of every day. I don't lie to my son about the disease, but I don't share every little detail as he doesn't need to hear about catheters, tubes etc. I can still walk but need 2 canes.

Anyhow, sorry this is so long!! Thank you!!

Annie's Reply

At the time Teresa purchased the EFT for kids program, and wrote asking for more help, I was away from home and could not get access to my site. We corresponded by email for a few days, exchanging information and ideas, much of which I have printed below.

I explained there is no perfect EFT script, that EFT works best when we use a script as a starting point, but adapt to tap on whatever is coming up in response to the statements. That is why it is such a powerful tool for kids to get under their belt. It really can be used for any issue or challenge.

Her son was very brave and also wrote a list of his fears, so to help other parents and children we have included that here before my reply.

More Info From Teresa

I've attached the list J compiled for issues he is pleading to tap away. Now, as he is 13, raging puberty hormones, and a tad dramatic, he has stated all issues are at the highest level of ick!

I have reviewed and my opinion is that the school issues, his anger, and general anxiety are actually very bad. The rest mid scale.

Now, the good. J is a great student. Excellent marks, assignments on time and complete. Won citizen of the year 6 times.

That is what is odd. With all the anxiety he has really no social problems. He makes friends easily and maintains the friendships that are good. If a particular friend goes a different direction he is very OK with it - that's life Mom!

His headaches are increasing the closer Sept. 2nd gets and that is a problem.

I know and now J is getting the fact that a couple of well written scripts can be used (with word/issue changes) that a custom script for 20+ things isn't necessary.

He is empathetic, loving, very sensitive, very smart. He's not a sports guy at all, instead prefers reading, video games, more individual activities. Loves weight training, swimming, 1 on 1 basketball.

He is a big kid. Almost 6' tall, men's size 10 shoes so his coordination is lacking thus he avoids group sports!

I hope this is enough info but please please let me know if you need anything else. Again I am so touched that you have taken your holiday time to email me, extend hope and agree to help. I feel positive and hopeful for the first time in a long time.

Thank you is inadequate!

List From J (Son) re Negative Feelings

School Issues

I am anxious / scared because the High School is so much bigger than the Elementary school I am used to attending.
I am anxious / scared that I will get lost and be late for classes.
I am anxious / scared that there will be too much homework for me to handle.
I am anxious / scared that the teachers might reprimand me in front of other students.
I am anxious / scared that I will have a panic attack at school and get embarrassed.
I am anxious / scared that I will not understand the lessons or assignments.
I am anxious / scared because I will have several teachers instead of just 1 and they might not all like me.
I am anxious / scared because I will have several teachers and I might not like them.
I get a lot of headaches and I am anxious / scared that I will miss too much school because of them and then fall way behind in lessons.

General Issues

I get anxious / panic during the day and I don’t like how it feels.
Sometimes I don’t even know why I feel the panic and the fear.
I get anxious / panic when I have to try new things, especially food.
I get anxious / panic when my routine changes. Why does it ever have to change. I
like things the way they always were.
I get anxious / panic when I think or believe someone is angry with me.
I get anxious / panic when I feel that my Mom is snapping at me.
I get anxious / panic when I feel that my mom is angry at me.
I get anxious / panic / angry when I feel that my grandmother is being cruel.
I get anxious / panic / angry when I think my grandmother is going to try to get me angry and to blow my top.
I get anxious / panic that sometimes I get super angry and I can’t stop it.
I get anxious / panic about heights.
I get anxious / panic if a bee is around (I got stung in the eye when I was little).
I get anxious / panic that I might have nightmares.
I get anxious / panic that I have forgotten to turn off some electronic item. What if it gets destroyed because I forgot so I keep checking.
I get anxious / panic that the doors might be unlocked at night then someone could break in so I get them checked and double checked.

Comments for Son Aged 13 Experiencing Intense Anxiety About New School

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Annie's Letter To J
Part One

by: Annie

Please Note
Due to restrictions in my template I have to break my reply up into chunks in the comments, labeled Part One, etc.

Hi J,
Firstly, thank you for being willing to share some of the stuff that is going on for you, it takes courage to be vulnerable and let other people know what is going on inside. We all have a mad mind munchkin that runs amok sometimes, and EFT is a fantastic tool to help us stay in the drivers seat and not let that part of us run the show!

It kind of seems that a lot of the time your Munchkin is running your life. So I will start by giving you some general tools and ideas to help you to get back in the drivers seat, and along the way some script ideas to use EFT around some of the issues you have raised.

