March 14th 2012 | Comments Off
Springtime Stress Time?
Spring is here, and with it, our children are growing! Who are they these days? Why are they so rambunctious?! When am I going to get a break!?!
As children move into the third part of their school year, so much is happening. They are beginning to look older, get taller, have bigger school struggles, and they seem to have even MORE energy! Spring is a beautiful time of growth, but it can often leave us parents feeling drained, craving our own Spring Break. Here are some things to think about that can help us embrace the growth and energy in our children and move forward with more Spring in our step.
The first thing to think about is that Spring is growth time. I often see my own son taking on the characteristics of older children. Sometimes he gets a little more attitude. He seems to whine more. WHY is he being like that? It helps to remember that growth can be hard. Growth spurts can cause anxiety in children – an anxiety that they cannot see or identify, but that makes them less tolerant, more boisterous, less calm. The anxiety comes on different levels. For one, they are moving into the unknown – new academic territory, new social territory – it’s scary sometimes! Also, it’s coming into test time at school, and it’s not only the kids who have anxiety about this! Teachers and parents often feel worried about how their students or children will perform at test time, and children soak up that anxiety like a sponge.
To help kids move through the spring-y bumps of this time, start with yourself. You are your child’s lifeline, so they WILL reflect what’s happening for you. Try to notice your own worries and fears. What was test taking like for you? Did you have anxiety academically? If so, talk to a good listener about it. Let out some of your own feelings about what it was like for you, about how your parents dealt with their stress. Did they take it out on you? When you release your feelings of stress, overwhelm and worry, your mind will be clearer and more able to attend to the needs of your child with less charge.
Also, spend some time playing! If you give your child 5 minutes of Special Time or playtime with you in the morning, you’d be amazed at how much better your morning will go! Play and laughter help a child move feelings that he cannot verbalize, and make him more flexible for transitions to come.
Remember, coaching is here! If you have specific issues with your child and you want specific support, or if you and your spouse need to reconnect around your strategies, I’m just an appointment away.
Here are some words from my mentor, Patty Wipfler, about getting kids through school struggles. I hope they help. Happy Spring!
When a child isn’t able to concentrate or to learn, there’s usually an emotional issue that blocks his progress. It feels bad on the inside when you can’t think. It feels scary on the inside when you can’t do what’s expected of you, and you don’t know why or what to do about it. This is the position children are in when they can’t write a story, can’t memorize their times tables, or can’t sit down to their homework. They feel upset, and often scared. They also feel alone.
When we parents see our child caught in upset around learning, it’s usually infuriating. Our child’s problems make us feel tired and worn. Our thoughts are something like, “By now, he should be able to do school work on his own! Why do I have to get into it?” We badly want our child’s problems to go away so we can get a little peace.
What helps immensely is something we’ve always been taught to avoid at all costs. If you can sit close by while your child has a good cry about school, or a tantrum about not wanting to do homework, your child will do the work of draining some of the bad feelings that have paralyzed him.
Emotional release helps children focus their attention and regain their ability to be hopeful about learning. Your child won’t sound reasonable while he cries or rages. He’ll believe very strongly in the terrible feelings he’s having. But surprisingly, the crying and the chance to make sure you know how bad it feels inside has a deeply healing effect. So try to keep from arguing and reasoning with him, and stay close while he “cleans the skeletons out of the closet” with his tears and his bleak or angry thoughts. He’ll finish. The longer he has been able to cry, the more improvement you will see in his ability to concentrate and to believe in himself.
Also, if you want more info on handling stress or helping families with stress, check out the article below…