Very few people look back on their middle school years fondly, as it is a difficult transition socially and academically. Going from specific classrooms to class changes opens the doors for new relationships and cliques to forms. Most middle schoolers are concerned about “fitting in” at their new schools. When new middle schoolers get a rocky start it can lead to a marked and lasting decline in their academic performance.
While fears about the transition to middle school are a near-universal experience of young adolescents, finding a supportive social environment can ease the transition.
Factors Contributing to Middle School Anxiety
- High self-awareness
- Greater sensitivity to social acceptance
- Physical changes during puberty
- Hormonal changes and mood swings
Puberty brings on a lot of physical and emotional changes that are intensified when transitioning to a new environment. As teens explore their identity, friend groups change and it is normal to feel more alone or lost during this period. Although it depends on the school climate and how well they know other students, most middle schoolers experience anxiety about school because of the developmental changes they’re going through.
Specific Fears about Middle School
- Not fitting in
- Struggling to make new friends
- Handling drama and not taking it personally
- Being different
- Eating lunch alone
- Tough classes
- Staying organized
Manifestations of Middle School Anxiety
- School refusal
- Social isolation
- Lack of motivation
- Decline in academic performance
- Problems with authority figures
Cultivating a Positive School Climate
According to a recent study, students who participate in social interventions in middle school that are designed to relieve their school anxiety are more likely to have better grades and attendance, improved attitudes, and fewer behavioral problems in school.
Some ways Asheville Academy creates a supportive school environment include:
- Validating students’ experiences. By encouraging young girls to talk about their school experiences and fears, they realize that they are not alone in their school anxiety. They begin to understand that the angst they’re feeling is both temporary and normal.
- Offering small classrooms. Small class sizes and highly qualified teaching staff, we are able to ensure your child receives instruction that is tailored to their unique learning needs as well as the individual attention they require to thrive academically. We help to remove many of the stresses of traditional school environments by removing distractions and encouraging the sense of community our students share.
- Helping girls develop healthy relationships. Making close friends in middle school is critical for future social success. While many girls struggle with making friends in a traditional school environment, therapeutic boarding schools provide a variety of opportunities for girls to socialize and develop meaningful relationships with their peers outside of class.
Asheville Academy Can Help
Asheville Academy for Girls is a therapeutic boarding school for girls ages 10-14 who struggle with learning, behavioral, and emotional issues. Our accredited academic program is focused on teaching middle school girls social skills, study skills, and healthier coping skills in order to empower girls to move forward and transition smoothly back into their home and school life. Students gain a greater sense of confidence, ability to manage emotions, and the skills to communicate effectively. We can help your family today!
If your middle school daughter is struggling with school anxiety and academic performance, contact us at 800-264-8709 for more information.
Cat brings more than thirty years of experience making an impact in the lives of adolescents. Cat has developed multiple programs helping children, teens, and young adults in a variety of settings and with a diverse range of diagnoses. She has dedicated her career to behavioral health and is honored to be part of the passionate team at Asheville Academy for Girls. She recognizes how delicate this age is and is proud of the role she and her team play in helping girls grow and prosper.