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How To Overcome the Fear During Presentation for Teenager

chitchat1234chitchat1234 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
edited September 13 in Parent Cafe
My daughter is a sophomore in high school. Last year, she told me that she cried at the end of the presentation in one of her class. A couple weeks ago, she said it is worst this time, she started crying after she said a couple words and she said her stomach had been hurt all day that day till she had that presentation. Yesterday she told me that she will have presentation today, so I tried to have her to talk in front of some family members, and she started crying badly, she said her hands were numb, and she kept crying for about 30 minutes without saying anything.

Should I have her to see psychologist? Has anyone have the same problem with your child? and what did you do to overcome it? Thank you.
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Replies to: How To Overcome the Fear During Presentation for Teenager

  • deborahbdeborahb Registered User Posts: 301 Member
    Those are wonderful suggestions, @anomander ! I will use several of them myself!
  • tutumom2001tutumom2001 Registered User Posts: 477 Member
    The same thing would happen to me as a child. In fact, I once passed out. I never saw a counselor (which I do think is a good idea), but if she hasn't already, I would suggest your D take a communications class. That was my turning point because we had to give planned speeches, impromptu speeches, debates, reader's theatre, and more. D20's school requires a year of communications to graduate, and I can see how it has helped her as well. I ended up in a career in journalism/public relations and have done a great deal of public speaking. I still get a little nervous at times but I no longer get sick or pass out. ;)
  • flyaroundflyaround Registered User Posts: 432 Member
    A beta blocker will control the physical symptoms - sweaty palms, racing heart. Its also known as the stage fright pill.
  • chitchat1234chitchat1234 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    Thank you all for your suggestions @anomander, @tutumom2001, and @flyaround. I am contacting her counselor to see if there is anything school can do to help her.

    She is a shy and quiet kid. She didn't talk to anyone in her class or teacher when she was in school first yeart (3 years old), and she started talking first to the teacher in pre-school.
  • takeitallintakeitallin Registered User Posts: 3,292 Senior Member
    edited September 13
    My heart goes out to your daughter, but she is not alone. My DD1 had severe anxiety attacks and would prefer to take a lower grade in a class rather than give a speech. She would actually start getting sick to her stomach several days before her presentation and would be almost incapacitated by the day of the speech. She did have other anxiety issues at that time which didn't start until she entered high school, and we had her in counseling and finally, as a last resort, on anxiety medication. She eventually grew out of the anxiety issues and became a language arts teacher. She is very compassionate as a result of her own difficulties, and works extensively with kids who have anxiety over public speaking. I would say to have your daughter talk to a counselor, as her anxiety seems pretty extreme. If she is like my daughter, it didn't matter how much she practiced beforehand, because as soon as she got up in front of a class, she forgot everything and actually got dizzy. Best wishes!!
  • droppeditdroppedit Registered User Posts: 655 Member
    Couple of things I'd try:

    1. Give your D some Pepto Bismol in the morning of her presentation. That might help with the stomach/gut pain and calm things down. Nervousness can be a vicious cycle between the gut and brain.

    2. Have your D focus on friends in the audience one at a time when she's doing the presentation. I find that it helps me to talk to one person at a time in the audience (who's paying attention) and then switch to another person on the other side of the room after a bit. Progress through the audience like that.

  • chitchat1234chitchat1234 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    Thank you @takeitallin and @droppedit. Thanks for sharing your story about your daughter @takeitallin. I hope that my daughter will outgrow it someday.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 20,825 Senior Member
    I have to present quite a bit of presentation now and I still get nervous (really nervous). I get over it by practicing it over and over again. I would write down word for word of exactly what I want to say. For the first few runs, I would read straight from my notes, which you are not supposed to do. But after few times, I would literally have it memorized in my head that I wouldn't need my notes. I would also bold certain phrases on my notes to make sure I remember to hit those main points.

    I am less nervous if I know my material well. I am in technology, so my fear is if someone asked me question and I didn't have an answer, so I would do a lot of research (maybe over doing it) before my presentation.

    I feel for your kid. Let her know it is perfectly normal to be scared, and there are ways to over come it. It is very good she is getting to do it now rather than to wait until she is college or at her first job.
  • LeastComplicatedLeastComplicated Registered User Posts: 390 Member
    What flyaround in #4 said. BB's gave me the ability to have a successful career, along with lots of practice at home. I didn't need to see a counselor of psychologist - beta blockers block the release of adrenaline so you don't feel the physical symptoms of anxiety or fear. I would take her to her doctor, explain the situation, and get an Rx for a few pills to use as needed (I think my Dr. gave me 5 or 10). Then have her take the med at home and see what happens at another "family" presentation - maybe with just a couple of people. If all goes well, call the school and explain the situation to them, and ask if she can give her next presentations to just her teacher's while she is in that process of gaining confidence. If she is anything like I was, she'll find that once the physical symptoms are gone, the rest is a piece of cake.

