- Jody B. Miller
My son was getting all A’s and overnight he was getting C’s
When this happens the alarms should be going off. Stop what you're doing right away and read on.
Why could this be happening?
According to Susan Heitler Ph.D., in Psychology Today
The epidemic of anxiety in high schools and on college campuses is stunning. Over the past seven years, anxiety has become the No. 1 reason college students seek counseling
The National Institute of Health claims that 1 in 3 children between 13 and 18 years old experience anxiety. And, it's been rising steadily.
What's going on?
Why are our kidz so stressed out?
There are lots of reasons and hear me when I tell you. . . you probably already know.
I know I did.
I noticed my son's grades falling as early as fourth grade. And I listened to what he said.
I'm not as smart as the other kids.
I have no friends.
I fail at everything.
Dropping grades can be caused by many factors.
Problems at home
An incident at school or outside of school
Not doing well in sports/outside school activities
. . . and more
And when any of these things occur, grades often suffer.
When you start to hear statements like this or see grades plummet, the number one thing to do is DON'T PANIC.
Calmly sit down with your child over an after school snack or in the car (kidz always share when you're in the car because they don't have to LOOK at you) and ask them open-ended questions.
How are you feeling? Why do you think you're feeling that way?
It seems to me like you are well liked. Why don't you think so?
What seems hard at school for you?
Who would you like to be better friends with?
Who would you rather not be friends with?
What do you love most about school?
What do you hate most about school?
What makes you feel alone or uncomfortable?
Have you ever thought about not getting out of bed? Why?
Tell me a time when something good happened
Questions like these will help your child open up without feeling judged and you'll learn a heck of a lot about what's going on.
You can also speak with their teacher. But ask your child if they are OK with that, and if they would like to be part of that private meeting, which should happen outside the eyes of other parents and kids. Don't embarrass your child.
Number Two: Don't solve your child's problems FOR them.
If you do, then they'll never feel like they have achieved anything. Why? Because you did it for them.
If this is you, then this is you.
shutterstock licensed photo
Being a helicopter parent, or a tiger mom or a snowplow may seem like the right thing to do, but trust me, you are smothering your child and they will never figure things out for themselves.
Instead, use the choices method. Give them A/B choices and let them choose. Then honor their choice. Ask them what they want and guide them gently.
And the absolute best advice I can ever give is . . . DON'T FOLLOW THE CROWD when it comes to raising your child.
We all have FOMO or the desire to Keep Up With the Joneses (well, surpass the Joneses really). But you don't want to do this. I know this to be true.
When my kids were younger, everyone, I mean everyone, went to the same summer camp in the mountains. And, they went with a friend. I never got that. Maybe because I grew up just playing outside in the summer with whomever was around in my neighborhood. We'd make up games and play until the home bell or yell or gong rang. Every home had their dinner whistle.
Life was grand. We made up plays, played hide n' go seek, sardines, newspaper tag, got up at sunrise and road our bikes to the local school with snacks in hand, listened to music, danced, made up routines, had tons of sleepovers, and more. Best childhood ever. And yes, I went to camp, but it was always based on who I was and what my interests were.
When it came to sending my own kidz to camp, I only sent them to the heard mentality camp once. It was the worst summer of their lives. My daughter told me that all the girls cared about was brushing their hair and putting on make-up to impress the boys.
My son told me that kids were mean and while the activities were fun, there was no connecting.
So I followed my instincts and sent them back to the little local camp in the hills that had corny themes and talking time in the cabin and group fireside chats every night. And they sang, lots of singing. Kidz from all economic and ethnic backgrounds attended. So my kidz learned a lot about the world. They made friends. But I never sent them with a friend. Camp is a time to reach out and meet new people. And they did.
As time went on, my daughter ended up being a camp counselor at the same camp (high school through Freshman year of college) and my son turned to sports camps that increased his skills. But he chose his sport, I didn't. I sent him across the country for the summer in seventh grade. He loved it. He became more independent, made friends from all over the world, had to solve disagreements and had to learn how to manage his day - on his own. He ended up teaching at one of those camps right after high school and before he entered college. It was a great honor.
Don't be afraid to stand apart from the crowd. Pay attention to who your child is and don't worry about what the other parents and kids are doing. And remember, free playtime might be your best strategy of all when it comes to raising your kidz.
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