I have encountered some very supportive parents that have the best interests of their children at the forefront of their mind. But, they can’t help but be concerned about their child’s next step. As well-intentioned as the parents are, this concern can, and often does, take the shape of stress. How can you, as the parent, balance your own stress levels in a healthy and sustainable way so that you can continue to support and advocate for your child without unleashing the stress on him?
During my ten years in the classroom, I have encountered some very supportive parents that have the best interests of their children at the forefront of their mind. But, they can’t help but be concerned about their child’s next step, whether that’s an upcoming quiz, a report card, a field trip, or graduation to a new grade level or school. As well-intentioned as the parents are, this concern can, and often does, take the shape of stress. This stress snowballs into tension, fear, and worry in no time at all, and before you know it, the children take on the stress without even being aware of it. How can you, as the parent, balance your own stress levels in a healthy and sustainable way so that you can continue to support and advocate for your child without unleashing the stress on him? Here are a few suggestions for finding your ”happy place.”
Remembering that the teacher is there to help you and your child can be a challenge at times, especially if your child reports questionably about events at school or interactions with the teacher herself. If you haven’t already done so, make the time to personally connect with the teacher for no obvious reason. Rather than waiting for an issue to surface, make the time to touch base proactively so that when or if an issue comes up that might be a stressor, you have a relationship to lean upon for support.
Sometimes taking action is the best medicine when you are feeling overwhelmed with the unknowns. You might benefit from playing out a few different scenarios depending on the situation you are dealing with. For example, if a major test is coming up and you are worried about the impact on your child’s grade, try doing the math! You may find that even if your child doesn’t perform at the top level, the impact on the grade is relative. A little perspective and creative planning can help to alleviate the size of the worry, thus helping you to calm your nerves. This will directly impact your child and help him relax about the results as well.
Always remind yourself of the power of positive energy. Even in the darkest of times there can be a glitter of hope. So, when things start to feel too big to manage, take a step back and remember that this is a journey for your child. Your job is to guide and model behavior that instills confidence and resilience. Often times, the best lessons are learned from mistakes, and it is important to allow your child to trip and stumble from time to time. The great growth that comes from that is worth it.
In the end, you know your child best. If you have a worry-wart for a kid, then you probably already have strategies to help him cope. If you have a child that doesn’t worry enough, then instilling some accountability and letting natural consequences happen can be the best life lesson he can experience. Just keep in mind that you too went through the ups and downs your child is facing, and you came out just fine. Allowing your child that same freedom communicates more love and respect than your worries and fears ever could.