    Honestly, I had horrible, dreadful anxiety about public speaking starting at age 14 out of the blue. It was humiliating and I suffered for years until I got my first beta blocker Rx when I was in my 20's. I wish so much someone had suggested that option while I was in high school and college. I only had to use them for about 4 or 5 presentations - after that I was confident enough to speak in public without meds.

    Many people just don't realize how debilitating the physical symptoms of fear are - and that some people like me and the OP's daughter just have hair trigger and exaggerated fear responses that flood our systems with adrenaline. I like to think that we've retained some of our animal instincts and would survive in an emergency because of it, lol! No amount of talk therapy could have helped me (and I tried hypnotherapy too), but beta blockers were a miracle drug for me.
  • ChattaChiaChattaChia Registered User Posts: 58 Junior Member
    Like most have said, it's perfectly normal. I still get nervous, sometimes feel like I'm rambling, but generally get the point across. Also, feedback I've received is that I felt way more nervous than I looked, we are our own worst critics.

    That said...have your daughter get a "partner" in class prior to presenting. Have her "partner" sit somewhat middle front so that your daughter can talk directly to him/her (while it looks like she is presenting to everyone) and have the partner nod, smile and affirm what your daughter is saying. It makes it more like a conversation than a presentation. I still use this today.

    I may talk to my Dr about the beta blocker thing, I could easily give up the racing heart and loss of thoughts. I do best if someone will just ask a long winded question, or contribute something while I stand there, cause then I can calm myself if I don't have to speak for 30 seconds or so.
  • mommyrocksmommyrocks Registered User Posts: 1,094 Senior Member
    edited September 13
    Find a Toastmaster's group in town. All they do is host meetings where the members practice giving speeches, starting with very short speeches. They are extremely supportive, and give real feedback that can help a person realize that speaking before others is a skill that can be learned and improved upon. Your daughter can gain experience in front of small groups of people who are not her school peers, where there is low risk of embarrassment. You could join with her so you can both share this experience.
  • verucaveruca Registered User Posts: 1,116 Senior Member
    I heard that public speaking is one of American's number one fears -over DEATH lol
  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 Registered User Posts: 5,755 Senior Member
    I smile a little at these posts. As an adjunct I've probably spent 3000 hours in front of a classroom in the past 20 years, lecturing, running labs, etc. I would never have believed I could do such a thing. I don't need a microphone, my voice bounces off the back walls. I've lectured classes small and large. I could give a lecture on Newton's laws that would put a full football stadium to sleep.

    The first 2 or 3 semesters, I was nervous before EVERY class. Now I'm occasionally nervous before the first class of the semester. My first semester I had to do a mid-semester course evaluation. When the adjunct coordinator gave me the class responses they were TERRIBLE. It seemed like they all hated me. I thought about just quitting then and there and walking away. But I was under contract, so that didn't seem feasible. After that, I was LESS nervous. After all, what was the worst that could happen? people might make a bad judgment about me? They had already done that. In spades. And I was still the one standing in the front of the room. I realized that in a group of 30 students each coming from their own world, there would always be some who hated me and some who thought I was fine.

    Twenty years on, that's still true. I have had students who tried their best to get me fired. And others who tried their best to get me hired for MORE courses. How others react to you has as much to do with THEM as it does with YOU. Just be yourself and let the chips fly.


  • jcmom716jcmom716 Registered User Posts: 269 Junior Member
    Hugs to you and your daughter! My daughter was similar when she was young. In pre-school we had a teacher tell us our daughter needed to see a psychiatrist. We have video of her hiding behind other students or her head down when other students were singing in front of all the parents. Fast-forward to high school and she still hated standing up in front of the class. What helped? Two things...first, she took a dual-enrollment communication course her senior year at a local college with a few other high school students (don't think she would have taken it by herself). She didn't like it but it definitely helped. Second, she practiced by herself in her room.

    Let your daughter know it can get better with time and practice! Mine is now a college sophomore and while she would prefer not to, she has done presentations in front of everyone with good results. (Now if only she would relax around doctors and shots!!) Best of luck!
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