The start of a new school year can bring up all kinds of emotions. Perhaps parents are glad to reduce child care costs or look forward to their kids spending less time on screens. Kids may have been busy playing with friends or going to camps over the summer and now need to return to more structure. Some kids will be attending a new school. Perhaps that new school will have many new classmates. What a full day of school is like may have been forgotten by kids who have been home for so long due to COVID. Teen counseling can help with these issues.
Adjusting to New Circumstances
The first days back can be the toughest. Are sleep schedules out of whack? Maybe there is a new bus stop. New teachers and new classmates present uncertainty. Some kids enjoy the first week ice-breakers, and some dread them. Extra-curricular activities may have already kicked off or will be starting soon. The resumption of homework may be met with dread and arguments over when and how it should be done.
Kids may Cope Better than Parents
The good news is, many children and adolescents are more resilient than we give them credit for. Parents may be surprised how well and quickly they adjust to the fact that a friend from last year has found a new group of friends. A new teacher who isn’t the student’s favorite may become easily tolerated or respected. Situations that may bring on first-week anxiety may be adapted and adjusted to.
What is a parent to do if children seem overwhelmed by a return to school? The first step is to simply listen. Understand that your child’s feelings are their feelings, whether you think they are rational or not. Listen and reflect on what you hear without trying to fix the problem immediately. Calling the principal because the first experience with a teacher wasn’t positive or your child has too much homework may set an example for your kids that they can’t be counted on to handle their own problems. Many kids need some adversity to build resilience.
Seek Intervention if Problems Don’t go Away
Depression counseling is one avenue that may help. Counseling can help get to the root cause of problems, and short-term coping mechanisms can reduce stress. We can provide a referral if looking for child or adolescent counseling. Since Cardinal Point Counseling serves adults, we can help adults in need of assistance dealing with adjustments.