For back-to-school woes, find support in parenting classes
Another school year has begun, and here we go again. I feel like I am on a rollercoaster of emotions this time of year. Our kids are all in major transition years; talk about scary! We have a senior in high school that is moving to Africa for two years. How can I support and prepare our daughter as she gets ready to begin her senior year 10,000 miles away from home, when what I really want to do is scream “No, don’t go!” And how do I, as a parent, prepare to say goodbye? What does our son need from us as he enters high school and begins a new phase of life with new friends, girlfriends, driving … oh, my head hurts just thinking about it. And how do we continue to nurture our youngest who is in such a hurry to grow up, because, after all, she is surrounded by teenagers, and that is what she wants to be.I am feeling a little weary and fearful, yet also excited about the future for our kids, and I am sure I am not alone. What can we do as parents when our kids are changing so fast we can’t keep up? First, let’s all just take a deep breath. … Ahhhh, this sounds so simple, and yet it has saved me from countless verbal assaults and regrets in dealing with my kids. A big “ahhhh” will physically calm your racing heart and emotionally bring peace to your mind. Sometimes we act out of fear for our kids instead of belief in our kids. These challenges are part of growing up and our job, as parents, is to understand how to believe in our kids enough to let them try. Your 3-year-old may not be able to climb on the dresser by herself with her cup of juice in one hand, but could she try it with two hands available as you stand by? And what about that upset teenager. Is there ever a time when they are right? Or maybe even deserve to be heard without a single comment from us?As parents, we can all use a little extra support and ideas to help keep our parenting skills growing as our children grow. YouthZone is offering parenting classes this fall, starting in September. If you would like to join in a class, contact YouthZone at 945-9300.I know my daughter will blossom in Africa, my son will not only love his new-found freedom, he will be responsible with it. And my youngest will be a terrific role model to those younger ones, and she will be patient about growing up. This isn’t a fantasy world, and scary, tragic things do happen to kids. But there are also tragic things that happen to kids who are never are given opportunities to fail or succeed. So how ’bout it … I’ll give it a try if you will.Lori Mueller is program director at YouthZone.
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