Real Relationship Advice
In the next few weeks, kids will be returning to school. There are some parents who are sad to have their children go back to school and then there are those who are honest. Having our kids in school is a good thing. Having our kids in school returns the natural order of the universe. Having our kids in school will reduce our wine intake greatly. However, for those of you newbies who have a little one starting Kindergarten, we have some words of wisdom to impart that may bring you peace of mind:
1. If your kid cries on the first day….
We don’t know how to answer this from experience since our children seemed glad to be rid of us. Not exactly. Our kids did not cry on the first day. In fact, with our oldest, she didn’t freak out until several weeks in. We think she had one of those weird realizations that school was going to go on ad infinitum. However, for those of you who do have their children cry we strongly recommend that you trust the teacher. Unless your teacher is still holding a diploma and looks like they would get carded to buy cigarettes, the teacher knows how to handle this. Your presence and anxiety will only fuel the tantrum. Give them a kiss. Remind them you will pick them up as soon as school is over (or pick them up at the bus-stop) and leave. Sure, it is heartbreaking and you will feel guilty all the way to work/home but this is an important life lesson.
2. Separation is a great thing…
With all the talk about attachment parenting we tend to forget that separation from your kids is a very good thing. Your child’s ability to function without you is vital to growing up to be independent and confident. One of the problems that Attachment Parenting addresses is the need for safety in a child. Creating an appropriate bond with your child is imperative to create a solid foundation with the good feelings like safety, security, love, groundedness, nurturing and belonging. When attachment goes wrong is when a child cannot separate from their parents without experiencing undue stress/anxiety. If your child has a hard time separating from you then you must examine what you are doing. Ultimately, our goal as a parent is that our children individuate to a healthy level from us. Unless you want your kid living with you until they are in their 30s, you will work on separation and independence.
3. There will be break downs…
It is perfectly normal for a kid to breakdown. It is perfectly normal for a kid to cry on their first day or 20th day of school. It is perfectly normal for your kid to decide they aren’t going back to school. This is where a parent must be patient and firm. We strongly recommend that you avoid letting your child stay home from school if they are upset. This will set a bad precedence and will reinforce the tantrum behavior. Now, if your child continues to abreact when you want to take them to school, you may want to consult a school counselor and/or psychologist.
In the end, going to school is not an option. You want your child to receive a great education and a large part of that is separating from Mom and Dad. Sure, they will learn their ABCs and 123s at school but they will also learn that they are very capable of taking care of themselves without Mom and Dad supervising. This increases their self-esteem and will force them to problem solve for themselves. In the end, the qualities we admire most in other people is their confidence which they began to have the moment that Mom and Dad left them in school.