The Masks We Wear as We Head Back to School

There may be some fears and hesitations in your children (and even you!) about going back to school. My daughter is at that preteen age where there are a lot of pressures and heading back to school puts all of those fears and doubts back to the front of her mind (and mine). I read this post from Goodlife Zen that encouraged me and consequently will help me encourage my daughter. I’ve listed some of the ways that this post made me think in regards to heading back to school this year.

People Pleasing – how easily we fall into the trap of wearing certain clothes to be accepted. I’ve even seen my daughter in tears about the kinds of pencil crayon case to take to school! The pressure to “do what everyone else does” is so great. It pains me sometimes to see that things haven’t changed. The best way I know to handle these fears and worries is to encourage my children to be themselves; that it doesn’t matter what coat you’re wearing or if you’re following the crowd. I try to set the example to be who I really am, without caring what everyone else says. We don’t have to please everyone else – we need to find what makes us happy.

Victim Mentality – I’m sure many of your children sometimes fall into this habit: “My teacher doesn’t like me, so that’s why I’m struggling in school” or “Little Johnny always bugs me, so I can’t get my work done and then I get in trouble instead of him”! Have you heard those stories? Have we made the mistake as parents to only see our child being “victimized” instead of realizing that there are two sides to that story? If we want our kids to shine, we need to help them take responsibility for their actions/inactions and allow them to learn from their mistakes. To learn that they, themselves have control over these actions/inactions. They can make a difference in how they feel about situations. Again, setting the example is the best way to teach them this.

Self-Criticism – This is a tough one for me. I’ve been critical of myself for many, many years and have only recently begun to realize all the wonderful things about me. Sadly, I’ve noticed that this behaviour in me has affected my children in some ways. This comes out especially during the school year when they begin to compare themselves to their friends. I have caught them criticizing themselves: things like thinking they are “stupid” or that “no one likes me” or “I’m not as good as so-and-so at basketball, I suck!” and other terrible things they say to themselves. This truly breaks my heart and hardens my resolve even more to set the better example. School can be cruel and reinforce so many of these thoughts in our children. We need to sit down with them and recognize that they are feeling this way, ask questions, and reassure that they are not these things they say. We need to help them see all the great things that they can do. It is a constant vigil that must be kept over our children’s self-esteem. Be even more vigilant when you find yourself saying these things about yourself. Show them how to believe!

Neediness – We all think we need what “everyone else has”. We forget all that we have! Back to school is a great time to remind your children about all that they have! Encourage them to donate some of the money that they’d spend on “extras” for school to the programs in your community that help others to get even the basics! So many of us don’t even realize that there are some families in our communities that can’t even get the very basic items for their kids to head back to school. Encourage your children to volunteer for community service programs at the school and in the area you live in. Again, what better way than to volunteer as a family?! The rewards to each of you will be 100 times more than all the “stuff” you could possible “need” 🙂

What are your thoughts on this topic? Let me know in the comments! Have fun heading back to school!

One thought on “The Masks We Wear as We Head Back to School

  1. Great article. DD is looking forward to going back to school, but is worried about what others will have, wear. She’s only going into grade three. She’s been pretty good though about what we can and cannot get. (I”m not buying new pencils when she has 15 million of them all over the house). Never mind the staples of what has to be bought, the tech toys are mindboggling 🙂

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