It’s the first day of school and your child is excited about the new year. He sets his alarm, gets his clothes ready for the next day and goes to sleep early. You think, “Wow! this is going to be a great year!” Or maybe you’re the one that needs to keep reminding your child to get to bed. Then you drag her out of bed the next day and she’s running late because she can’t find matching socks. “This is going to be a terrible school year,” you say to yourself.
You might think that I’m about to say that starting the new school year right would be to get more of the first example kinds of days and less of the second. That might be nice, but the reality is that it’s not often the case. We may have control of some of that, but good and bad days happen to everyone. They are just a part of life. So how can we start the school year right?
Attitude. The fact is that if we let our attitude be dictated by our children’s behavior, we miss the opportunity to help them grow. If we feel it’s going to be a good year when everything goes our way and feel it’s going to be miserable when things don’t go as expected, we are basically just thermometers of the environment. When we just react to the situations around us we tend to state the obvious. “You’re going to be late.” “You should have gone to sleep earlier.” “You’re teacher’s not going to like that!” etc. etc. This helps no one and exacerbates the child. What we need is to be a thermostat.
Speaking of stating the obvious, a thermostat doesn’t just read the temperature, it changes it. When your child makes mistakes that lead to consequences, he already feels bad. Help him see the hope on the other side. This is the chance to help him see that not all is lost. It’s not the time to make him feel worse, no matter how badly you want to do that!
This school year, remember that your child is more than the grade she gets, the behavior she expresses or the discipline she exercises. It’s important to our kids to know that we love and support them no matter what. Discipline them if you must and let them suffer the consequences of their decisions. There might be some things they need to work on just like us, but our show of love and affection does not depend on their behavior. Setting our thermostat on that consistent level will help us start the school year off right.