As many of us send our kids back to school and still others count down the days, I thought I’d share some parenting skills to get you ready for the drama that inevitably comes with this season.
Some kids love school and are excited to head back. Some kids are shy and feel anxious about getting a new teacher and meeting new friends. Still, other kids have declared that they very much dislike school and have no desire to go back.
How do you deal with all these emotions?
Well, first off, do not deny your child’s feelings.
Denying your child’s feelings makes them dependent upon your judgement and opinion. For example, one of my sons wears jeans all the time, even in 95+ degree weather. I find myself often arguing with him to put shorts on so he doesn’t overheat. I’ve even said to him, “you can’t possibly be cold, no go put on some shorts.” Well, what if he is cold? I get chilly when the temperature gets below 70 degrees. Some people don’t get cold until temps reach the 50s. Others, like my son, seem to be most comfortable in very hot temperatures.
What am I really telling my son when I deny his feelings?
- I’m telling him that how he feels is invalid.
- I’m telling him not to trust his own physical & emotional experiences.
- I’m telling him that something must be wrong with him if he feels comfortable when I feel hot.
How do we, as parents, get away from this kind of behavior?
One of my favorite parenting skills is to control my own response. Rather than trying to manipulate my child – and thereby enter into a lengthy and meaningless argument – I simply acknowledge his feelings. “Oh, you feel comfortable. Okay.”
When we acknowledge our children’s feelings, with just a simple word or short phrase, we give them the opportunity to work through those emotions and, if they need to find a solution to a problem, to find that solution on their own.