Start of the New School Year Blues - Part I

August 18, 2017

It’s just past the middle of August.  You know what’s coming.   That pit in the stomach is starting to form.  Yep, it’s back to school.  I know that you will see all kinds of articles in parenting magazines and the internet such as the 10 Tips for Having an Easy, Breezy School Year.

From where I sit, though, articles such as these rarely get to the heart of the matter, the nitty-gritty, especially when it comes to kids who are on the struggling side of the road.

Struggling kids need a different handling than those articles would suggest.

So, in an effort to get you started on the year on a good footing, over the next couple of weeks I am going to offer you my top tips to combat the school year blues – Selznick’s Tips for a Having a Smoother School Year. 

If you’ve followed my blog for some time or have read the books, some of these tips may echo ones you’ve heard before.  They are sort of my best hits

  1. Homework Heat:   Folks, listen up.  Back it down.  Turn down the homework heat.  Mind you, I’m not saying that your kid should have free reign and not be responsible for meeting his/her responsibilities, but does it have to be so intense?  It’s just homework.  In the grand scheme, does homework mean all that much? Largely, it is  a tool  we use for teaching kids to become more independent, self-reliant citizens. If you notice your parental anger temperature reaching a 5 on a scale of 1-10, try and take an action to turn it down to the cooler zone.  Go wash              your face in cold water.  Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood.  Pour yourself a glass of wine (not too much now) – anything that will turn              down the heat.
  2. When Your Kid Loses it: Point #1 centered on you as the parent, but what about when your kid goes off the rails over homework?  I have lots   of parents describing situations where the child is having a full-blown melt-down over what would seem to be relatively minor frustration         around homework.  Usually this melt-down also leads to the parental melt-down as noted in point #1.

           In some ways the advice is the same as in Point #1 (minus the glass of wine, of course).  In calm tones, suggest that your child takes a break to              change his “state” and reset himself.  As a parent you need to have a pretty good awareness of your kid’s temperature.  If it is creeping (or sky-                 rocketing) from 5 up to 10, you need to shut-down the operation for a while.   Noting productive will take place If his emotional temperature is 5             or over.

Ultimately, if your kid can’t pull it together and regroup, you need to inform him that you will have to write a note to the teacher explaining that               the homework didn’t get done. (I can hear your groans out there, already on this last point, but it is important to have a matter-of fact-it’s your                 choice mindset when it comes to homework (see point 3).

       3. Have a Few Parental Mantras & Shrug a Lot:

Practice shrugging and pulling out a parental mantra that you can repeat when needed.  For example, when your kid starts protesting and  you feel his heat rising and nothing has helped,  a parental mantra that says something like, “Hey, you’re a big boy.  It’s up to you if you choose to do your homework,” can be very helpful in turning down the heat.

Start this mantra early even if he is not a big boy.  It does wonders in putting the responsibility where it belongs and it saves you from having to keep running to the  liquor store.

Remember, practice shrugging a lot as you say the mantra..

Takeaway Point

These will get you started on having an easier year.

More coming in the next few posts.


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Hooks in the Mental ClosetStart of the New School Year Blues – Part II
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