You have probably gathered there is no perfect script! I know it is very important to you to get things right and do something perfectly. The best thing about EFT is that you can't get it wrong.

I will repeat that.
You can't get this wrong.

Personalize It

You can however make it more powerful. And the best way to do that is to make it personal. I can give you lots of ideas and use my kind of words, but the best thing you can do is use words that YOU can relate to, and change the statements I use into power statements that feel like they fit you.

If there is anything I suggest that you feel is off track or does not make sense, ignore it. After all the idea here is to put you in control, not have me tell you what you should do!

The more you personalize it, and work with what is coming up in the moment, the more it works.

With EFT you can tap at any time, you don't have to follow a special sequence or set up, and particularly when you are starting to feel panic just start tapping on any of the thoughts that are coming into your head.

Now there is a LOT of information and ideas here, you won't take it all on board at once and there is no test at the end of it! Don't get overwhelmed just absorb what seems to make sense or you are curious to try, don't feel you have to figure it all out.

Part Two Follows . . .

Annie's Letter To J
Part Two

by: Annie

Ok, let's start.

One of the first things that you can do is to make friends with your mad mind munchkin. This is the part of you that is in a state of high alert worrying that the world is not a safe place to be, and doing everything possible to keep you aware of any possible risk. So most of the points you have listed are all part of the same thing, you can tap on All your statements, it will work across them all!

This part of you has mostly taken over, but it is a very important part, and it is doing the best it can to look after you.

You might come up with another name that works, the Mad Mind Munchkin is just the label I use that appeals to my sense of humor.

One good trick with tapping is you can tap from different parts of yourself.

So you can tap and let your Munchkin speak out:

There are so many things that could go wrong.
I need to check things several times to be sure it is safe.
I hate being out of control.
I hate not knowing what is going to happen.
I hate new situations because I don't know what might happen.
I have to think of all the possible things that could go wrong so I can keep Joshua safe.
All this worrying gives me a headache.
My job is to look after him.
I am the guardian.
I have to think of all the things that might go wrong.

Then you can switch and tap from your wise and clever self:
Thanks for taking care of me, I can see now how you are on my side even though I don't like the panic attacks and headaches.
I know you are doing the best you can.
What if there were other ways We could be in control?
Maybe I can learn new ways to keep safe or try new things?
Are you willing to work together so we can handle things with a bit less stress?

You can just switch back and forth between the two parts of yourself tapping On the way! Whatever pops into your head.

Remember, you can't do this wrong. It works.

Getting your mad mind munchkin alongside will take some work. You need to reassure this part of you that it is valued, and that you are not going to get rid of it. But that you want to learn ways to chill out a bit and be ok with new things even if they are scary.

Part Three Follows . . .

Annie's Letter To J
Part Three

by: Annie

Remember everyone finds new situations scary, it is a matter of moving that scariness nearer to excitement.

Ideas Stress Is Building
Or Feeling Panicked

Firstly, the sooner you notice you are starting to ramp up the better. Practice noticing what happens, your heart rate probably increases, your tummy might feel yuck, your shoulders arms and back start tensing - which ends up in a headache. The earlier you start to pick up the signals, the more you can get control before your Mad Mind Munchkin totally takes over.

So first:
Stop And Drop

I use that phrase as a reminder to stop and tune in. Find a phrase that works for you. I even have sticky notes around as a reminder. When you stop, take three VERY slow deep breaths. The oxygen helps your heart to slow down and you get some moments to calm yourself.

Stop And Drop works really well for any strong feelings. So if you feel you are about to explode, pay attention to yourself and take a few moments to focus.

Then you can ask some questions, and at the same time you can tap, but you don't always have to.

What are these thoughts?
Mostly our mad chatter is happening subconsciously, which means they kind of get out of control.

If we stop and listen or take notice of how we feel, then it helps in different ways. Firstly your rational mind can stay in the drivers seat, or get back in the drivers seat. Secondly you are letting your Munchkin know you are paying attention and that he is not alone trying to keep you safe. So he does not have to make the panic bigger to get your attention.

Then ask questions - again you can tap back and forth. The more you add in your own questions the better:

Is this really true?

Has anything disastrous happened before?

And it may well be yes! In your case you got stung in the eye by a bee, so you learned very early on that you needed to be on high alert to stay safe.

What are the odds of this happening again?

Is anything actually going wrong right now or is it just my fear of the future?

