In the circular logic of mental health awareness, a clinician's reassurance that situational anxiety is most likely normal and time-limited leads a parent to believe that the clinician may be missing a serious mental health condition.

Today's parents are suffering from anxiety about anxiety, which is actually more serious than anxiety. It's self-fulfilling and not easily soothed by logic or evidence, such as the knowledge that most everyone adjusts to college just fine.

Anxiety about anxiety has gotten so bad that some parents actually worry if their student isn't anxious. This puts a lot of pressure on unanxious students - it creates anxiety  about anxiety about anxiety.

[ This happens all the time. Well-meaning parents tell their kid to make an appointment with our office to make sure their adjustment to college is going O.K.]

If the student says she's fine, the parents worry that she isn't being forthright. This is the conundrum of anxiety about anxiety -there's no really easy way to combat it 

But I do have some advice for Parents. The first thing I like to say, and I mean it in the kindest possible way is : Get a grip. 

The World Students Society thanks Mathilde Ross, a senior staff psychiatrist at Boston University Health Services.


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