New School Year, New Parenting Approach
When children go back to school each year, they more or less get a fresh start with new teachers and a clean slate to improve their academic performance and behavior. Some teachers have children write out goals on the first day of school on what they want to accomplish for the year and ways that they want to improve from the previous year. While the system of reflecting on the past, starting over, and developing goals for the future is less built in for parents, parents can still take a similar approach. If you’ve been struggling with parenting effectively or have children with significant behavioral, emotional, or academic issues, you can use the new school year to make sure everyone is putting their best foot forward and has the tools that they need to be successful.
Here are a few strategies to evaluate yourself and implement new approaches if needed:
1) Look at how happy you are both as a parent and in general as a person. If you feel that there are things you can improve on, make a list of them. Then, note how you could address these issues, which may mean changing your behavior, routine, or getting you or your child certain services to make these changes possible.
2) If you feel burned out as a parent, make sure you are taking time for yourself. Set aside time each week to do something for yourself such as playing tennis, going for walks, getting coffee with friends, and so forth. Perhaps hiring a full-time or part-time nanny, cleaning company, or person to run errands for you could help alleviate some of your responsibilities to allow more time to spend with your family and doing things for yourself. There are also companies that will provide transportation and mentoring to children and adolescents. If organization is difficult for you, hiring a professional organizer to get you started with being more organized could be beneficial.
3) If you feel that you need assistance regrouping and coming up with strategies to implement at home to better manage the needs of your children, consi
der seeking out a therapist to provide parent coaching. If your child is struggling significantly, they also may greatly benefit from treatment with a therapist.
4) If your child’s academic difficulties frequently cause conflict at home, make sure any services you are receiving are effective, and if you need other services, seek them out. If you are not sure why your child is struggling, have them evaluated by a psychologist to determine what is going on. If your child has a 504 plan or IEP in place, make sure they are receiving the services they are supposed to and consider re-evaluating to see if other services may be useful to add to it. Outside tutoring in specific subjects as well as organization and time management skills training can be very helpful.
These are just a few suggestions to help get you thinking about items that could be improved and how to go about improving them. When in doubt, you can always consult a professional who can direct you as to what types of services/resources may benefit you and your family.
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*Disclaimer: The previous information is intended as general guidance based on my professional opinion, does not constitute an established professional relationship, and should not replace the recommendations of a psychologist or other licensed professional with whom you initiate or maintain a professional relationship*