Could it be possible that I would be perfectly fine even if I don't know what is going to happen?

Do I really need to get this anxious about change?

Maybe I can come up with some strategies to help me cope better?

I'm a very smart guy, I could use my brain to find ways to get on top of this panic.

Even if I don't know right now how to handle things differently, I can still believe there are other choices.

Even if I can't imagine being laid back and chilled, maybe I can feel there is a possibility to feel the fears and move through them.

Even though I am scared right now, I know I have coped with hundreds of new things in my life in the past.

Even though I want to run and check things, in this moment I am safe and I am going to take three long slow breaths.

Part Four Follows . . .

Annie's Letter To J
Part Four

by: Annie

Just keep on with questions that open you to other possibilities. You don't have to know what they might be. At the moment, if you are locked in irrational panic, the feelings are so overwhelming you can't think straight.

Training The Rational Mind

So the next thing that is useful is training your rational mind to examine a panicked thought. Again you can tap as you go back and forth.

Give your rational mind some tasks to unpackage the panic. Panic is all those fears and worries that have grown so big you find it really hard to do anything new. Instead we get locked in that spiral of fearful thoughts. You say sometimes you are feeling panicked and scared and you don't even know why - that is because you have been living in a state of high alert with your Mad Mind Munchkin frantically scanning the world to protect you.

So bring some reality into the situation:

How many things do I eat? All of these foods were once new to me. List them all. How would I know if I liked something if I had not tried it that first time? I need to know whether I like or dislike a new food so I at least need to try it once or twice.

What is the worst that might happen?
Have any of these ever happened before?
How did I cope in the past?
What can I do that might help?
Do I need more information?
Are there some things I can do to take care of the fear?

Get that smart brain of yours on the task of analyzing what is real and what is imagined. Think back over the last few months to all the times you were scared silly about something but got through it totally fine. There will be thousands and thousands of events in your life that despite your fears, you handled perfectly well once you were in the middle of it.

Our fears are really useful to let us know we need to be prepared. But we can not possibly prepare for everything, so we have to remember that part of what we are here for is to learn new skills so we can handle more and more challenges. If we let ourselves stay stuck in the feelings we get immobilized and stop learning.

I know you are a very smart young man, and you learn things quickly. But just remember you cannot possibly know all there is to know before you try something new.

Part Five Follows . . .

Annie's Letter To J
Part Five

by: Annie

You can un-package a fear and work out a strategy for dealing with the unknown.

Tap on all the fears until the intensity drops a bit, the you tap in the idea of new possibilities even if you don't know right now what they might be.

You will know some things you can do that help, and you can figure out different strategies depending on the situation.

You can use your knowledge of past similar situations where despite your fears and discomfort you were OK. What did you do? How did you prepare yourself? Does it help to do a trial run? You can do a role play and see yourself handling things just fine.

You can also use situations that are completely different and cross those over into a challenge situation.

Anchoring In Good Thoughts

So think of a time where you were really proud of yourself or where you felt pretty relaxed and happy. Maybe it is when you are shooting goals, maybe it is when you are playing a video game, or maybe it is having fun with friends.

Take some deep breaths and really feel how cool you felt. Come up with some statements and start tapping them in as you remember how awesome you are and how well you can do stuff. Make this memory like the brightest most powerful movie full of all a your wonderful traits and all the things people value about you.

When it is at its strongest, squeeze your knee!

What you are doing is cementing in an anchor of what an awesome kid you are. Keep practicing this so it starts to get stronger to counter balance the negative stuff you tell yourself.

Then the cool thing is, you can then fire off that anchor in times of stress. So when you are sitting in class feeling a bit freaked out, you can squeeze your knee to fire off all those memories of when you did really well or felt good about yourself.

There are lots of things in this life that are out of our control. The reality is, stuff happens. Your Mom is living with MS so you both have pretty good evidence that bad stuff happens. You did get stung in the eye by a bee. So the trick is to figure out if you can do something that will help us to cope better, or if our fears and worries are actually about something we don't have the ability to fix or control.

Part Six Follows . . .

Annie's Letter To J
Part Six

by: Annie

We can do preparation to help us to have less stress, such as doing a trial bus trip to school, being organised with our gear or building up our self esteem and belief that we can handle new situations.

But there will always be some things that it seems there is nothing more we can do to prepare or change or fix.

Tapping is great for that. Again just tap on the issue or fear and gradually let it go. I sometimes use the idea if a balloon or cloud floating away as I tap. Knowing that whenever you need to take action you will know. You don't have to be worried all the time to know when to take action.

