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Back-to-School Stress: Ochsner Experts Share Advice for Parents

Talk about high profile incidents if children’s age and level of understanding are appropriate.

Back-to-School Stress: Ochsner Experts Share Advice for Parents

BATON ROUGE – After a summer of highly publicized incidents and ongoing fears over COVID-19, many parents may be worried a little more than usual over the start of the new school year. Ochsner mental health experts encourage parents to talk to their children about those concerns, especially since kids don’t always experience the same worries.

“Kids often don’t share the same fear and anxiety that parents may have, and they’re really going to school as normal,” psychologist Dr. Courtney Gunn, Ph.D., says. “But keep in mind that kids pick up on their parent’s anxiety. So, if parents are worried, kids can feel anxious and go to school with those kinds of fears.”

Dr. Gunn says parents can be reluctant to speak to their children about high-profile news stories involving violence and public safety. But if parents feel their children’s age and level of understanding are appropriate, they should be willing to talk, she says.

“Have those conversations because your kids see what’s going on around them. They see the world. They see what’s being said on social media,” she says. They’re not blind to what’s going on, and when you avoid those conversations, it can actually make them more anxious.”

Dr. Gunn says that when children engage in productive, mature conversations about challenging topics with their own families, “they’re more likely have that same kind of conversation with their peers at school.”

To schedule an appointment with any Ochsner doctor, call (225) 761-5200, or visit to schedule online. Online appointments are also available through the MyOchsner patient portal.

About Ochsner Baton Rouge

Greater Baton Rouge is home to Ochsner Medical Center - Baton Rouge, a full-service, 150-bed hospital and 13 Health Centers across Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Livingston and Tangipahoa Parishes – including Ochsner Cancer Center – Baton Rouge. Over 2,300 employees serve patients in the Greater Baton Rouge area, including more than 250 physicians and Advanced Practice Providers whose collective dedication to patient care is recognized for quality excellence by Becker’s Hospital Review, Healthgrades, Truven Health Analytics and Leapfrog. Ochsner Baton Rouge is part of Ochsner Health, Louisiana’s largest non-profit healthcare delivery system committed to inspiring healthier lives and stronger communities by preventing diseases, providing patient-centered care that is accessible, affordable, convenient and effective, and building partnerships with innovative organizations that share our vision. In 2021, Ochsner Health treated more than 1 million people from every state and 75 countries, providing the latest medical breakthroughs and therapies, including digital medicine for chronic conditions and telehealth specialty services. Ochsner's team of more than 36,000 employees and 4,600 providers in Louisiana and the Gulf South are working to reinvent the future of health and wellness in the region and beyond through its cutting-edge Connected Health digital medicine program. To learn more about Ochsner Baton Rouge, please visit our website and follow us on Facebook.