Responding to your “Back to School” Emotions
The first article in this series dealt with the emotions that a mother typically experiences when sending her children back to school each autumn.
This article will address how parents can best respond to their emotions and how those emotions affect the emotions of their children at this pivotal juncture each year.
Your goal, in terms of back-to-school emotions, is to recognize the negative but to embrace the positive. Any negative emotions that you project will be observed and potentially absorbed by your children; however, to fail to acknowledge your negative emotions, or those of your children, is to deny that basic human experience and leave your children frustrated for their experiencing emotions that they perceive that they should not have.
Some of the primary back-to-school emotions are listed below, along with tips on how to address them.
Relief. Acknowledge that you will experience some relief when your children go back to school. This does not need to be a hurtful statement. Many mothers acknowledge this emotion with humor (i.e., how nice it is to have the front door open and close during the school year rather than be a revolving door as it appears to be each summer).
Grief. Tell your children how much you will miss spending extra time with them. Review your favorite parts of the summer you just spent with your children (i.e., the lemonade stand, the trip to Disneyland, etc.). Ask your children about their favorite parts of the summer. Ensure that your children know they are precious to you.
Disbelief. Acknowledge your disbelief. Ask your children if they experience disbelief too.
Anxiety. Acknowledge your anxiety. Ask your children if they experience anxiety as well. Focus on their anxiety rather than your own. What is making your children feel anxious? Can you resolve or minimize any of these stressors for your children? (For example, if you promptly read all the notices from their schools, purchase their school supplies proactively, label all the items your children will be taking to school, develop a plan for packing their lunches daily, develop a rapport with their new teachers before the start of school, offer to host a back-to-school party for your children and their classmates, etc.)
Excitement or pride. Express regularly your excitement for and pride in your children. Focus on the anticipated positives in the lives of your children, rather than the anticipated positives in your own life.
Guilt. Acknowledge your feelings of guilt, emphasize your love for your children (i.e., “I love you and feel guilty when I walk away from you at your school.”), and then focus on your love rather than your feelings of guilt.
Happiness and sadness. Acknowledge both your happiness and sadness, but focus on your happiness. Speak about it often to (and in front of) your children. Ask your children what makes them feel happy or sad about going back to school. Celebrate their happiness and try to help them find solutions to address their sadness. (Note: sometimes, the best “solution” to sadness is to allow yourself and your children to experience it. By experiencing it, you and they can move past it.)
When it’s finally “go-time” and you drop your children off at school on their first day of the new semester, you will have laid a solid foundation for the occasion. At that eleventh hour, it remains important to stay the course on recognizing the negative but embracing the positive. Your final statement before you and your children part for that big day should be a statement of encouragement, excitement, happiness, pride and confidence in your children, and love for your children.
For more useful tips, continue to visit Nannies4hire.com.