*This is not a sponsored post. Opinions and content belong to jenny at dapperhouse.
Whether it is going back to school or surviving the uncharted territory of a new school, it is common for kids to have a certain amount of anxiety and worry about the unknown. It is common for parents to feel some apprehensions too.
Things that make kids feel vulnerable is having to find ways to:
- make new friends and fit in socially
- navigate the challenges of learning new things
- follow rules and directions from authority figures
- find themselves and how they relate to others
- meet deadlines and following schedules
Some of us have confident kids who don’t seem to worry too much about these things. They fit in fine wherever they go and they are leaders. Some of us have kids who worry about things and express fears or anxiety about what might happen when they go to school. WE might worry about this too. Our instinct is to protect our child at all costs and even fight for them if need be. Maybe we want to rescue them and give in to their demands to relieve their negative feelings. Maybe we are busy and bored of their neurosis and just want them to have some self confidence for once because this is a honest feeling too.
How Do We Parent In This Situation?
When parents are nervous and anxious it comes across loud and clear to kids. If parents are frustrated and irritated by the child’s feelings this message is damaging too. As parents we have to be confident that a solution can be found and that things will work out well (in school and life in general) We must truly be supportive of our children’s needs. their ability to problem solve, and their confidence to overcome these difficult feelings. Passing on hope, the courage to believe in yourself and the ability to figure out ways to be brave and successful is tremendously invaluable to their overall success. Situations like school anxiety is a perfect opportunity to do your best parenting!
If you are nervous please remember that your child will get:
- Critical knowledge and education
- The development of social skills with peers and adults
- The opportunity for success and growth in many areas of school related experiences
- Opportunity to get the help they need in the areas that they struggle
- The opportunity to find their strengths and weaknesses as people and students in society
- Finding friendships with classmates that prepare them for finding their own personalities and understanding others
- The opportunity to be stronger than his/her fears, get past the anxiety and feel stronger and self reliant.
Maybe you don’t believe in the philosophy of the school system. Perhaps you are skeptical about new management or you have had a bad relationship with your child’s teacher in the past. These are certainly reasons to be cautious and nervous, but these are adult problems that do not need to be discussed in front of or with your child. Hearing potentially bad things that could happen or negative views about the school they are attending for hours each day creates tension, resentment and anxiety. Keep your opinions to yourself and don’t burden your child. Be positive and encouraging. Be supportive and relaxed for your child. They may have the best school year of their life after all!
A Strategy to Make This Issue Much Easier to Cope With (for you both)
There are legitimate concerns that parents and children have about may aspects of school. One way to keep up on the progress and problems is to have a notebook where you and/or your child take notes about their day. This can be a 5 – 10 minute exercise right after school or it can be a dinner conversation. Here is what you do. . .
Each day you ask your child to tell you 2 good things and 2 bad things that happened during the day. They can tell you in any order and it can be whatever they want. You or your child write these down in a sentence or two each day and you will have a record to go back to and find patterns in ares of study, social situations or other things (if there are any) that are strengths and weaknesses for your child.
Starting these daily dialogues with your child creates a habit of communication and support that you want to last throughout their life.
Make sure to be calm, supportive and help your child problem solve when hard issues come up.
Make sure you praise, reward and set goals when your child’s strengths are the focus.