With your school stuff, all those points you listed, simply tap through them. Sometimes other thoughts will springboard off something and just add that into the mix. You can focus on a round if tapping for each statement, OR you can just keep tapping through them all.

(See I told you there is no right or wrong way to tap!)

Pick the statements that have the most charge and just let every thought come up and tap it out. Once the intensity of the feeling drops a bit, then start introducing possibility of something different. Remember you don't have to know what they are!

Part Seven Follows . . .

Annie's Letter To J
Part Seven

by: Annie

Example of letting it unfold. Remember these are my words, your feelings and statements could be totally different.

Tapping the whole time:
I am scared I will have a panic attack at school
I can't imagine anything worse, it would be horrible

Has this actually happened to me?

If so, then tap out all the times it has happened.

If not, then is this real?

Maybe this is the part of me that does not want me to be embarrassed, trying to look after me.

Maybe I can start tapping in all the times I have gotten thru a stressful time without loosing it.

Even if I am scared, part of me knows I am OK.

I do have lots of ways of handling stressful times.

Even if I have lost it in the past, that does not mean I will fall apart now.

Even if I do have a panic attack and am horribly embarrassed, so what?

People still like me.

Everyone has challenges.

Everyone has fears.

Everyone makes a fool of themselves sometime.

I am totally OK even if I mess up or disappoint myself or others.

What if the teacher doesn't like me?

I will feel horrible.

I want people to like me.

I hate feeling different or stupid.

Can I still enjoy school if one teacher doesn't like me much?

Will there be other people in school that like me?

Can I still learn stuff from a teacher I dislike or who does not think much of me?

Are there ways I can have fun and do well in school even if I am not liked by everyone?

How realistic is it that everyone will like me, or the I will like all my teachers?

How many of my teachers in the past have liked me or I did well in their class?

How many of my teachers did I like? Did I like some more than others?

So then maybe it is OK if I don't like all my teachers at this new school.

There are lots of other things happening at school that I will enjoy.

Even though I know I find it really hard to do new things, I know I have been really REALLY successful in the past at lots of things.

I don't have to be perfect. Just learning about myself and figuring out how to handle new stuff is perfect enough.

I can never cover all eventualities, I will always have new challenges in my life.

I might be a bit more sensitive than lots of other kids, but I am not the only kid that finds a new school scary.

I am smart and successful and I have done really well in the past, so there is no evidence that I might fail now.

Because I am pretty smart, I need to be challenged to learn new stuff.

Get the idea?

Part Eight Follows . . .

Annie's Letter To J
Part Eight

by: Annie

You just tap out all the stuff that is in your head, and tap in lots more positive things about yourself. You have got way too good at looking for the bad in every situation, which has also spilled over into not believing you can cope under pressure.

Take that Mad Mind Munchkin by the hand and take some deep breaths and know that deep inside you do have the strengths to cope with anything, no matter how hard. Most of it is not nearly has bad as your mind can dream up!

One last thing,

At 13 you are going through heaps if changes. One minute you might feel like crying, the next you might totally loose it and things will seem totally out of control. Those pesky hormones play havoc sometimes, but that is totally normal.

If you do mess up or loose your cool and say or do something you regret later, simply apologize, fix it if you can, but most if all don't give yourself a hard time.

You have a very bright future a head of you. Sure there will be some tough times, but you are smart, sensitive, caring and willing to deal with stuff even when it is so scary. You have so much going for you, you just need to be a bit kinder to yourself and really believe in what an amazing young man you are.

Hang in there J, I know you can get on top of all this,

Keep tapping!

Annie :)

Thank You
by: Teresa

I am still in awe, deeply grateful every day for all of the time, effort, care and empathy you have extended. The tools, tips, strategies and tips you created for J exceed anything I had hoped for.

I only wish you could have witnessed his reaction when I handed him the package containing pages of concrete, direct and constructive help you prepared for him!

He devoured the information, and has not let it out of his sight since. He has dedicated time each day to tapping, writing, uses your suggestions and each day tries to come up with 1, or 2 new strategies to compliment your tips.

As a mom, I wish I could express how incredible it was to see my son, my baby, look and feel so hopeful, renewed. His determination coupled with your spot on realistic and specific tips are surely a winning team.

I can only hope that others out there are directed to come across your truly life saving page!

I will continue to keep you posted and from myself and my son THANK YOU!!

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