Parents Battle The Back-to-School Blues

The back-to-school packet has arrived and your blood pressure is going up. You have yet to buy the marble composition notebook, pair of Fiskar scissors and other items on the school supply list that the stores always seem to run out of, and already you are hit with dozens of forms to fill out, notices to read and dates to keep track of. Not to mention the PTA form with lists of volunteering activities you can't do!

Parents can overcome the back-to-school jitters by:

  • Getting information¬†
  • Getting involved
  • Volunteering
  • Being honest with your child's teacher
  • Giving teachers a chance
  • Letting your child feel "his pain"¬†
  • Tacking control of their schedule¬†

You also worry about whether your child will fit in, make friends and get good grades. Whether other parents will like you, include you in their coffee clutch and want their kids to hang out with yours. Whether you are being a good parent or sentencing your child to a lifelong therapy session.

And you thought all along that the back-to-school blues was just something your kids went through! Transitions are hard for families as well as the children. Parents get anxious too. They want to meet the "right parents" to know the right things to do to help kids succeed. Much of the anxiety centers around parents feeling they are responsible for their child's success."

But parents can overcome the back-to-school jitters by considering the following tips:

Get information about the school as early as you can. Avoid some of the "new kid on the block" blunders by learning as much as you can about the school beforehand. New parents should call the head of the PTA to get the names of parents whose kids are going into the same grade, and call them. Parents should also visit the school's Web site.

Want to be part of the in-crowd? Get involved with the school. Many parents dread attending the school's social functions because it involves socializing. But who you know is important because only certain people have access to information you need to help your child succeed. The importance of being in the right "clique" has to do with the impact it can have on student placement in high school. Parents can become "insiders" if they get to know people through joining school committees and volunteering for projects.

Volunteer by doing something you like. There is nothing more stressful than volunteering doing something you don't like. It's best to focus on doing something you won't feel bitter about.

Be honest with your child's teacher about your concerns. If your child needs extra help in some way, let your teacher know upfront. Parents can learn a lot about their child's day and feel more involved if, when they pick up their kids, they ask questions like, "Anything interesting happen to my child today?"

Give teachers a chance to try to click with your child. Parents scheme, plot and plead with administrators to try to switch their child to another class because his friends aren't in the class, or because the parents don't like the teacher. It rarely works. Parents go by the teacher's reputation without even knowing the teachers. Often times, a teacher who was lousy for one child was very good for another.

Let your child feel "his pain" without trying to feel it for him. Don't get bent out of shape when your child is not invited to a birthday party! It's normal for parents to feel worried about their children's social life. How do you know if you crossed the line? Ask yourself: Am I primarily focused on my child's experience or on the way that his experience makes me feel?

Keep control of your life by taking control of the schedule. Avoid taking your kid to soccer practice on the wrong night or forgetting about practice altogether by marking all your child's activities, as well as yours, in a calendar!

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