A new school year is underway and with that, thoughts fill our collective consciousness regarding what this year will bring for our kids. I, personally, get jittery on behalf on my daughter, though I try not to let on. I want her to begin her school year looking forward to all the good it could bring, all the fun things she will learn and all the growth she will experience. These are the thoughts with which I want her to fill her head. I, on the other hand, can quietly wring my hands in the corner and hope that all goes well as she kicks off the new year.
In the hand wringing corner, I know I am in good company. As parents we can’t help but think back on what our experiences were growing up, both good and bad, and we try to pre-empt the worst of it for our kids. The “do as I advise you to do, do not duplicate what I did,” tact. I’ve been thinking a lot about this. When I am dolling out advise to my daughter in a flurry of protective thoughts. What good am I doing? Or, of more concern, am I doing more harm than good? Does it serve a purpose to mull about “What things I wish I had done, or known about while I was growing up so I can better guide my child through her childhood.” If it does actually serve a purpose, how to I mete out that information to avoid being the lecturing know-it-all bore of a parent. What can I do to help positively influence my child, especially in a time of transition.
I decided to consult my dear friend and licensed family therapist Vinay Gaglani, L.M.F.T regarding my questions about how to best set up my daughter for back-to-school. After a very fruitful exchange (where she generously answered my flurry of questions), we chose to publish our conversation for our readers’ benefit and give this back-to-school issue of Eat The Marshmallow the theme Get On The Good Foot.
It is about being mindful in how we parent, and set good examples in our actions. When appropriate, I can tell my daughter about my experiences growing up, and maybe she will listen, and other times she won’t. The main thing that I can do is watch, give her space, and advocate for her when need be. I encourage you, dear readers, to do the same. Whatever the year may bring, the most important thing is that our children know we have their backs!
I am going to try really hard to take my own advice this school year. In the meantime, I am taking my wringing hands, holding them firmly still as I attempt to sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey.
With much gratitude,