Summer is on the downslide for my teens. How do I know school is right around the bend? Our county fair is over, marching band rehearsal is starting today for my daughter, my son is ending his summer job to get ready to move to college for his freshman year, and my youngest son will be starting cross country practice in a few weeks.
Then there is the list of all the “Back to School” to-do things for parents and students:
- New clothes
- New shoes
- Sports physicals
- School supplies
- Practices starting
- Changes in class schedules
- School lockers, schedules, and teachers
And the list goes on….
This is how August goes for us in preparing for going back to school. However, this year I am adding a few unusual items to the traditional back to school list. You may want to consider one or more of the items on this list.
I recently read an interview with an author who wrote a book about love. In the interview, the author mentioned that about one-third of the book addressed the topic of self-care. Imagine what life would look like if we encouraged ourselves and our teens to take care of ourselves first. Not in a selfish way, but rather through the acts that bring you joy and relaxation. Encouraging unorganized time to be genuinely present with and attentive to each other can be the self-care needed for your family. I have encouraged parents to realize self-care as a necessity and not a luxury. I encourage you to take the last month or few weeks of summer to find some time to enjoy, relax and take care of yourself in whatever way that seems best for you.
- Make Observations
My next item on my back-to-school checklist is to make observations of our children as they prepare for school. Are they excited? Anxious? Nervous? Or maybe all of the above. School can create a lot of mixed feelings for both parents and children. Along with observing comes listening to your children. Listening and being present when young people are experiencing uncomfortable feelings is much different than telling children that it will be “ok” or trying to fix your teen’s problem. When you are present, making observations, actively listening, and acknowledging your teen’s feelings, you are supporting your teen in a way that will enrich your relationship.
- Support from School
Support for you and your teen can be found through the school. The administration, teachers and other staff members really do care for your child. Many times when things have not gone well at school a parent’s defenses may go up. However, the school can be a partner when you are open with selected staff about a home situation or trauma that might have occurred over the summer. Events like divorce, illness, and death can cause stress on the family. For a teen, learning can be the last thing on their minds. Ask to speak privately to the school social worker, or trusted administrator about the stressful events that are occurring in your life that might be impacting your teen’s learning. It’s also important to keep confidentiality in mind. Only key teachers need to know, not every staff member. Research has shown that stress on the brain can significantly impact a student’s performance. Knowing the events that are happening in a student’s life can build understanding for your child with teachers and staff.
- Finding Help if Needed
We all need help at one time or another in our lives. Help comes in many different forms. It might be a conversation, asking someone to physically do something for you, or calling a customer service line to fix a technical issue. Support for you and your teen is out there, too. One of my goals for my blog is to let parents know they are not alone in parenting their teen. It takes courage to reach out, to let others in, and to allow them to listen to you. If you or your teen need help in navigating the school year please reach out to me for a free 30-minute discovery call. You are not alone!
Copyright: mandygodbehear / 123RF Stock Photo