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The Perfect Back-to-School Outfit: First-day-of-school anxiety for girls

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It’s back-to-school time at TFI Talks, and to highlight this time of year our expert therapists are telling their own first-day-of-school stories, and at the same time providing insights into how families, parents and individuals can handle back-to-school stress.

Today’s story comes from Family Institute staff therapist Mallory Rose, LMFT. Mallory treats adults, couples, families, children and adolescents at the Institute with a focus on self-esteem, body image and the transition to parenthood.


PantsDuring my middle school years, the beginning of each school year represented an exciting time to reconnect with my friends and peers, but that excitement also produced a tremendous amount of anxiety for me.  I worried about whether my peers made new friends over the summer or if they would accept the changes to my interests, personality, and body.

My anxiety manifested itself in my need to have the “perfect outfit” for the first day of school. I felt that if I could just make a great first impression, and feel confident in my “perfect outfit,” then everything would be okay.

The “perfect outfit,” however, was not the perfect solution for my anxiety.  No matter what I ended up wearing that first day, I never felt confident or secure because I never truly addressed my anxiety.  I needed someone to talk to and encourage me to find more productive ways to address my anxiety and feel self-confident.  I needed someone to tell me that I was experiencing anticipatory anxiety, which was developmentally normal.

I wish I know that my peers were experiencing similar anxiety and concerns, and that I was not alone.  I created the self-esteem group for middle school girls partly because of my personal experiences. The self-esteem group helps adolescent girls build their self-confidence, develop peer relationships, and manage their anxiety, stress, and other normal developmental concerns as they hopefully mature into strong, confident, and healthy young women.



To read Mallory Rose’s full bio, learn more about the self-esteem group for middle school girls or make an appointment, visit our website.

The Family Institute offers affordable, effective mental health treatment for individuals, couples and families at our six Chicagoland locations. Learn more about us at our website.

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