Updated: Sep 21, 2022
Do you hear it?
It’s the odd combination of crying and shouts of excitement coming from families far
and wide as we mark off the last days before school starts!
But who is making what sounds, and why?
You guessed it; it’s a mix of both parents and children who are trying to figure out how to process where the summer went.
Hello, my name is Stacy Keller. I am the owner and CEO of Ridgeville Counseling, LLC, in the low country of South Carolina. and I want to take a minute to thank Amber, and you, for giving me a few of your precious minutes to read my thoughts and how I remind myself that I, too, will be ok as my household gets ready for another big annual change.
I was watching one of those talent shows on TV a while back. You know, the ones where they all sing and there’s a panel of judges that will somehow determine if dreams become a reality for hundreds of hopeful young people.
I remember the answer of one contestant when asked the obligatory question of “how are
you?” The response was perfect:
“I’m nervous. I’m excited. I am nerv-cited!”
You see, the emotional response from our brain’s standpoint is the same. It’s a stress response our body has when the survival part of our brain kicks in (If you want to read more about anxiety, make sure to check out more of Amber’s blogs. She has got it covered!)
Many of you have already heard that stress, regardless of good or bad, is the same physical response….and it’s true. It’s also equally true that our children express stress in many ways. Did you know, parents, that stress is also contagious? If you didn’t, then please let me tell you what you can expect from our “little joys” and us; knowing that that it’s completely normal!
Need I say more? Whether it comes in the form of crying on the floor, slamming
doors, yelling, or any other type of outbursts – many of us parents around this time of year are thinking “What did we do wrong this summer? Should I have made them go to bed earlier? Give them fewer s’mores? Maybe they had too much fun?!”
Relax! You are a pro at handling this, remember?
This is your child’s way of letting you know his or her brain is not processing the change as quickly as they like, or you, like. Pick your battles. Ignore, as long as it is safe, and then once they
have calmed (try one minute per year of age) then come back and try using logic to parent him or her.
Picture this... In the middle of the store, my son told me (not asked me) just this week:
“Mom, you need to get my school supplies.”
Well, maybe he was right. But still! The tone took me to a place of red pretty quickly. In an epic show of self-control, I coached myself right there in the aisle (through some belly breathing) before answering. I calmly looked him in the eye and explained to him that because he is now in middle school, I am no longer obligated to by new crayons, markers, scissors, rulers, bags, erasers, Kleenex, glue sticks, dozens of individual/non spiral notebooks, loose leaf paper, or even just the right kind of folder or a new pair of ear buds he would inevitably not use...
It’s normal that our children worry. Not just about school supplies, but all the other “what ifs”.
Entitlement is form of insecurity and an attempt to have
some control in the world.
How do you prevent it?
Set and communicate limits before the store trip or online shopping.
Example: at my house, I buy school clothes on Labor Day (because I love sales and we live in the South). Not prior to school.
Another idea we try: Get your children to go through their drawers. Have them fold and organize so parents can see how many shorts, shirts, etc. you have. AKA – clean your room so YOU know what you have before asking me for something more.
This emotion is a sign of several other emotions our children, and we parents, experience. This can be a sign of worry, anxiety, or difficulty processing change. It can also be a sign of grief. Loss of free time, sleeping in, having relaxed schedule, and changing to predictable and consistent activities can be a bummer. Patience is the key! Our children’s brains crave this type of organization, and the adjustment will lessen as days go on. Try praising the small things to encourage motivation for our young ones. At my house, there is way more yummy, quick breakfasts ready to be eaten at the first couple of weeks of school compared to the last. My kids get to pick out what box or container of their favorite breakfast food as a motivator for getting out of bed on time, which of course makes this mommy happy because I’m not as rushed as I otherwise could be.
The CDC has some other great recommendations on their website for families transitioning children
My favorite recommendation (which we are going to work hard at) is giving each other space the first few days or so.
We are all dealing with the change in routine and our brains need a bit of
time, processing, sleep, and snacks while we figure out how to label our emotions that we are so
Try some of these tips to see if it works. If behaviors and moods become more prolonged or increase in intensity over time, you may want to consider reaching out for help with a licensed mental health provider.
We are all going to be experiencing “nerv-cited” this month! So, cry, laugh, and shout with the rest of us!
Welcome back to School my friends!
***Stacy Keller, LPC-A, is a community partner with Tides Therapy and Consulting, LLC. She offers teletherapy with a specialization on the following:
The focus of treatment is to help individuals heal, energize, and gain insight while growing. This is achieved by providing a neutral safe space, actively listening, and providing a person-centered approach in treatment. Stacy is trained in multiple treatment modalities; including Eye Movement Desensitization and Re-processing (EMDR) which can specifically target people who have a trauma history.
If you, or someone you know would like to learn more about Ridgeville Counseling, LLC, visit https://ridgevillecounseling.com/ .